The ICE has urged the government to make a rapid decision about the future of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
Hinkley new build
It said that a diverse energy mix including nuclear power, has an important role to play in achieving the UK’s goal for a low carbon economy.
The Institution welcomed EDF’s long awaited decision to invest in the project as a “major step forward” and said it hoped this signalled the start of work on the first of a fleet of new nuclear power stations. But it said that careful planning was needed to generate an engineering work force with the required skills.
“We need to ensure we have the skills to build and maintain the new stations – and this requires long term, focused planning by government and industry”, said ICE Director General Nick Baveystock.
“We must also not relent in our pursuit of a mix of low carbon solutions. Nuclear is a good base load power source, but the new fleet is at least 10 years away from power generation and capacity margins are tightening.
“Technologies such as new combined cycle gas turbines, renewables and electricity storage must be driven forward, alongside demand management initiatives. The ICE’s Electricity Storage: Realising the Potential report shows how technologies like this could offer a secure, affordable and cleaner future for Britain’s electricity grid if regulators, the government and industry took steps to break down the barriers that hinder its progress.”
Commenting on the government’s announcement that it was delaying making a final decision on Hinkley, Baveystock added: “The government is right to ensure value for money for the public and we recognise it would’ve been difficult to conduct a review before EDF’s approval, but now more than ever, timely, transparent decision making is needed. “The UK needs to be seen as a reliable partner for investors around the world and we cannot expect to retain confidence if we keep putting back vital decisions.
“Capacity margins are also tightening, and we need to make bold, strategic choices. We look forward to a swift decision.”