The government has published its Energy White Paper in a bid to clean up the UK energy system and provide a roadmap to net zero.
The policy paper builds on the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for clean energy, aimed at creating more than 200,000 jobs in the UK.
But what does the industry think?
Scale and opportunity of the energy transition is revealed
“The time for action is now and we look forward to working with the government to implement its energy and climate policies, including the financing of new nuclear.”
Keeping bills affordable for vulnerable customers will be crucial
Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at Uswitch, commented: “Keeping bills affordable, especially for the vulnerable, will be crucial if the plans set out are to be truly sustainable.”
He acknowledged that trialling and testing different approaches is sensible, as there is a long history of well-intended rule changes that have not worked in practice.
He added: “The government is right that those of us who switch are the ones who get the better deals, so looking at ways to get more consumers to move tariffs is welcome. However, consumer choice and empowerment remain key to ensure that providers are still motivated to compete on price, provide good service and continue to innovate to meet the needs of smarter greener homes.”
Sizewell is a vital next step towards the net zero power mix
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “The Government’s decision to enter advanced negotiations with EDF on Sizewell C is very good news for our environment and our economy. Sizewell is a vital next step towards the net zero power mix we need for the future.”
Risky move to put billpayers on the hook for delays and cost overruns
Commenting on the plans set out by the Government’s Energy White Paper, including plans to explore financing options for new nuclear, Dr Jonathan Marshall Head of Analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “While it is likely that some new nuclear will be needed to reach net zero, putting billpayers on the hook for delays and cost overruns is a very risky move.
“There is little evidence to suggest Sizewell will not be blighted by the same issues that have struck other European nuclear projects, which under the expected funding models would see Brits footing the bill for Sizewell many years before it starts generating power.”
“Sizewell C is unnecessary and remains expensive”
Commenting on the publication of the energy white paper and the news that ministers have restarted talks with EDF about the construction of a new nuclear power station at the Sizewell site at Suffolk, Greenpeace UK’s Executive Director John Sauven said: “It’s good to see the government is determined to shift away from fossil fuels and create thousands of green jobs, but building more nuclear power stations is not the way to do it. The latest analysis shows Sizewell C is unnecessary and remains expensive.”
He argued whilst ministers have been talking to EDF about Sizewell C for years, the offshore wind industry has already delivered benefits.
He added: “If discussions with the majority French-state-owned company ever progressed, the UK public will need to stump up billions of pounds in advance. This money would be far better spent on a flexible grid that can handle the shedloads of cheap renewables increasingly powering the UK.”