Energy News Today

Hinkley Point C could save households £1bn a year on energy bills, says EDF


Hinkley Point C could save British households more than £1bn on energy bills this year alone if it was up and running, the company behind the plant has said.

French energy giant EDF, which is constructing the power station near Bridgwater, has spoken out following comments made by the business secretary on Friday (May 13) over the cost of plans to build more nuclear plants in the UK.

Kwasi Kwarteng told householders to prepare for a “small rise” in energy bills as part of the Government’s proposals to fund a new fleet of reactors around the country. But EDF said while there are upfront costs when building the stations, nuclear power could save consumers “much more” on energy bills over its lifetime.

READ MORE: Worker falls off scaffolding at Hinkley Point C as improvement notice served to contractors

“Nuclear power is zero carbon and will play a vital role in preventing any future energy crisis,” a spokesperson for EDF said. “If Hinkley Point C were online today, it would have saved consumers more than £1bn on energy bills for 2022 alone.”

The Government’s energy strategy was published in April and has a fleet of new nuclear power plants its heart, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggesting a new reactor could be built every year. Mr Johnson declared it was time for “nuclear to come home” when he and other cabinet ministers visited Hinkley Point last month.

It is hoped the Government’s funding model for the plants, announced in October, will attract a wider range of private investment into new nuclear power projects in Britain. The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill will use a model known as the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) to fund future nuclear power stations across the country – a method that financed infrastructure projects such as Thames Tideway Tunnel and Heathrow Terminal 5.

According to the department for business, the funding model will reduce the UK’s reliance on overseas developers for financing new nuclear projects by increasing the pool of private investors to include British pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors.

But a large-scale project financed under this scheme will add a cost to UK households at a time when rising inflation is putting pressure on households.

The Government has said the cost will be “at most a few pounds a year” to typical household energy bills during the early stages of construction and on average less than £1 per month during the full construction phase of the project.

It also claims the financing of the project could lead to savings for consumers of at least £30bn on each project – translating to more than £10 per year for an average domestic dual fuel bill throughout the life of the nuclear power station – which can operate for 60 years.

Hinkley Point C is one of the largest building projects in Europe and, when complete, it is hoped the plant will be able to generate low-carbon electricity for six million homes over 60 years.

Last September marked five years since full construction began, although EDF said in 2021 the start of electricity generation at the plant would be delayed by six months to June 2026 and previous cost estimates of £21.5bn to £22.5bn were revised up to between £22bn and £23bn.

Earlier this month, the UK’s independent nuclear regulator served an improvement notice to Hinkley Point C after a worker fell from scaffolding at the plant. The worker avoided serious injury when they fell approximately five metres on March 4.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) issued the notices to the project’s main civil engineering contractor Bylor, a joint venture of construction firms Laing O’Rourke and French counterpart Bouygues Travaux Publics. Hinkley Point C said at the time it accepted the findings of the regulator and had ensured the shortfalls identified were addressed in order to avoid a repeat incident.

The jump in the cost of living is putting household budgets under pressure, with some having to choose between heating and eating.

Here are some resources available if you need help.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice is an independent charity offering free, confidential support with legal, consumer, housing, debt and other problems. Its website details what help is available and where your nearest bureau is, for face-to-face advice.

Helpline: 0800 144 8848 in England / 0800 702 2020 in Wales (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)

The Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust supports a national network of more than 1,200 food banks, providing emergency food for free to those who need it. You can use its website to locate support wherever you live.

Helpline: 0808 208 2138 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)

Turn2us

Turn2us is a national charity providing practical support to people who are struggling financially. Its website includes a benefits calculator and details of schemes and grants in your area, including for energy and water bills.

Helpline: 0808 802 2000 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)



Read More: Hinkley Point C could save households £1bn a year on energy bills, says EDF

2022-05-17 18:00:00

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