Hinkley delay would not harm UK energy supply

21st February 2018 | Commercial Energy

The UK would have enough energy if the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project faced further delays, but nuclear power remains an essential part of the country’s electricity mix, Business Secretary Greg Clark has tole a House of Lords committee. The government does not, however, have a specific target for nuclear energy use in the future, he said.

Consisting of two European Pressurised Reactors in Somerset, England, HPC will be the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in almost 20 years and will provide about 7% of the country’s electricity. The 3,200 MWe was expected to come on line in 2025, but could now be delayed to 20207, which ten years later than developer EDF Energy originally proposed.

Clark gave evidence yesterday to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, which in February last year published its report, The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market.


In 2013, the government announced that it expected 16 GWe of nuclear power by 2030. Asked by the chair of the committee, Lord (Michael) Forsyth, how much of the UK’s energy supply the government expected to come from nuclear over the next two decades, Clark said, “We don’t have a particular target for the contributions of nuclear by that date, but it continues to be our policy to seek a broad mix of different supplies of energy for the future. Part of our policy was to restart the civil nuclear programme.”

On whether there were “contingency plans” for further delays to the HPC project, Clark said, “It’s still in the early days of its construction and estimates will be updated: sometimes things to slower, and then different phases go faster, and part of the conversation my department has it to monitor that.”

He added, “But in terms of making sure that we have adequate supplies of electricity for the future, we have an increasingly well-developed capacity market. [This provides] an ability to secure the power should we need it beyond what is part of the system, and since the Committee’s report those markets have increasingly matured and the cost-effectiveness is increasingly demonstrated.”

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