A new way of funding energy projects can lower costs for consumers, says EDF Energy
EDF Energy's Managing Director for Nuclear Development writes that the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk offers an enormous opportunity for skills and jobs in the East of England.
Earlier this week, the Government launched a consultation on a new way of funding low carbon energy infrastructure – you can view the details here.
This “Regulated Asset Base” model is already widely used for UK infrastructure. If applied to Sizewell C in Suffolk, it would lead to lower financing costs and significant savings for consumers. EDF Energy welcomes the consultation as a further sign of the Government’s commitment to nuclear and its place in a future net zero energy mix.
In a world with no polluting fossil fuels and a massive expansion of renewables, reliable low carbon nuclear power is an essential part of the energy mix. It cuts the challenge and cost of the almost complete decarbonisation of the electricity supply we all use and depend on.
Making Sizewell C a near replica of Hinkley Point C is the key to lowering finance and construction costs. The know-how of experienced engineers, contractors and suppliers and a fixed and proven design reduces the risk to budget and schedule. Much of the cost of design and regulatory certification need not be repeated. The project benefits from other EPR projects which are already in operation and Hinkley Point C which is on schedule. This “second of a kind” opportunity for the UK EPR is unique to Sizewell C.
The Regulated Asset Base (RAB) is not new for Sizewell C and has already been successfully used to finance large infrastructure in the UK like the Thames Tideway Tunnel – London’s “super-sewer” – as well as electricity, gas, telecoms and transport infrastructure. RAB allows investors like pension funds to invest in projects because they get a steady and regulated return. Consumers’ interests are protected by the regulator.
Our plans for Sizewell C are progressing with the 4th Stage of Public Consultation beginning this week. The project offers an enormous opportunity for skills and jobs in the East of England. Hinkley Point C shows what can be expected. Thousands of people, many of them young, are now in employment and training. Meanwhile industry across the whole UK is developing new capacity and global experience.