The chief executive of EDF Energy has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to developing a new reactor at Hinkley Point for 2018.
Speaking at the firm’s Talk Power 2011 conference at the British Film Institute, Vincent de Rivaz said the UK faced bigger challenges in energy reform, particularly in security of supply, than any other EU nation.
However he added that EDF Energy was still committed to its 2018 timeline of unveiling a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point.
He said: “We need nuclear delivery to start now. Only then can we stand a chance of delivering cost-effective policy that ensures success. We will experience higher energy costs if we fail to deliver nuclear infrastructure.”
A floor price for carbon, capacity payments and contracts for difference were the three measures needed to deliver investment for the scale required, according to Mr de Rivaz.
He said: “We stand poised to turn a corner, to grow our economy, create thousands of jobs and contribute £100 million to the economy during construction phase at Hinkley Point – an investment that will facilitate growth on one of the most deprived areas of the country.”
Director of business environment at CBI, Neil Bentley said that the government needed to have a clear plan for delivery and that proposed changes to the planning system and carbon reduction commitment energy efficiency scheme had “damaged businesses confidence in the government” and that policy clarity was needed.
Energy minister Charles Hendry reaffirmed the government’s commitment to nuclear power but stressed it must be in tandem with other energy options such as gas, coal and renewables.
Mr Hendry admitted the UK faces a massive challenge in terms of delivering energy reform and said he was “concerned that the current energy market structure will not deliver the level of investment we need.
“We are removing barriers in dealing with the planning system and making sure that non-financial issues are resolved so that investment will come.”
He added that financial investment was available through investment funds, pension funds and financial institutions and that the green investment bank would leverage additional funds when it is set up.
Mr Hendry said that if action wasn’t taken now, energy prices would go through the roof and that although consumers would have to pay for reform now, if the price of oil moves towards $100 per barrel the consumer would start to see benefits.