The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has reacted with dismay to a debate in the House of Commons on the Nuclear Energy Financing Bill.
The Nuclear Energy Financing Bill received its second reading in the House on Wednesday 3rd November. (1) The Bill is intended to provide a new funding model to support the financing of large-scale and advanced nuclear technologies including the Sizewell C project in Suffolk. The Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the lack of alternatives to the funding model used for Hinkley Point C has led to the cancellation of projects, at Wylfa Newydd in Wales and Moorside in Cumbria.
The Minister explained that the proposed Regulated Asset Base (RAB) “allows a company to charge consumers to construct and operate new infrastructure projects.” It will require consumers to pay a surcharge on their bills during the construction of a nuclear project. On average this will cost consumers around £1 per month during the full construction phase of the project. He justifies this on the basis that consumers will save more than £30 billion compared with the system used to pay for Hinkley Point C.
NFLA UK & Ireland Steering Committee Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
“The Minister is comparing one expensive environmentally unsustainable project with another expensive environmentally unsustainable project. If he really wanted to save consumers’ money he would introduce a National Homes Retrofit Scheme as quickly as possible having learned the lessons from its failed Green Homes Scheme, and introduce a scheme to support flexibility, demand management and smart grids so that we can use more of our cheap, sustainable renewable electricity.”
The Minister went on to argue that despite the fact that the Scottish Government has a different position with regard to new nuclear projects, Scottish Consumers should also pay his “nuclear tax” because they “will benefit from a cheaper, more resilient and lower-carbon electricity system.”
Scottish NFLA Chair, Cllr. Feargal Dalton said:
“Renewables met 97% of Scotland’s electricity demand in 2020. (2) The Scottish electorate has consistently voted for Governments opposed to building new nuclear power stations. With wind and solar now the cheapest forms of electricity Scottish consumers shouldn’t have to pay for the Tories’ failed energy policies.”
Ends – for more information please contact Pete Roche, Acting NFLA Secretary, on 0131 444 1445
Notes to Editors:
(2) BBC 25th March 2021