A decision is ‘desperately’ needed on the financing of the building of the Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station, if the lights are to remain on in the years ahead, Unite, the country’s largest union, warned today (Friday 4 September).
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne called on energy secretary Amber Rudd ‘to get her skates on’, as EDF, the French energy giant, said the power station in Somerset will not start generating power in 2023, as originally planned.
EDF has been struggling with securing finance for the £24.5bn plant, but is hoping to secure Chinese funds when the president Xi Jinping visits London next month.
Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said: “This delay is very bad news for the UK as energy capacity is very stretched at present, as we have lost energy resources in recent years as old coal-fired stations are phased out.
“Business and domestic consumers face the very real prospect of power cuts and the lights going out in the years to come, if the final investment decision (FID) on Hinkley Point - the first new UK nuclear power plant in decades - is not made very soon.
“We have welcomed the important role that EDF Energy has played in its investment at Hinkley Point, so far, as part of the renaissance of nuclear power to meet the nation’s target for low carbon energy and nuclear build. However, a decision is desperately needed from the government.
“Amber Rudd needs to use her ministerial position to press potential investors for a quick decision on the necessary future investment, so that EDF can make a FID before Christmas.
“The employment implications are serious too, as the building Hinkley Point will provide many skilled jobs for a considerable length of time.”
The EDF statement comes in the week that saw the announcement of the planned closure of the Eggborough coal-fired power station in West Yorkshire which will bring the job losses in the region’s coal-based energy sector to about 1,000 in recent months. The nearby coal-fired Ferrybridge C power station is also due to close in March next year.
Unite said that by closing Eggborough and Ferrybridge C, there will be a reduction in their contribution to the grid by about eight per cent, enough to power about four million homes.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.