Hinkley Point C: Here’s how seven City types reacted

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British Government Signs A Deal For New Nuclear Power Plant
The Hinkley Point project is set to cost £18bn (Source: Getty)

The long-awaited decision on the Hinkley Point project finally arrived this morning - but while EDF decided to go ahead with the nuclear reactors, the government threw its own spanner in the works.

Yes, last night business and energy secretary Greg Clark said the government will review the details of the project and make a decision as to whether or not to go ahead in the autumn.

With uncertainty still looming, Here’s how City types reacted to the vote

1. “An unnecessary expense”

Jon Ferris, Strategy and Innovation Director at Utilitywise

“Consumers are increasingly looking at energy efficiency to reduce the impact of levies that are contributing more and more to the cost of electricity consumption. Not only can individual businesses make significant financial savings, but the UK could offset more than the expected output from Hinkley Point C by taking all the opportunities to save energy identified due to ESOS, and at a much lower cost.”

2. “The UK is facing a major investment challenge”

Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director general

“While it is understandable the government wants to get to grips with the details of the Hinkley contract, it must press ahead to finalise the deal as soon as possible.

“The UK is facing a major investment challenge to ensure a secure, low-carbon and affordable energy supply. It’s crucial that we see clear and timely decisions, and send a definite message that the UK is well and truly open for business.”

3. “EDF’s approval of the Hinkley Point nuclear project is credit negative”

Paul Marty, Vice President – Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s

“Moody’s views EDF’s approval of the Hinkley Point nuclear project as credit negative because of the very considerable size of this investment and its execution risks. Should the project go ahead following the new UK government review, the significant scale and complexity of this project are likely to affect both the group's business and financial risk profiles as EDF's balance sheet will have to shoulder the financial implications of a very long construction phase during which the investment will not generate any cash flow.”

4. “It is a gross error of judgement and must be reversed”

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy

Theresa May's decision to review the go-ahead on Hinkley Point C is bewildering and bonkers. After years of procrastination, what is required is decisive action not dithering and more delay. This unnecessary hesitation is putting finance for the project in doubt and 25,000 new jobs at risk immediately after Brexit. It is a gross error of judgement and must be reversed.”

“Building Hinkley will not on its own make up for successive governments' failure to have in place a coherent energy policy, but it is a very important step along that road and, as GMB has been warning now for months, the country's energy capacity is already so fragile that if we have a cold winter there is a high likelihood we will experience power cuts.”

“The ramifications of this foolish delay are far wider than putting our energy needs in jeopardy, they will immediately call into question other major infrastructure projects coming down the line like HS2 and Heathrow or Gatwick expansion.”

5. “Projects like Hinkley have hugely beneficial impacts on local economies”

Dr Adam Marshall, BCC acting director general

“Significant investment in nuclear, renewables, gas and shale is urgently required to meet the needs of businesses and consumers, following the planned shutdown of older and dirtier power plants. While there will always be debate around the cost of major projects, the price of inaction is larger still.

“Major energy projects like Hinkley have hugely beneficial impacts on local economies, generating jobs, procurement opportunities and confidence long before the energy they provide begins to flow.

“Ministers should now do everything in their power to ensure that new schemes in North Wales, Cumbria, Suffolk and elsewhere also get the green light in the months ahead. The Autumn Statement should be used to 'crowd in' massive investment in energy generation and transmission, which has both present and future benefits to UK business and the wider economy.”

6. “The opportunity to build and create a meaningful legacy”

Dale Edwards, chief executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce

“The project will bring long term opportunities as it will be looked upon as a blueprint for how nuclear power plants will be built in the future, delivering a legacy for Somerset, the South West and the United Kingdom as a whole.

“I am delighted that EDF and the Tier 1 contractors for this project have committed to proactively engage with businesses across the region. Opportunities and contracts have already been presented and awarded to companies in Somerset, Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Wiltshire and South Wales, with the aim of up to 80 per cent of the total site services spend being awarded to Somerset based businesses and consortia.”

“The Hinkley Supply Chain consortium – which comprises the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, Business West and SWMAS – is aiming to maximise the potential of the Hinkley Point C development for the region’s businesses. The opportunity to build and create a meaningful legacy is a once-in-a-generation opening and I encourage businesses across the region to explore the benefit it can bring to them and their communities"

7. “The fundamentals of this project no longer stack up”

Dr. Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association

“This decision defies logic, the energy world has fundamentally changed in the decade since the decision on new nuclear was made and the fundamentals of this project no longer stack up. In those ten years, nuclear costs have rocketed, whilst the price of renewables have dropped spectacularly and from a standing start now produce 25 per cent of the UK’s generation.”

“Technologies such as solar, onshore wind and biomass are already cheaper than nuclear, are quicker to deploy and has none of the construction or economic risk. Assuming that EPR technology can ever be made to work and does deliver in 2026, it will be obsolete well before it's opened. We are seeing grid-scale battery storage already being deployed commercially in the UK this year, coupled with smarter grids and technology driving up efficiencies.”