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Green energy suppliers protest at UK government’s funding plan to promote nuclear power, with residents exposed to nuclear cost overruns.

Green energy suppliers oppose bills surcharge for new nuclear plants, Critics warn the UK government’s plans could expose households to cost overruns.

Ft.com Nathalie Thomas in Edinburgh  Green energy suppliers are protesting at the prospect of having to add a surcharge to household bills to pay for new nuclear plants in Britain when their customers purposely choose not to support the divisive technology.  

UK ministers are aiming to introduce legislation in the autumn that would allow for a large nuclear power plant proposed for Sizewell on England’s east coast to be financed via a “regulated asset base” model. The scheme would see households help fund the construction of the £20bn plant via a surcharge on their energy bills, regardless of their supplier. 

Households already pay for a number of policy costs via their energy bills, such as subsidies for wind and solar schemes, yet a nuclear surcharge would prove particularly difficult to stomach for companies that offer their customers “100 per cent renewable energy” deals, which do not include nuclear power.
 Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity, the first company in Britain to have offered customers green electricity, told the Financial Times: “It’s bonkers we would all have to pay this subsidy for at least a decade of construction and not for power generated.”  

 “The government is reluctant to fund nuclear projects itself, so allowing Sizewell [C] to access the RAB [regulated asset base] system is simply dumping the cost on consumers — even those who have gone renewable, and that’s just unfair,” added Vince. 
 Kit Dixon, policy manager at Good Energy, the UK’s first supplier to offer customers 100 per cent renewable electricity, said that “we should be deeply concerned” by the nuclear industry potentially being offered such a deal to build expensive new plants “with little incentive to deliver on time or within budget”. 

“We’ve got to stop seeing customers’ bills as a sort of cash machine for folly projects,” said another energy chief executive who asked not to be named.  

…………………….Critics of the regulated asset base model warn that it would expose households to cost-overruns, which have proved common in the nuclear industry. 
 Environment groups oppose nuclear on the grounds that it is more expensive than technologies such as offshore wind and leaves a legacy of highly toxic waste that takes more than 100,000 years to decay.  

Bulb, Britain’s seventh biggest supplier by market share, also warned in a response to a consultation on the regulated asset base model that using the financing mechanism for nuclear plants “doesn’t protect customers who choose to be on a renewable tariff but adds costs to their bills for a technology they won’t directly benefit from”………..   https://www.ft.com/content/a12bc937-a91f-4341-ba3e-25d7f7edc6d2

July 19, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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