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National Infrastructure Strategy

Build Back Better: Government needs to get on with it – Armitt. “If you don’t want to make a decision, you can always find a reason for not making it,” says John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, on the lack of energy policy coming out of BEIS. We’re risking missing net zero targets if it doesn’t make its mind up soon. We’re still no wiser what government’s plans are for long-term investment, and we still don’t have a National Infrastructure Strategy. Armitt says, the big decisions on things like low carbon heat, carbon capture and storage, the energy mix and plans for nuclear power and how we want to pay for the carbon transition, need to be taken now. “We’ve been due an energy white paper for quite a long time. I don’t get the sense there’s a lot of activity. There may be behind the scenes but it’s not very visible. What are the big policy decisions that need to be made? The energy mix still remains the big challenge. We can see that at the moment the government has a policy, which is some 10 years old, involving a reliance on nuclear. But arguably it’s a policy which at the moment would appear to be undeliverable, because the basis of the investment by any potential nuclear investor requires the government to take some of the risk, and they haven’t in the last two or three years been able to reach a conclusion on how that might be handled. What are your thoughts on the Regulated Asset-based model to fund nuclear? Nuclear is never going to be able to meet the cost base of renewables. Nuclear only has a real future if in fact there is a capacity argument which says that at the end of the day, we see a need for nuclear as a fallback means for a baseload of generation.

Utility Week 3rd Aug 2020 read more »

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