It was great to visit the site of the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C yesterday, alongside EDF Energy’s Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz and others.
New nuclear forms a core part of how we replace our electricity supplies, and Hinkley Point C is a vital element of tackling our energy trilemma – ensuring that we can keep the lights on, keep costs down, and continue to decarbonise our energy supply.
Our energy security is not negotiable. Hinkley is therefore a matter of national importance for our energy system, and forms part of a balanced mix of energy sources that includes renewables and gas, including shale gas as we pivot away from coal to lower-carbon sources.
Hinkley Point C is expected to be up and running by 2025, and will provide 3.2 GW of secure, base-load and low carbon electricity, meeting 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs. That is enough to power six million homes – twice as many as the whole of London. It will also provide 25,000 jobs during construction including 1,000 apprenticeships, and will have 900 permanent staff once operational.
I also had the pleasure of officially opening EDF’s new national training centre in Cannington, and meeting some of EDF’s apprentices. Cannington Court is a restored 12th century Benedictine nunnery which combines the latest in energy saving technology and digital learning with an historic space for thinking and collaboration.
Cannington Court offers a perfect synergy between the past, present and future. The new buildings dovetail neatly with the old; both combining to offer a first class learning experience for students looking to build a bright future. All of which underpins our ambitions for the future of our energy sector and our desire to prepare the ground for new nuclear builds in this country; facilities that will help deliver secure, low carbon and affordable energy.
I am enthusiastic about the opportunities presented through the use of safe nuclear energy in securing our low-carbon future.