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Our priorities for the next UK Government

As Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, we're committed to working with the next democratically elected government, whoever that may be, to tackle the challenge of climate change and seize the opportunities for growth, so together we can help Britain achieve net zero.

We support policies that will deliver:

Helping Britain achieve net zero

  • We’re Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity.
  • We’re busy generating zero carbon electricity from wind, nuclear and solar to help cut UK carbon emissions to nothing.
  • All our fixed home energy customers get zero carbon electricity as standard.

Climate change is one of the biggest issues we face as a society, but with challenge also comes opportunity. The next government will aim to equip Britain with policies that reinvigorate the economy, boost our industrial strength, create jobs and secure Britain’s energy supplies. It will be their task to set the direction and pace for our journey to net zero. There is plenty to do and no time to lose.

EDF’s purpose is to help Britain achieve net zero. We are committed to playing our part, investing in our existing nuclear fleet and developing new renewables projects. We are re-establishing the UK’s nuclear capability by constructing Hinkley Point C and supporting plans for new nuclear at Sizewell C. The skilled workforce trained and developed at Hinkley Point C will help overcome nationally significant skills gaps that represent a risk to delivering net zero as a whole, while powering growth throughout the UK. In our supply business we are providing a gateway to new technologies for our customers and through innovations we’re helping them to cut their emissions and save on their bills.

The energy landscape has substantially changed in the last few years. Reliable, secure, low carbon electricity will become even more central to Britain’s economy. The role of customers is also changing as they become not only users, but also producers and storers of power. They will drive the shift to greater flexibility across the whole energy system.

Amidst this backdrop, this document sets out the policies we’ll be asking all political parties to bring forward to enable investment in low carbon technologies, support job creation in the sector and to facilitate a competitive retail market that is affordable for UK businesses and consumers.

We are committed to working with the next government to tackle the challenge of climate change and seize the opportunities for growth, so together we can help Britain achieve net zero.

A fair and competitive retail market

As one of the largest energy suppliers, we want to help customers save cash and carbon.

We support policies to achieve a fair and competitive retail market by:

  • Providing meaningful support for those who struggle to pay their bills.
  • Helping customers to use less energy by optimising the roll out of smart meters, energy efficiency, solar panels, electric vehicles and heat pumps.
  • Ensuring we have strong energy companies able to invest in innovation and customer service.
employee working in the office

We want to help everyone save cash, save carbon and use energy wisely. To achieve this, we need a retail energy market that makes net zero easy for all and where low carbon energy is readily available at a fair price.

We have set out our recommendations that next government should take to enable households and businesses to make informed decisions that will save them money and support the net zero transition, all while supporting the most vulnerable within our society.  

  • Energy must be affordable for those most in need. Household energy bills remain nearly double pre-energy crisis levels and this is expected to be the case well into the next Parliament. This is not a crisis the energy industry can solve alone.
  • The next government must urgently bring forward a meaningful social tariff, a discounted rate for energy that provides vital, enduring financial support with energy bills for those that need. It should be government-funded and targeted using government data.
  • Alongside a new social tariff, the next government should move forward with price cap reform. The current default tariff cap has not protected customers from volatile wholesale prices and is ill-suited for a half hourly settled retail energy market capable of supporting net zero. Government must move to a genuine ‘backstop’ price cap that protects customers from excessive costs, but also allows suppliers to invest for the benefit of customers and supports a net zero retail market.
  • The next Government must move faster on ramping up the delivery of energy efficiency improvements and the adoption of low carbon technologies, such as heat pumps and batteries, if we are to reduce emissions from buildings and minimise the UK’s reliance on volatile international gas markets. Years of under-investment mean that the UK’s building stock remains one of the least efficient in Europe, resulting in millions of households and businesses using more energy, spending more money and emitting more carbon than they need to.

  • Key to this is addressing the fact that electricity is currently more expensive than gas, meaning cleaner energy choices, like heat pumps, are unfairly more expensive for households to run than their polluting fossil fuel alternatives. This is largely a result of government policy costs on electricity bills. The next government must urgently review the balances of these costs for domestic consumers across electricity bills, general taxation and gas bills to find a fair equilibrium that support net zero and protects the most vulnerable.

  • Finally, we need to address the foundationthat underpins cash and carbon savings, both now and in the future. The cornerstone of the UK’s net zero ambitions is a smart and flexible energy system, for which a successful smart meter rollout is a prerequisite.
  • We are more determined than ever to deliver smart meters to our customers, but most customers who want one, now have one. Without a fresh approach from government, there is a risk the rollout will remain incomplete, undermining net zero.
  • As the programme enters a new phase, the next government must agree a new framework to complete the rollout in the most efficient way.

A rapid transition to a decarbonised, cost-effective and secure electricity system

As Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, we aim to help the energy transition.

Policies to achieve a decarbonised, cost-effective and secure electricity system include:

  • Creating the best environment for investment in zero carbon generation.
  • Making gradual changes to improve the wholesale market.
  • Reforming the planning system for net zero infrastructure​​.
  • Developing a flexible grid​.
Dan - HPC worker

Develop a national nuclear strategy

  • Nuclear energy provides long-term, low-carbon, safe and reliable power, which will play a vital role in supporting the nation’s transition to a decarbonised energy system. These are the steps we believe government should take to support existing nuclear power stations and will enable the delivery of new nuclear power, which will provide customers with the cost-effective, reliable power they need.

  • Nuclear programmes are successful where there is a pipeline and a programme. Stopping and starting single projects with long gaps is not a good way to develop major infrastructure projects and the lesson on nuclear, and renewables, is always ‘build and repeat.’

  • Following the publication of the Government’s Roadmap for Nuclear and the commitment from government and the opposition to grow the role of nuclear, we ask government to ensure that a delivery body (Great British Nuclear or an equivalent) is enabled to reach rapid decisions on siting, reactor technologies, and financing (including nuclear in the UK green taxonomy) to bring forward new nuclear beyond Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

  • This should build on the current SMR competition and develop coherent pipeline of projects covering large scale small and advanced technologies.

  • A longer-term coherent pipeline will help to support the continued development of the supply chain that EDF has built at Hinkley Point C and support the necessary skills development. All developers of future projects will benefit from a stronger supply chain and skills base.

  •  Relearning nuclear skills, creating a new supply chain and training a workforce has been an immense task which others will benefit from for decades to come. Like other major infrastructure projects, we have found civil construction slower than we hoped and faced inflation, labour and material shortages, on top of COVID and Brexit disruption.

  •  The good news is that much of that pioneering work to rebuild our industry is done. Once we learn how, we see performance improve by 20-30% when we repeat work on our identical unit two. Innovation is making a difference too. For example, new welding techniques mean we can now weld a metre on our steel pools in one hour instead of four. Building and repeating an identical design is the key to success – the evidence is clear.

Existing nuclear fleet

  • Thanks to EDF’s expert care and investment, the existing nuclear power stations have generated 212TWh more than originally forecast. That is more than enough to power every UK home for two years.

  • Earlier this year, we said that there is the potential to extend their lives safely for longer. We ask a future government to work with us on delivering our ambitions to extend the operating life of these stations to continue to deliver low-carbon, cost-effective energy for consumers.

  • With the output of four new EPR reactors and Sizewell B, we will replace the capacity of Britain’s existing gas-cooled nuclear stations.

  • Sizewell B has the potential to operate to at least 2055 delivering low carbon, secure and affordable power. Investment is needed this decade to enable a life extension from 2035.

  • There’s an obvious case to extend, but we need a framework to enable us to take those decisions. A mechanism should be developed to safeguard its long-term operation recognising its value to the country.

  • Sizewell B has the potential to operate to at least 2055 delivering low carbon, secure and affordable power. Investment is needed this decade to enable a life extension from 2035.

  • There’s an obvious case to extend, but we need a framework to enable us to take those decisions. A mechanism should be developed to safeguard its long-term operation recognising its value to the country.

  • We’re passionate about creating a net zero future where clean energy powers our lives. We want all our customers to enjoy access to a diverse, reliable and affordable low-carbon energy mix for decades to come.

  • Wherever we operate, we aim to be good neighbours, to work with local groups, and to make a positive contribution to the people and places where we work.

  • Contracts for Difference have enabled the growth of renewable projects and given the sector certainty. But now reform is needed to ensure that renewables can continue to be deployed at the scale and pace required.

  • The next government should seek to improve the Contracts for Difference process. The current process and low auction prices have not got the volume of projects through the system that are needed to support net zero ambitions. Government should reform CfD routes to market to avoid a pricing “race to the bottom”.

  • We welcome the administrative strike price (ASP) level for auction round 6 and view it as a step in the right direction. However, we need to be clear on the budgets and ensure that they match the ambition of the ASP. More widely, the CfD must be used as a mechanism to get the volume of projects through the system that are needed to support national net zero ambitions.

  • Political direction and will, alongside a stronger CfD budget, is required to encourage new, emerging technologies such as floating wind into the renewable mix, as well as supporting existing technologies.

  • Government should focus on creating a positive investment environment for renewable technologies to flourish. To achieve this will require a strategic approach and clear roadmap including developing the UK’s supply chain and manufacturing capability, and must meet the expectations of the renewable sector’s ambitions.

Grid infrastructure

  • We cannot decarbonise the energy system at the scale and pace we need to meet net zero without significant work to speed up planning and construction of grid infrastructure.

  • Unprecedented and essential grid investment is needed this decade to enable power sector decarbonisation. The current regulatory system is failing to unlock the scale of new grid infrastructure required.

  • Significant reform to the regulatory framework at both Ofgem and National Energy System Operator is necessary.

  • Government should also enact planning reforms to support timely delivery while fairly compensating communities that host this infrastructure.

  • A more strategic and co-ordinated approach to grid connections is needed to speed up

Flexibility

  • Flexibility has an important role to play in achieving net zero and will reduce costs for consumers, while maximising the potential of low carbon generation.

  • Smart meters and half hourly settlement are critical enablers for demand (EVs, heat pumps) to expand existing grid scale flexibility provided by interconnectors, battery storage and gas generation.

  • Ancillary services are also crucial to support reliable operation of the power system. The transformation of the power system is an unprecedented engineering challenge and regular reporting by the new National Energy System Operator on system resilience is needed to support accountability as the power system transforms.

  • Delivery of a secure and resilient net zero power system that is affordable for customers requires investment in a wide range of low carbon technologies supported by the right wholesale market arrangements.

  • We request that the next government moves quickly to provide clarity to the market, adopting an evolutionary approach to market arrangements since uncertainty from radical reform risks stalling investment.

  • By building on the existing national wholesale market framework, we can deliver real benefits for consumers quickly without jeopardising low carbon investment through more disruptive reforms such as nodal or zonal pricing.

  • Locational signals can be provided through reformed transmission charges and development of a constraint market which are likely to be the best route to deliver locational signals in a timely manner.

  • Over the past decade, the Capacity Market and the CfD arrangements have been successful in delivering security of supply and renewable investment while providing good value to consumers. We should develop these mechanisms further to drive further decarbonisation, avoiding impractical measures such as splitting the wholesale market by technology.

  • Carbon pricing will help to support cost-effective decarbonisation. The next government should work with the European Union to link the UK ETS to the EU ETS to provide a more robust and stable carbon price.

  • For Britain to achieve net zero, together we must work through the challenges that the planning system presents to ensure the right balance between building the infrastructure we need to address climate change and reduce emissions and ensuring that communities voices are heard in the process.

  • Planning and permitting in the UK is especially onerous. Currently the UK’s planning regime is neither efficient nor proportionate, and urgent reform is needed to be able to deliver the net zero infrastructure we need.

  • Government must provide clear signals of intent to provide confidence in infrastructure investment.

  • Measures to address resourcing of local authority planning departments and environmental bodies such as the Environment Agency will be crucial in releasing bottlenecks in the planning system.

  • Government should explore whether public bodies should have a net zero mandate to focus them on delivering projects.

  • National Policy Statement must be clear and should be regularly updated, to avoid the current situation of having to debate the principle of what is being built whilst trying to navigate the planning process.

  • The scale of regulatory barriers is high and should be addressed. Interpretation of environmental impact can be disproportionate, making agreement on mitigation hard to reach or deliver, while adding significant costs and leaving projects open to challenge. In the case of new nuclear, the planning application for Hinkley Point C contained over 1,000 documents, and for Sizewell C just a few years later it was over 4,000. Sizewell C’s environmental statement is over 40,000 pages.

  • The planning system also needs to see a change in the amount of time and number of decisions that can be subject to judicial review.

Development of a skilled workforce to deliver the UK’s energy transition

We are strengthening Britain's energy workforce. Our new nuclear project Hinkley Point C has produced 1,300 apprentices so far. Our training centre for heat pump engineers is preparing hundreds for the future.

The right policies can turn the challenge of staffing the energy transition into a fantastic opportunity. These include:

  • Harnessing the talents of communities under-represented in energy.
  • A new central skills oversight body for the nuclear sector.
  • Building of common competence pathways within the nuclear and construction sectors.
  • Achieving net zero will require a significant investment in the nation’s labour force to ensure it is fit for the future – this is a huge challenge, but also a huge opportunity for growth for Britain.
  • At EDF, we are already playing our part in that aspiration, developing workers across the energy sector in new, green skills. Today, around 23,500 jobs are supported across Britain by our new nuclear project at Hinkley Point C, with over 1,300 apprentices trained on-site so far. We recently committed to further extending the lives of the four generating AGR stations, subject to inspections and regulatory approvals, which will help to sustain many of the fleet’s 5,000 jobs while maintaining vital nuclear skills. Meanwhile our acquisitions of solar panel and battery installer Contact Solar and of heat pump installer CB Heating, are seeing us train more people to help UK householders cut bills and shift to net zero.
  • To meet the sector’s skills requirements, we will need to harness the talents of communities not usually associated with the energy industry such as women and the racial and cultural community. This should also include a focus on NEETS. We ask for a vibrant partnership with government and the private sector on skills to provide pathways for all. With the right approach and support from government we could target areas of socio-economic deprivation to raise the profile of the sector with its high value employment opportunities and enable us to bring wider socio-economic gains.
  • For the nuclear sector, we ask for the development of a new central skills oversight body that co-ordinates a cross-sectoral view of job opportunities from construction through to facilities management and nuclear operations. Such a body would also be able to co-ordinate actions across regions and devolved governments so that interventions optimise success for employers, training providers and for trainees. Further it could work cross-departmentally so that barriers to access are shared and removed.

  • On renewables, we want to work with government to ensure young people know at an early stage they can have a long-term career in the sector and which roles are on offer directly and indirectly. Right now we need electrical engineers and we need planners UK wide – a new generation of people doing these jobs and others is critical to our net zero future.

  • We continue to promote the need for reform of the apprentice levy. Such reform would drive resources into areas of highest economic benefit and as such we would better be able to target Level 1 and 2 pre-apprenticeship pathway programmes.

  • To equip the workforce of the future, EDF call for the UK Government to prioritise the building of common competence pathways within the nuclear and construction sectors, refreshing occupational standards and occupational demand/heat maps.

EDF Renewables UK

EDF Renewables have also outlined their priorities for the next UK Government. 

Here is what needs to happen now to get to net zero.


 

EDF renewables manifesto logo
Renewable energy sources

Investing in renewables

We have an operational portfolio of wind farms – including two offshore wind farms – and we have an ambitious vision for solar and battery storage.

Rapid progress is being made on the first unit, which achieved its own J0 milestone last June.
Caption
Rapid progress is being made on the first unit, which achieved its own J0 milestone last June.

Investing in nuclear

EDF is playing a key role in the development of nuclear sites like Sizewell C, while Hinkley Point C will provide low-carbon electricity to meet 7% of the UK demand.

Generating electricity

By generating zero carbon electricity from wind, nuclear and solar we can power the nation, whatever the weather, while creating a balanced energy mix.