Blog: Why Hinkley Point C is good news for the economy
Building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C isn’t just about providing low carbon electricity to over five million homes – it’s about powering our economy, now and in the future.
It’s partly about generating the electricity the economy needs - 20% of 2010's generation capacity has already closed, and a further 35% will close by 2030. It’s also about affordably meeting the UK’s legally binding commitments to reduce emissions 80% by 2050.
These alone are good enough reasons to invest. However the impact Hinkley Point C will have on the economy is much wider, nationally, for the industry and for the south west.
Hinkley Point C is a vital piece of infrastructure that will enable the UK’s economy and international economies to thrive through our supply chain. Whilst the UK’s economy is now strong in many areas, our productivity lags behind other major economies, and earlier in the year the OECD said that “greater infrastructure investment is at the core of raising [UK] productivity”.
Part of solving that problem is having modern, low carbon energy infrastructure, and DECC has estimated that we need to invest £100bn by 2020.
Hinkley Point C is a £16bn contribution to bridging that gap. Our low carbon electricity generation won’t just keep the lights on in over five million homes; it will also help power the electric trains getting people to work, and the factories building cars to export across the world.
Good for the wider industry
It is 27 years since we last started building a new nuclear power station in the UK, so this is a huge opportunity for British workers. As well as utilising the best of our existing workforce, we need to develop the next generation to help us deliver Hinkley Point C.
That’s why we’re creating at least 1,000 apprenticeships and investing £14 million in education and training for that next generation.
The story is similar with the supply chain. EDF Energy is working hard with its partners to reinvigorate the UK’s nuclear industry so it can deliver both at Hinkley Point C, and on future new nuclear projects. Our investment is already bearing fruit, and we expect 60% of the contract value for Hinkley Point C to be placed with UK companies.
This is important for the UK economy beyond just delivering our planned new nuclear power stations. The experience and expertise our suppliers gain will be highly exportable, enabling British companies to win nuclear contracts across the world.
Good for the south west
Of course, as well as the UK wide benefits, Hinkley Point C is already having a massive impact at a local and regional level.
The construction and operation of Hinkley Point C will create 25,000 employment opportunities, and the new nuclear power station will provide 900 jobs for its 60 year lifetime.
EDF Energy’s local and regional investment goes beyond this, including £20m in dedicated community funds, £11m in local employment and skills, £16m in roads and infrastructure, and £3m for our Inspire programme for young people.
This means the Hinkley Point C project will leave a lasting legacy, one which includes our £6m investment in West Somerset Community College and Bridgwater College, and EDF Energy’s £15million investment in our nearby Cannington Court training centre.
Powering our future economy
Hinkley Point C is a vital investment in the economy. Partly because it will help us avoid an electricity capacity crunch in the mid 2020s, and affordably meet our climate change obligations.
The lasting legacy, though, will be much wider. The jobs created in the south west, the investment in education and skills; and supply chain developed in the UK’s nuclear industry and the infrastructure that improve productivity and drive growth.
We’re not just building a new power plant. We’re building the infrastructure to power our future economy.