Significant progress towards implementing a new funding model which will give nuclear projects the financial support they need and attract private investment.
Progress made towards securing finance for proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk
government publishes case for company operating Sizewell C to receive funding under Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model, bringing new nuclear plant closer to becoming reality
further consultation published on details of how projects would receive RAB financing, which could potentially fund many more next generation nuclear power plants
Today (14 June) the government has published documents which show significant progress towards implementing a new funding model which will give nuclear projects the financial support they need and attract private investment.
The new Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model will see projects receive a regulated payment from electricity suppliers, helping these large infrastructure projects come to fruition. The Sizewell C project in Suffolk could be the first nuclear project to use this model, subject to the outcome of current negotiations.
Under the previous mechanism to support new nuclear projects the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme developers had to finance the entire construction cost of a nuclear project up front, and only began receiving revenue when the station starts generating electricity. This model led to the cancellation of recent potential projects, such as Hitachis project at Wylfa Newydd in Wales and Toshibas at Moorside in Cumbria.
Under the new RAB scheme, private investors receive greater certainty through a lower and more reliable rate of return in the early stages of a project, lowering the cost of financing it, and ultimately helping reduce consumer electricity bills.
Overall consumers are expected to save more than 30 billion over the projects lifetime on each new large-scale nuclear power station compared with existing funding mechanisms.
This new method of funding nuclear projects will help the government realise its ambitions for a British nuclear renaissance, with plans to approve up to 8 new nuclear reactors by 2030, boosting UK nuclear power capacity up to 24 GW by 2050.
Draft reasons for designation of NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited
Sizewell C in Suffolk is a proposed new nuclear power plant which, if built after obtaining all necessary approvals, could power 6 million UK homes, boosting the countrys energy security and potentially reducing bills for households by providing clean, homegrown electricity.
Draft reasons for designating the company operating Sizewell C, NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited, to receive money through the RAB have been published today. They set out the case for the Sizewell C project meeting the criteria of Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act, introduced earlier this year. Their publication brings the government a step closer to deciding on its commercial negotiations with the project developer.
As required by the Act, the document is currently being consulted on with the Environment Agency, Office for Nuclear Regulation, Ofgem and the NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited. The consultation will close on 4 July 2022 and is the first step in potentially allowing the nuclear company to receive funding under the RAB model.
Sizewell C is also subject to an ongoing application for development consent, which is entirely separate to commercial negotiations on the project.
Consultation on revenue regulations
The government is today also consulting on the detail of how nuclear projects would receive their funding under the new RAB model.
The consultation launched today seeks views on the proposals to inform the policy behind the regulations, ahead of laying them in draft before Parliament. The revenue regulations will shape how large nuclear projects like Sizewell C receive funding in the future.
It is expected the consultation will be of particular interest to the statutory consultees named in section 25 of the Act, which includes energy companies, the National System Operator and Scottish and Welsh government ministers. Other interested groups include nuclear developers and those directly impacted by the proposals.
The documents are an important step in implementing a RAB model, bringing private investment into new nuclear and cutting the cost of financing new projects.
A large-scale project funded under the RAB model will add at most a few pounds a year to typical household energy bills during the early stages of construction and on average approximately 1 per month during the full construction phase of the project.
However, overall, the lower cost of financing the project is expected to lead to savings for consumers of at least 30 billion on each project over its lifetime. This translates to a saving of more than 10 per year for an average domestic dual fuel bill throughout the life of the nuclear power station - which can operate for 60 years - compared to the existing CfD scheme.