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'All renewables' approach not practical says Sizewell C boss, as CBI backs nuclear

PUBLISHED: 09:53 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 02 July 2019

New nuclear needs to be part of solving the climate change crisis, argues the CBI and EDF Energy, which is planning to build a Sizewell C nuclear power plant beside Sizewell B, above  Picture: DOMINIC WHITEN

New nuclear needs to be part of solving the climate change crisis, argues the CBI and EDF Energy, which is planning to build a Sizewell C nuclear power plant beside Sizewell B, above Picture: DOMINIC WHITEN

© Dominic Whiten/Coastal Creative Photography

The boss of a new nuclear project in Suffolk said an 'all-renewables' approach to the climate change crisis wasn't practical, as a business-backed report called for the technology to be part of the government's energy strategy.

Jim Crawford, project director for Sizewell C  Picture: WARREN PAGEJim Crawford, project director for Sizewell C Picture: WARREN PAGE

Business lobby group the CBI wants the UK to build up new nuclear power stations and scale up carbon capture technology and infrastructure to enable the UK to meet its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2015.

Jim Crawford, project development director at Sizewell C in Leiston - which is still at the planning stage - said all replacement energy sources needed to be low carbon and much of that would be renewables, but 'going all the way' with renewables and batteries wasn't practical.

MORE - New nuclear can be affordable, report concludes

"The costs of dealing with too much or little wind and sun rise steeply with very high levels of renewables," he said. "Renewables with reliable nuclear gives the UK a more secure and affordable supply and helps us deal better with periods with too much or too little wind."

The CBI has written energy secretary Greg Clark setting out a series of priorities to decarbonise the UK economy and has called on the government to use a forthcoming Energy White Paper to give more clarity on its vision.

An artist's impression of what Sizewell C will look like  Picture: EDF ENERGYAn artist's impression of what Sizewell C will look like Picture: EDF ENERGY

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The CBI wants to see the government progressing large-scale nuclear projects and supporting innovative nuclear technologies, such as Small Modular Reactors.

It is also calling for technology trials to determine "the best, localised solutions to fully decarbonise heat in homes, offices and industrial processes", and clear incentives for consumers and businesses to buy electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, underpinned by comprehensive nationwide infrastructure.

The CBI says the tax and business rates system should be rationalised to ensure green energy is encouraged and not penalised

CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith, said business was "right behind" the need for the UK to have a net-zero economy by 2050 and build on the UK's global leadership in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"To deliver the government's admirable net-zero policy by 2050, it is mission critical that business, politicians and the public work together to devise and make the necessary changes," he said. Firms wanted to see 'stable, long term policies', the CBI said.

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