Open letter to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Dear Secretary of State,

We are writing to you on behalf of Energy for Humanity, a UK-based non-profit organisation focused on solving climate change and enabling universal access to modern energy services.

While our country’s focus must now be on responding effectively to Covid-19, the UK will soon need to regain momentum in tackling climate change and air pollution, whilst creating jobs and providing low cost, clean power to help restore the economy for a sustainable future.

We recently published a declaration, signed by 35 civil society leaders from nine countries, recognising the Canada-UK Nuclear Cooperation Action Plan as a welcome determination to do more and to go faster in realising the clean energy system we need.

As an NGO, it is not our role to endorse particular commercial projects.

However, we can emphatically support nuclear energy, alongside renewables, as part of the clean energy future in the UK. Without nuclear, our action on climate will be more difficult, more expensive, and more likely to fail.

We know that Sizewell C, the planned 3.2GW nuclear power plant in Suffolk, will soon reach a major milestone with the formal application of a Development Consent Order (DCO).  Subject to the Government being satisfied that this represents a good deal for the UK, and a strong value proposition for the economy and climate, we urge you to make a statement in support of the development of Sizewell C.  This statement would be particularly meaningful as the UK continues preparations for hosting COP26 now in 2021, where we have called for nuclear energy to be appropriately represented as the world’s second largest source of clean energy.

Sizewell C is an opportunity to build on the investment made at Hinkley Point C to drive down costs and to improve performance. The Energy Technologies Institute Nuclear Cost Drivers’ Study is cited as the basis for achievable cost reduction in the UK Nuclear Sector Deal. This Study, that we led through our consulting firm, LucidCatalyst, provides compelling evidence that significant cost reduction is achievable through timely and effective programmatic sequencing of projects. The offshore wind industry programme demonstrates how sustained access to finance and continuous build in exchange for a matching commitment to cost reduction is a successful formula that enables improved performance and cost reduction. Our study shows such commitments could deliver similar results for nuclear energy.

The UK and EDF have made a massive investment through the Hinkley project to build skills and capability across the supply chain, labour force and project leadership – essentially starting the nuclear programme. Sizewell C represents a once in a generation opportunity for the UK to sustain and amplify these benefits. These programmatic investments will reduce the risk to delivery of critical new infrastructure that will reliably generate 7% of UK power, without emissions, for decades to come. We urge you to pursue this opportunity and to negotiate a good deal for the country.

The decision you are facing today is exactly the kind of decision that our 53 signatories of our recently published letter to the Financial Times, including world famous climate scientists, academics, political leaders, regulators, climate NGOs, authors, artists, and investors, were highlighting.

In light of the scale and urgency of climate change, these distinguished leaders are calling for nuclear energy to be acknowledged for its high performance, low carbon role in de-risking our net zero goals, and for nuclear to be supported through access to finance.

Yours Sincerely,

Kirsty Gogan

Executive Director, Energy for Humanity, Managing Partner, LucidCatalyst

Eric Ingersoll

Chief Technology Officer, Energy for Humanity, Managing Partner, LucidCatalyst

MIT Future of Nuclear Study, Advisor