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Trade Union Welcomes Multi-Billion Pound Investment in Wylfa Power Station

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We could be witnessing an outbreak of energy policy common sense that should set a new precedent says GMB.

GMB, the energy union, has welcomed the expected go-ahead for a new nuclear power station in Wales.

The Government is set to announce a multi-billion pound investment in a new nuclear power station as well as underwriting billions of pounds of loans.

Business Secretary Greg Clark is expected to give MPs further details of a funding deal for the proposed Wylfa Newydd plant in Anglesey, North Wales.

Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary for Energy, said:

 “We may be witnessing an outbreak of energy policy common sense that should set a new precedent for our vital energy infrastructure projects.

“The go ahead on a new, publicly funded power station at Wylfa, and the accompanying creation of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships, means a huge boost to the economy and reliable electricity to millions of homes.

“By Government taking a stake in the new power station, the price to consumers will be greatly reduced.

“This makes good sense all round, not just the obvious benefits to bill payers but because Government is ‘the lender of last resort’ when it comes to guaranteeing the country’s energy supply and so direct public funding of the construction does away with the nonsensical pretence that this is some other country or company’s responsibility.

“GMB has long maintained it is the facts, not the hype, which should determine the UK’s energy policy decisions.

“If we are to address the reality of climate change – whilst keeping our country’s lights turned on, our homes heated and our economy working – then we have to face up to the fact that we need a mix of energy which combines renewable sources, like wind and solar, with the reliable base load electricity capacity that comes from zero carbon nuclear and lower carbon gas.”

“That wind and solar are intermittent shouldn’t be a point of contention, quite the contrary, but a reason why base load zero carbon nuclear and lower carbon gas energy sources are essential for a balanced and secure low emissions future.

“There were a staggering 341 days in the year up to March 2018 when – for more than half the day – solar panels supplied less than 10 per cent of their installed capacity, and 65 separate days when wind turbines supplied less than 10 per cent of their potential.

“Just a few weeks ago, a National Grid Report said that to meet our emissions targets, gas will be fundamental to any realistic future energy scenario and that it is not feasible to switch over to electric heating on the scale required.

“The grid report says that a move to electric heating would require 20,000 new boilers per week to be fitted through to 2050 (which every household would have to pay for) and a seven fold increase in the capacity of the electricity grid to 290 gigawatts, which is neither realistic nor affordable, emphasising the future importance of gas and the need for our own independent gas supply”.