Budget 2016: small nuclear reactors competition launch

With Hinkley C touch and go and a review of tidal power underway, energy was never going to be big in the budget. That said, there were a few details announced that may help shore up renewable technologies and Support for renewable electricity and back up recommendations made in the National Infrastructure’s Commission report on energy. Announcements made in the budget include:

•Plans to auction up to £730 million support for offshore wind and other less established renewable technologies this parliament for projects generating electricity in 2021 to 2026. The first auction will offer £290 million of support.

•Back the NIC energy study on Smart Power with at least £50 million for innovation in energy storage, demand side response and other smart technologies over the next 5 years

•Ofgem will consult on opening up the £100 million Network Innovation Competition to better enable innovation by non-licensed companies from 2017

•Small Modular Reactors – The government is launching the first stage of a competition to identify a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) to be built in the UK, and will publish an SMR delivery roadmap later this year. It will also allocate at least £30m of funding for R&D in advanced nuclear manufacturing.

The UK has been touted as being as being the global centre of a new nuclear industry in mini-reactors that built off the shelf and plugged into the grid. There is said to be no shortage of contenders, with companies from the US to China and Poland all wooing the UK with their proposals.