The UK Government’s decision to press ahead with the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset is only a “starting point” for the country’s energy policy, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said.

The government advisory body said that the nation’s energy policy cannot depend on a single project.

It called for an energy policy that would provide sufficient investment in low-carbon technology to meet any shortfall in electricity production if Hinkley is delayed.

Competitive auctions for low-carbon technologies and a carbon capture and storage (CCS) policy are also needed, the committee said.

Other options

The CCC said: “New nuclear power can help to reduce emissions in the power sector in a number of ways, particularly acting alongside intermittent renewable generation in a low-carbon mix of technologies.

“However, as set out in the CCC’s reports, there are many mixes of different low-carbon technologies compatible with reducing emissions from the power sector – for example, nuclear, CCS, offshore and onshore wind, solar power, hydro and tidal.

“These will all require a combination of demand-side flexibility, storage, interconnection, and modern transmission and distribution networks to deliver them at least cost. It is crucial that these are pursued with vigour, alongside spending on nuclear.”

> Read the CCC's comments in full