The chief executive of EDF, Vincent de Rivaz, has called the unveiling of the government’s Electricity Reform Measures “a landmark day”.
He said today’s announcement by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne “creates a momentum that triggers the path to implementation in 2011”.
Mr de Rivaz said: “Given the progress at last week’s Cancun climate talks, the momentum to meet Britain’s climate targets in the most affordable way is vital.
“The carbon price mechanism and electricity market reform are two distinct steps which encourage investment by putting values on decarbonisation and security of supply.”
He added that the proposed carbon price floor “will encourage investment in all forms of low carbon generation, including nuclear, renewables and CCS”.
“The floor price can start low to encourage investment and ensure a smooth transition,” he said. “It needs to reach a meaningful levelin the years immediately following 2018, when the new low carbon generation comes on stream. It should then strengthen further to 2030, when we need to have largely decarbonised electricity.”
And the EDF boss said a floor price was in the interests of consumers. “By providing more certainty to encourage investment in low carbon generation which is not dependent on volatile fossil fuel prices, it can shield consumers from higher costs in the future,” he said. “We agree with the government analysis which shows that any increase in bills as a result of investment will be lower with a carbon floor price than without.
EDF and its partner Centrica plans to build four new nuclear plants in the UK, with the first due to be operational in 2018.