Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation is to be built under a £16 billion project which will create thousands of new jobs.
The move followed an agreement between the Government and French-owned EDF Energy, which will see Hinkley Point C in Somerset begin operating in 2023.
Ministers, business leaders and unions welcomed the development as a huge boost for the economy, although environmental campaigners warned the new site will distort energy policy by displacing newer, cleaner, technologies that are dropping “dramatically” in price.
Shortly after the go-ahead for Hinkley was announced, energy giant RWE npower heaped fresh pressure on households by hiking electricity and gas prices by 9.3% and 11.1% respectively from December 1.
The 10% average bill increase will affect about 3.1 million customers, the group said, and follows recent price hikes by British Gas and SSE.
Ministers faced criticism over the £92.50 per megawatt hour that will be paid for electricity produced at Hinkley - around double the current market rate.
The so-called ‘strike price’ could fall by £3 if EDF goes ahead with proposals to build two reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk.