Wylfa Newydd: I urge optimism

Yesterday Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power notified the Planning Inspectorate that it is withdrawing its application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey.  This move followed a statement from Hitachi in September 2020 that it would allow Horizon to try and secure new investors for the site near Cemaes.  The deadline for the DCO has subsequently been extended twice at the request of Horizon – most recently to the end of April 2021.

In its letter to the Planning Inspectorate, Horizon said that it was formally withdrawing its application, citing a lack of “any definitive proposal” to transfer Wylfa to an alternative developer.

The company added that Wylfa is “highly suitable” for nuclear new build and capable of “substantially supporting UK energy policy”, and that it is “too important to the net zero agenda and the economic future of Anglesey and north Wales for that progress to be wasted.”

Hitachi subsidiary Hitachi Europe Ltd will take control of the site when Horizon is wound-down at the end of March.  Horizon CEO Duncan Hawthorne said:

“This will be done with a view to considering development proposals from commercial or public sector developers who may come forward, and Horizon will continue to support this intent until the end of March.

“Beyond this period Hitachi Europe will remain available to respond to any parties who may have an interest in acquiring these sites.”

Responding to the announcement, describing it as a “setback,” the island’s MP Virginia Crosbie remains adamant about the UK Government’s commitment to establishing such a site on the island.

“After hearing the news yesterday, I met with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and discussed the situation.  I stressed the importance of Wylfa Newydd to Anglesey and the whole of North Wales and asked for BEIS commitment to working with me to find a solution.

“This is by no means the end of our island’s ambition to have a new nuclear power station on this site, which is a world-class place to install this energy.

“The UK government remains completely committed to nuclear power at Wylfa Newydd as am I. However, the fact is work could not continue without a developer.

“We have experienced a setback and I share the disappointment of the Anglesey community who have been so supportive of the project and who very much wanted to see the jobs and investment on our island.

“My job now is to help find new developers with new ambitions to invest in this site using the latest nuclear technology.

“Wylfa Newydd is here ready and waiting for someone to take it forward. It will support the government’s 2050 net zero carbon goal, its levelling up agenda and it will stimulate the UK’s nuclear supply chain.

Most importantly, the support of the community is fantastic, the government support is steadfast and I will do everything I can to ensure it becomes a reality. We go again.”

A UK Government spokesperson said:

“We offered a significant package of potential support to this project that went well beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past, including taking a one third equity stake, providing all required debt financing and offering generous financial support through our Contract for Difference scheme.

“We understand that this will be disappointing news for the people of North Wales, however Wylfa remains an important site for potential new projects and the UK Government will continue to explore future opportunities for it.”

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