Energy Security - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:57 pm on 5 December 2022.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 7:57, 5 December 2022

I thank my noble friend for his question. He takes a close interest in this issue, having been Secretary of State for Energy in the past. He makes a very good point about the importance of interconnectors. They will clearly play a key role in balancing supplies across Europe, particularly as we have more and more intermittent renewables both in this country and in other parts of Europe. Of course, there are interconnectors linking us with Ireland, as well as with France, the Netherlands, Belgium, et cetera. They clearly will have an increased role to play. I forget the exact figure, but in the energy security strategy we set out that we wanted to expand the number of interconnectors that are available because of the important role that they will have.

I cannot give the noble Lord an exact date for when Sizewell C will be commissioned; these large nuclear projects have a somewhat chequered history. This is a tried and proven design, but it clearly will be a number of years before this comes on stream; it will, however, still be valuable and still be needed. In fact, if we had disregarded the advice of the former leader of the Liberal Democrats in 2010 in his famous video, we would indeed now be having new nuclear coming on stream to help us in the energy crisis that we have at the moment. SMRs, of course, will also play an important role, but they are still being developed and designs are still being improved, so, again, it will be a few years before they come on stream.