The £18 billion project to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset is likely to be cancelled because of the Brexit vote, according to an expert advising the government. Paul Dorfman said he believed it was “extremely unlikely” that EDF, the state-backed French energy company, would now proceed with the long-delayed project, which would generate a total of 7 per cent of UK electricity if built. He is an honorary senior research fellow at University College London’s Energy Institute and an adviser to the British government on nuclear issues. “My view is that it seems extremely unlikely now,” he told The Times. “It’s probably all over bar the shouting. How can EDF invest billions when there is so much uncertainty?” he said. Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, chairman of the Commons energy and climate select committee, also expressed doubts over Hinkley. The SNP MP said that the scheme was “bedevilled by uncertainty”. He said: “Until last week . . . EDF was investing in another EU member state. Now that is no longer the case.” Mr Dorfman said that the 10 per cent devaluation of sterling and the huge political uncertainties generated by the Brexit vote, and likely to continue for some time, are likely to present insurmountable obstacles for EDF, which is 85 per cent owned by the French government. He is a member of the European Nuclear Energy Forum and has served as a scientific adviser to the UK and Irish governments on nuclear issues as well as the European Environment Agency. He has also helped to produce guidance for the UK Department of Health. However, EDF insists that Britain’s decision to exit the EU will have no impact on its plans to construct the £18 billion twin-reactor station. Mycle Schneider, an independent nuclear and energy industry analyst based in Paris, said that the Brexit vote would hand EDF “the perfect occasion to pull the plug on Hinkley Point without losing face”. He said that the Brexit vote represented a “disaster” for EDF’s plan and a decision to press ahead with Hinkley Point was unimaginable at the moment. John Sauven, director of Greenpeace, said that as well as “huge technical flaws and financial hurdles” the project faced “major political uncertainty which make delaying the Hinkley decision seem inevitable”. He added: “It is unlikely that a contract will be signed before a new prime minister is chosen, and leading candidate Boris Johnson has said the cost of Hinkley Point is a disgrace.”
Times 28th June 2016 read more »
Press & Journal 28th June 2016 read more »
The UK’s first nuclear power plant in a generation could be under threat following the country’s decision to quit the European Union, according to reports in the Chinese press. Financial analysts from Chinese publication EMoney speculate that the “referendum will slow the progression of Hinkley Point C” — but probably won’t end up killing the project. The report also observes that Boris Johnson, now seen as the likely successor to Prime Minister David Cameron, has been critical of the ‘disgraceful’ spending on Hinkley — unlike Chancellor George Osborne, who has been the project’s biggest cheerleader. Another report, this one in China Daily, says infrastructure investments “will have to be reconsidered as the new British government seeks to assess its priorities”. Columnist Fraser Cameron, director of the EU-Asia Centre, claims Britain will become a “poorer partner for China” in the coming years as it deals with the fallout of its European exit.
Energydesk 28th June 2016 read more »
You might not have thought it possible, but Hinkley Point’s prospects now look even worse than they did a week ago. Many environmentalists will see this as an upside of Brexit, but it is worth remembering energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd has warned failure to deliver the project on time will put the UK’s post-2020 carbon targets at risk and could result in higher energy bills. More worrying still, other crucial low carbon infrastructure projects, such as interconnectors and offshore wind projects, could yet be impacted by the coming months and years of uncertainty. Billions of dollars of investment, millions of tonnes of carbon saved, and thousands of jobs are at risk. The biggest uncertainty and the greatest risk to green businesses is to be found in the turmoil at Westminster. The only mandate offered by the referendum is for an exit from the European Union, but the climate sceptic wing of the Conservative Party will already be trying to fuel the idea it is a somehow a repudiation of Brussels’ environmental policy, the Paris Agreement, and the entire concept of climate action.
Business Green 27th June 2016 read more »
Analysts say Brexit will create uncertainty for energy sector, which could hit £20bn investment a year needed to replace ageing, dirty power plants. The UK’s challenge to build a clean, secure and affordable energy system has become significantly harder amid the political and economic turmoil following the nation’s vote to leave the European Union. Higher customer bills and delayed or cancelled projects are expected by experts, the most pessimistic of whom warn of the lights going out. The optimists argue that the global rush towards clean energy and strong domestic UK climate change targets can keep the transition to clean, green energy moving forward. However, the leading Brexiters, such as climate change doubter and likely next prime minister Boris Johnson, will play a critical role. If the deal they negotiate with the EU means close ties – and crucially access, like Norway, to Europe’s internal energy market (IEM) – the long-term dent to the UK’s energy prospects may be reduced. But a more decisive break with the world’s biggest single market would leave the UK out in the cold. The flight risk is particularly high for the energy sector, in which many major players are foreign companies. The most high-profile is French company EDF, which wants to build a huge, heavily subsidised and highly controversial nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The plant is an important part of the UK government’s plan to keep the lights on and emissions down, but is at high risk from a change of leadership, said energy analyst Nick Butler: “Osborne has been a powerful supporter of new nuclear. He has tolerated both a sharp rise in costs, even at a time when the price of every other form of energy has been falling, and successive delays that leave the project years behind schedule and billions of pounds over budget. On the assumption that he joins David Cameron in retiring in three months time, his successor may take a tougher line and pursue different options.”
Guardian 28th June 2016 read more »
FRENCH energy giant EDF has assured that Brexit will have ‘no impact’ on negotiations to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. In wake of Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union, EDF chairman Jena-Bernard Levy made a statement emphasising there should be no fears of reconsidering the £18 billion plans to build two EPR reactors at the site. “As of today, we believe that this vote has no impact on our strategy,” Mr Levy said on Friday. “Our business strategy is not linked to Great Britain’s political affiliation with the European Union, so we have no reason to change it,” he said.
Bridgwater Mercury 27th June2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] The Brexit could shift signing with London’s controversial project to build two EPR nuclear plants to 18 billion pounds. Right in his boots. “Our business strategy is not linked to the political affiliation of Great Britain in the European Union, so we have no reason to change that policy,” responded on Friday morning on the sidelines of a moving, EDF Chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy. It thus maintains the line defended for months: engage “at the earliest” the two EPR construction project at Hinkley Point, in the amount of 18 billion pounds and that EDF should take 66.5%. The Brexit, the consequences of which have obviously never been studied in the board, could yet, at least, delay the final investment decision by EDF. “To sign an agreement, it takes two. It is such earthquake there will be no contact in London, “said one director. “The Brexit creates great uncertainty about the economic and financial plan for Britain, and politically, the probable replacement David Cameron Boris Johnson changes the game,” said Francis Raillot, head of the CFE-CGC delegation on the project. EDF hoped to enact its decision in the wake of the consultation of EDF SA CEC, scheduled on 4 July. For several months, the CGT, CFE-CGC and FO EDF requesting a postponement of the project, concerned with his weight on EDF accounts. The boss of EDF Energy, Vincent de Rivaz, who had sent the Sunday before a long letter to his employees to affirm his personal support to “REMAIN”, established contacts with Boris Johnson, it ensured within ‘ EDF. The electrician tricolor, which already generates 15% of its turnover in the United Kingdom, said that the contract is governed by private law and that the project is subject decade of political consensus in Britain. Other debates will perhaps in the discussions: the validity of the conditions imposed by Brussels on the financing and profitability of the project, or the risk of change an important part of the project costs will be denominated in euros, in a context volatility likely increased exchange.
Les Echos 27th June 2016 read more »