President Hollande has demanded that France’s state electricity giant presses ahead with an £18 billion reactor in Britain despite growing misgivings at home over the project. The beleaguered Mr Hollande has told EDF he will not accept a U-turn over the plan to build a new-generation nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, The Times has learnt. Officials in Paris fear that a withdrawal could undermine confidence in the country’s nuclear industry, upon which 220,000 jobs depend. French government enthusiasm for the project is shared by David Cameron, who has repeatedly expressed support for it despite doubts in Britain and France over its viability. However, Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chief executive, has said he would approve the project only if the company receives further government backing. The EDF chief executive still says he supports Hinkley Point but is an increasingly isolated figure within the company. In January, its board discussed a proposal to abandon the project after an internal report pointed to serious flaws. The report also said there were big financial risks attached, including a danger the British government might in future seek to slash lucrative subsidies made available for the plant. Several of EDF’s board members, including union representatives, supported the alternative plan: signing a long-term deal with the UK to supply electricity via subsea power cables. Anthony Froggatt, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, the international affairs think-tank, said the idea of exporting power from France instead was “very sensible”. France, which generates nearly 80 per cent of its electricity from nuclear plants, is already the world’s biggest electricity exporter. A high voltage cable running 70 km from Calais to Folkestone has been in use since 1986. Another cable is being built from Southampton to Normandy.
Times 14th March 2016 read more »
A leading SNP Energy MP has called on the UK government to re-think its plans to press ahead with the proposed new Hinkley Point-C nuclear power plant. Angus MacNeil (Stornoway MP), Chairman of the Energy Committee in the Westminster Parliament, made the call after EDF – which already owns eight nuclear plants in Scotland and England – ask its owner, the French government, for more money for the £18 billion project.
Scottish Energy News 12th March 2016 read more »
George Kerevan (East Lothian) (SNP) Adjournement debate.
Hansard 8th March 2016 read more »
Britain needs the project cancelled, but that cancellation must come from France. We are relying on the French and EDF, which has already spent £2bn on the project, to do the right thing. But will they? As the evidence grew that the EPR for Hinkley would be far more costly than expected, the talk of allowing private investment was replaced by promises of government support. The UK government will guarantee at least £2bn of debt. And it has promised that we, the electricity customers, will buy the power produced by Hinkley for 35 years at a price of £92.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2012 prices. The price would now be about £99/MWh (and will increase further with inflation). Contrast that with the current wholesale price of power in the UK, about £35/MWh. How embarrassing would it be for David Cameron to have to explain to the Chinese that we were now cancelling the project? Too embarrassing, perhaps. He needs the French to pull the plug. We all do.
Guardian 14th March 2016 read more »
A SENSE of crisis is mounting over the proposed construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. With the departure of the EDF finance director who thinks the project could sink the firm, and the calls by the French trade union involved to abandon Hinkley C comes the revelation from the company’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy who said they need more cash from the French government.
Bridgwater Mercury 13th March 2016 read more »
However much the chancellor needs Hinkley, its fate will actually be decided not in Bridgwater, or London Bridge, but in the Avenue de Wagram, Paris: the headquarters of Électricité de France (EDF). It is here that the future of the £18bn scheme, a main part of infrastructure strategy and the key to Conservative Party energy policy, will be decided once and for all. Jean-Bernard Lévy, the EDF chief executive, is the man who is pushing for more financial help from the French government and to tie up a few more loose ends that would allow him, finally, to press the green button on Hinkley. Friends of Lévy describe him as a “dictator overseeing a democracy” but the stakes are high for him, too. His job is surely on the line from François Hollande’s government, given Hinkley is meant to provide a French technology showcase.
Guardian 13th March 2016 read more »
Letter David Siddall: It seems very confusing to read Sarah Gordon’s comment that Hinkley Point “makes political sense” and is justified by some unexplained “political imperatives” (Inside Business, March 10). What can these mysterious imperatives be? They certainly can’t be the desire to have UK consumers paying triple the cost of power for 35 years. The only vague justification that makes slight sense could be diversification of supply. However, as reported on the same day, the solar energy technologies are advancing in leaps and bounds. Other technologies such as large-scale battery storage are also speeding to fruition. So I can only conclude the only “political imperatives” are the egos of politicians who foolishly nailed their hard-hatted images to old nuclear power.
FT 13th March 2016 read more »