The UK does not need EDF’s proposed Hinkley Point new nuclear plant as it has plenty of alternative options for keeping the lights on, rival energy giant SSE has said. The importance of the £18bn project for the UK’s energy needs “has been repeatedly overplayed”, Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE chief executive said, insisting offshore wind and gas plants could fill the gap if Hinkley was scrapped.
Telegraph 16th Aug 2016 read more »
The significance of Hinkley Point C to the Britain’s future energy supplies has been “overplayed”, the boss of SSE has said. The government needs to focus on “maintaining confidence” in the current policy framework so alternatives can fill the gap left behind if the new nuclear plant is cancelled. “I have absolutely no idea what will happen to Hinkley Point C and whether it will be taken forward or not. For me though, its significance to the UK’s needs for secure, modern supplies of electricity has been repeatedly overplayed,” said chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies, writing on the website Politics Home. “Whilst it is undoubtedly true that we need new, cleaner technology to replace the older power stations coming off the system,” he added, “there are enough credible alternatives out there which can be built in time to deliver the balanced energy mix we need, and a policy framework which can deliver the necessary investment.”
Utility Week 16th Aug 2016 read more »
SSE’s Chief Executive writes that the Hinkley Point C decision is less significant than ensuring UK energy market confidence continues as well as investment in alternatives such as new gas and offshore wind. I have absolutely no idea what will happen to Hinkley Point C and whether it will be taken forward or not. For me though, its significance to the UK’s needs for secure, modern supplies of electricity has been repeatedly overplayed. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that we need new, cleaner technology to replace the older power stations coming off the system, there are enough credible alternatives out there which can be built in time to deliver the balanced energy mix we need, and a policy framework which can deliver the necessary investment. So, whatever is decided on Hinkley is, for me, a second order issue. The focus should be on maintaining confidence in the three main policies I have described and using the powerful levers that they provide to ensure that alternatives such as new gas and offshore wind can fill the gap if necessary. This would ensure that the UK has secure and affordable electricity, and is still on track to meet climate change targets.
Politics Home 16th Aug 2016 read more »
One of the Big Six energy giants has said Britain doesn’t need the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant to avoid blackouts in the future. In a blog post first published on PoliticsHome, Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE wrote: “If Hinkley doesn’t progress there is plenty [of alternatives] to fill the gap,” such as new gas-fired power stations, other nuclear projects and windfarms. “[Hinkley’s] significance to the UK’s needs for secure, modern supplies of electricity has been repeatedly overplayed,” he said.
City AM 16th Aug 2016 read more »
Daily Business 17th Aug 2016 read more »
RENews 16th Aug 2016 read more »
Reuters 16th Aug 2016 read more »
To dump Hinkley means upsetting France, a key ally, and torpedoing a decade of UK energy policy, carefully constructed and nurtured by predecessors. It will leave a hole in Britain’s future power generation capacity, imperil the UK’s chances of hitting its carbon emission reduction targets and, perhaps most disconcertingly, risk derailing relations with China, a key trade partner as Britain plans to go it alone outside the EU. All these risks are real enough yet Mrs May should take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the view. To press ahead with Hinkley would be by far the most reckless course of action she could take. The reason for this has little to do with geopolitics, national security or fears of Chinese espionage and a lot to do with common sense. At more than £30 billion, the estimated cost of the subsidies that David Cameron’s government agreed that UK consumers would heap upon EDF in order to construct two reactors at Hinkley looks increasingly ludicrous. That’s not just because they were bad terms to begin with. Since the deal was struck in 2013 wholesale electricity prices have collapsed, making them look worse than ever. After all, that £30 billion subsidy is only slightly less than the UK’s annual defence budget. It is roughly equivalent to the GDP of Jordan or Serbia. Can that be the correct price to build a single power station? Also while the projected cost of Hinkley has spiralled higher, the cost of renewable alternatives has plummeted, gradually undermining its economic rationale. It will not be enough for Mrs May simply to reject Hinkley. The decision must be accompanied by a detailed plan for what the UK will do instead. With ageing coal and nuclear stations being retired from service, the UK needs new power stations. Fortunately, if she needs inspiration, she is in the right place. Back in 2011, Switzerland was planning to build two new reactors but parliament reversed course. It scrapped the project and opted instead for a $12 billion push into hydroelectric power, which now supplies nearly 60 per cent of Swiss electricity. New hydro projects will eventually phase out Switzerland’s five nuclear reactors, which still generate 35 per cent of power. Of course, the UK is not Switzerland, with its small population and an abundance of mountain rivers. Britain will need a different solution, tailored to its own needs and resources. In this, new gas-fired plants and nuclear reactors may have a role to play if they can be shown to be economically rational to build. But the Swiss example does show that alternatives exist for those who are ambitious and bold enough to grasp the opportunity by changing course. Mrs May should do so now.
Times 17th Aug 2016 read more »
Theresa May has written to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to express her desire to enhance trade and strategic ties, after tensions emerged over the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.
Independent 16th Aug 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 16th Aug 2016 read more »
Theresa May has confirmed that she will travel to China next month to steady relations with Beijing and to press for stronger trading relations. In a letter to Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, and Li Keqiang, the premier, Mrs May said she supported the hosting of the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Hangzhou, and wanted to build stronger trade relationship.
Alok Sharma, the Foreign Office minister who is on a visit to China, called the bilateral relationship “strong, growing and delivering benefits for both our countries”. The G20 summit takes place on September 4 and 5; Mrs May has promised to announce a decision on Hinkley Point in September. Downing Street said Mrs May’s letter, which was first reported by Bloomberg, was private correspondence and would not be published.
FT 15th Aug 2016 read more »
Theresa May has written to the Chinese president to reassure him of Britain’s continuing commitment to strong relations with Beijing following her decision to delay the Hinkley Point nuclear project. The prime minister handed the letter to her Foreign Office minister, Alok Sharma, who delivered it to his counterpart during an official visit to the Chinese capital. The letter to President Xi comes after Mrs May’s decision to review plans for the French state-owned energy company EDF to build a £18 billion new reactor at the plant in Somerset.
Times 16th Aug 2016 read more »
Calling it the stuff of a Tom Clancy international thriller novel, Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan had one question for prosecutors Tuesday — where’s the proof the Chinese government would spirit away the engineer accused of buying American nuclear know-how? “Where’s the evidence the court can bring as opposed to speculation?” Varlan asked at a hearing Tuesday on whether engineer Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho should remain jailed pending trial on charges he procured American nuclear technological information for the Chinese government. Prosecutors have called Ho a flight risk. “Your argument that China would assist him in fleeing, how would that fit into the weight of the evidence for the court to consider?” Varlan pressed Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley Jr. “What’s the evidence?” Ho, his firm Energy Technology International and Chinese nuclear power plant China General Nuclear Power were indicted in April on charges of a plot to lure nuclear experts in the U.S. into providing information to allow China to develop and produce nuclear material based on American technology and below the radar of the U.S. government. Varlan said he will issue a written ruling soon. Ho’s trial is set for Jan. 24. The defense last week filed a motion alleging the FBI elicited incriminating statements from Ho even after he asked for a lawyer. A hearing on that motion has not yet been set.
Knoxville News Sentiinel 16th Aug 2016 read more »
Letter Norman Dombey: CGN has just been indicted by the US authorities for exporting nuclear technology to China without authorisation. The indictment specifically relates to Hualong One and the “verification and validation of nuclear reactor codes”.
Guardian 16th Aug 2016 read more »