EDF’S directors have been warned they face legal action if the beleaguered power company pushes ahead with building an £18billion nuclear plant in Somerset. A letter from managers in the French firm said board members could be held personally responsible if their support for the Hinkley Point C project led to a ‘destruction of value’. It came as French president Francois Hollande met ministers to discuss financing for the plant, which would produce enough power for 6million homes. France’s government owns an 85 per cent stake in the company.
Daily Mail 20th April 2016 read more »
The insanity of the Hinkley C project for the French nation in general and EDF in particular was underlined today by two events. First, the French Government found itself unable to solve the gordian-like knot of problems facing EDF. Second a group of EDF managers wrote a letter warning the directors that they could face legal action to make them take responsibility for taking on the Hinkley C project if, as they fear, the project goes wrong. This follows an earlier letter from engineers doubting the wisdom of proceeding with Hinkley C. Yet again a high level political meeting of French ministers billed as giving a green light for the project has prevaricated. It is a wondrous testament to the trust we wrongly place in the press releases issued by EDF and its allies that we believe every one of the now dozens of times that the green light for the project is to be given for the project. Of course, if it is so certain, why the need for these repeatedly stated ‘final investment decision’ meetings that never resolve the issue? Why aren’t they just building the damn thing! Any notion that this is a vaguely competitive project – even with offshore wind projects, is rendered nonsensical by all of this, with some made-up price that the British would have to pay being paraded as the ‘cost’. Now it seems the cost includes the French Government injecting billions of euros in various types of support even if all goes well. The chances are it will not, and the French state will be on the hook to pick up the pieces of EDF which will effectively collapse as a result – indeed the company could well go under even without the added weight of Hinley C.
Dave Toke’s Blog 20th April 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point C will “blaze a trail” for new nuclear projects in Britain, according to energy minister Andrea Leadsom. Giving a speech at the Nuclear New Build Forum in London she said: “Hinkley C is only the first in a series of proposed new nuclear projects in the pipeline. It will blaze a trail for further nuclear development.” The industry has put forward proposals to build 18GW of new nuclear capacity at six sites in the UK – Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Bradwell, Moorside, Wylfa and Oldbury. Leadsom continued: “This pipeline could deliver around a third of the electricity we will need in the 2030s; reduce our carbon emissions by more than 40 million tonnes; bring an estimated £80 billion of investment into the UK and employ up to 30,000 people across the new nuclear supply chain at the peak of construction.”
Utility Week 20th April 2016 read more »
Business Green 20th April 2016 read more »
Andrea Leadsom’s speech at the 8th Nuclear New Build Forum.
DECC 20th April 2016 read more »
Energy secretary Amber Rudd has insisted the government has “arrangements in place” to ensure a potential delay or cancellation to Hinkley does not pose a risk to the UK’s energy security. However, she admitted that a last-minute delay to the project could result in increased costs for consumers, and jeopardise the country’s decarbonisation targets. Rudd made the comments in a letter to the chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Angus MacNeil, in response to his questions following a meeting of the committee in March. The government has “every confidence” the deal will go ahead, but, Rudd said, if Hinkley were to be delayed or cancelled, “keeping the lights on is non-negotiable”.
Utility Week 20th April 2016 read more »
[Machine translation] The vigilance of the French State to EDF is “total,” promised the government Wednesday, after a meeting at the Elysee Palace on the financial situation of the electricity giant. The attention is focused on the proposed construction of two EPR nuclear reactors in the UK at Hinkley Point, investment of 18 billion pounds (23 billion euros) shared two thirds / one third between EDF and the Chinese CGN , already allies to build two reactors in China. The main unions of EDF recently wrote to Francois Hollande to warn that “the financial equation and the organization of work more than degraded” group was not possible to consider “serenely” this site. The Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, and the CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy, maintain meanwhile that its realization is vital for the company, owned 84.94% by the state, and for the French nuclear industry as a whole. The decision must be taken formally at an upcoming Board of Directors, in early May. Wednesday’s meeting focused on the financing plan EDF, which will be Friday in the agenda of a meeting of its board of directors. The State has already indicated that it would participate in a capital increase if it be necessary, in particular to fund the project Hinkley Point. Jean-Bernard Levy convened Friday morning an “Inter-Union seminar” on the project before the board of the afternoon. But only the CFDT agreed to participate. CGT, Force Ouvrière (FO) and CFE CGC deem the conditions of a contest are not met. “There is a loss of confidence in the management. The Hinkley Point project insulates many senior management. It has a lot crystallized concerns” diagnostic union leader who asked to remain anonymous. “We really feel that this project will be dictated by the policy to a company that would not necessarily need that in its strategy if it reasoned in business.” “If the government supports the CEO of EDF and force passage of the Hinkley Point project, there will be a conflict and this conflict may be hard,” added a leader FO. The association of employee shareholders of EDF EAS for his part, sent a memorandum to the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), requesting to consider withdrawal of the company’s stock exchange. It considers that the State shareholder misusing EDF to implement its industrial policy in the civil nuclear sector, to the detriment of the interests of the company and its other shareholders.
Reuters 20th April 2016 read more »
Connaissance des Energies 20th April 2016 read more »
Letter Amber Rudd: The government’s job is to ensure our families and businesses have energy supplies they can rely on. And we are doing it by taking the long-term decisions to ensure secure, clean, affordable supplies now and in the decades ahead. That’s the key role for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and we’ve never said otherwise, despite the very strange claims in your article. The reason we are backing the construction of Hinkley Point C is that new nuclear is the only proven low-carbon technology that can provide continuous power, irrespective of whether the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and need to replace our ageing power stations. Hinkley will power close to 6m homes for 60 years. But we’re only paying for 35. It will also bring billions of pounds of investment into the UK and create 25,000 jobs during construction. We need electricity that’s safe, clean and reliable at any time of the day or night. New nuclear is one of the best ways of providing this. That’s why we back Hinkley, and I have never said it’s for any other reason.
Guardian 20th April 2016 read more »
Letter Frank Wouters: Amory Lovins is absolutely right. It is time to recognise that inflexible baseload power is something that our future energy system doesn’t need. Fossil fuel baseload is a dinosaur and a fallacy. The future of energy is complex and smart. We can integrate generation, interconnection, demand-side management and storage (both large and small) to match demand cost-effectively. We are quickly moving away from a centralised electricity system, with a few large power plants, to a more decentralised and democratic system involving small-scale generators and thousands of individuals. Consider that German citizens built a staggering 3,000MW of solar PV – the equivalent of six coal-fired power plants – in just four weeks in 2011, mostly on the roofs of their houses. The cost of solar PV is now lower than grid electricity, steadily pushing the traditional utilities out of the market. No wonder solar and wind power is the fastest-growing provider of new generation capacity in the world. Once installed, it is used first when despatching power because it has already been paid for. With increasing decentralisation comes demand for decentralised electricity storage. Thanks to the falling cost of lithium-ion battery packs (expected to be less than $200/kWh in a couple of years) we are at a tipping point. Batteries can be stationary as standalone storage systems or mobile in electric vehicles and will soon be competitive against the internal combustion engine. GM recently announced a supply contract with LG Chem for delivery of lithium – ion cells at a cost of $145/kWh which translates to $210/kWh for battery packs. And in stationary applications, the cost for a battery would be even lower, enabling networks of energy storage substations and home batteries to store renewable power. When we do it right, our new energy system can be cleaner, smarter, more efficient and much more reliable, without increasing cost. However, instead of holding on to old paradigms, we need to open our eyes and embrace new technologies. While the utility companies have been slow to adapt – as their plummeting share prices attest – these dinosaurs might not all become extinct because they still hold a key asset: customers. They could provide solar PV and home energy storage to their customers, sharing the savings and providing a professional full-service offering. However, not all utilities will survive in the new sustainable energy world.
FT 20th April 2016 read more »
The proposed £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset could be abandoned without risking power cuts, contrary to the government’s previous claims, the energy secretary has admitted. There would be no significant cost to consumers and no taxpayer liability if the project were cancelled, Amber Rudd said in a letter to MPs. The letter suggests that the real reason the government is pressing ahead with Hinkley is to meet the UK’s climate change targets. An expert said Ms Rudd “had let the cat out of the bag”. Peter Atherton, energy analyst at the investment bank Jefferies, said: “Amber Rudd’s letter lets the cat out of the bag [revealing] that the reason we are pressing on so aggressively with Hinkley is our climate change targets. It has nothing to do with security of supply [or] affordability.” He said the UK’s carbon reduction target could still be met without Hinkley but ministers would have to accept a five-year delay in achieving it.
Times 20th April 2016 read more »
Hinkley: a “total waste on money” and government should “move to more sensible solutions”. A summary of six weeks of bad headlines for proposed nuclear plant. It has been a very bad six weeks for the crisis-ridden Hinkley Point C. The Times newspaper reports that the proposed nuclear station has been dealt a fresh double blow as the French minister responsible Emmanuel Macron admits that it is a risky project and fresh problems have emerged at Flamanville – the reactor being built in Normandy which is the same design as Hinkley Point C.
Bridgwater Mercury 20th April 2016 read more »