Plans to build an £18 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset were denounced by a second French minister yesterday. Jean-Vincent Placé, minister for reforming the state, called the proposal a strategic dead end. Although a junior minister who belongs to the anti-nuclear Ecology party, Mr Placé’s comments reflect a deepening rift in President Hollande’s cabinet over the scheme, which critics fear could bankrupt EDF, the energy company that is 86 per cent owned by the French state. EDF is scheduled to take a final decision on whether to build two reactors at Hinkley on May 12. “EDF absolutely must rethink its strategic vision,” Mr Placé said, denouncing the plans as financially unstable and precarious. “It’s not just me who says that,” he added, pointing to opposition to the pro ject from EDF’s pro-nuclear unions and Thomas Piquemal, the company’s finance director, who resigned in protest last month. Mr Placé said that rather than investing in Hinkley, EDF should develop renewable energy. Segolene Royal, energy minister and ex-partner of President Hollande, called two weeks ago for a decision on Hinkley to be delayed.State-appointed directors are likely to swing the vote. EDF’s board is due to meet today and while Hinkley is not on the agenda the meeting will set the scene for a further meeting within days.
Times 22nd April 2016 read more »
Politics Home 22nd April 2016 read more »
EDF needs to change its strategy and invest in renewable energy rather than putting money into something as complicated as the Hinkley Point nuclear project, French Minister of State for State Reform Jean-Vincent Place – former head of the Greens.
Reuters 21st April 2016 read more »
Editorial: Hinkley Point is too expensive for the taxpayer and for its potential investors. Bad political decisions sometimes gain their own momentum regardless of the demerits of the case. The government should acknowledge that the decision to build Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset is an error before further expense and political stasis makes it unstoppable. The French state auditor has questioned the funding of the project. So have a group of managers at EDF, who have written to the company board warning that its members may face legal action if the deal damages the group’s value. EDF is under financial pressure already, with substantial debts. Its record of construction of new plants is hardly encouraging. It is building two power stations of the same type as Hinkley Point and both are years behind schedule. The British government has agreed to pay it as much as £92.50 per megawatt hour for 35 years once Hinkley Point is in operation. That is around three times the current wholesale price of electricity. There is no case on grounds of scarcity for such a generous deal. Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, has perhaps unguardedly acknowledged that Hinkley Point could be abandoned without risking power cuts. It is time to do so now before the sunk costs of a grandiose scheme expand further.
Times 22nd April 2016 read more »
Any French government financial support to EDF to enable the company to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK would almost certainly be blocked by the European Commission, according to a legal opinion commissioned by Greenpeace. The French government is this week discussing financial support for EDF, after Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive, said the company needed fresh state help before it would give the long-awaited final go-ahead to the contentious Hinkley project. Any French state attempt to justify financial support for EDF would almost certainly be rejected by Brussels, says the legal opinion by three barristers at London’s Monckton chambers, which was commissioned by Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group opposed to nuclear power, and Ecotricity, the green energy supplier. Ecotricity is likely to launch a legal challenge against any French government support for EDF. The barristers’ opinion says all possible routes for the government to support EDF would constitute state aid in the EU and therefore require review by Brussels. “The provision of further state support for the Hinkley project by the French government would in the circumstances described be likely to constitute state aid. It would be difficult to justify such further measures as being compatible with the [EU] internal market,” says the opinion.
FT 22nd April 2016 read more »
The French government’s plan to provide financial support to energy giant EDF could be in violation of EU law, according to three top barristers.
Energy Desk 22nd April 2016 read more »
English EPR: Greenpeace and a competitor of EDF denounce state aid
Les Echos 22nd April 2016 read more »
Electricite de France SA’s unions are threatening to take the company to court if employees are not consulted in advance on a decision concerning a proposed 18 billion-pound ($25.8 billion) U.K. atomic plant project. EDF’s workers committee, which includes representatives from the biggest unions, met near Paris and voted to take legal action should the company fail to consult employees on Hinkley Point, according to a statement Thursday. The project is key to EDF earnings and has prompted disagreements between management and unions, it said.
Bloomberg 21st April 2016 read more »