The French electricity giant EDF has thrown the British government’s energy strategy into disarray by reportedly delaying – possibly until next year – a decision on whether it will build a new £18bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Jean-Bernard Lévy, the head of EDF, has bowed to pressure from unions and senior company engineers and agreed to seek a fresh opinion from the company’s union-management consultative council, the respected French newspaper Le Figaro reported. EDF said it could not immediately confirm the report. Sources in the company told the French newspaper that the consultation process would take several months and that no decision on whether to go ahead with its involvement in Hinkley Point – expected to supply eight per cent of British electricity by 2025 – would be made before next year. Environmental campaign group Greenpeace claimed the delay could be “a sign that the entire project is coming to a grinding halt”, adding that the UK should back renewable energy “as a more reliable alternative” to nuclear power. John Sauven, director of Greenpeace, which has campaigned against the reactor, told The Independent: “Delays to EDF making a decision about whether to invest in Hinkley are nothing new. So much so that it’s been 14 months since it was first said that the decision would be coming imminently. But this latest delay from EDF is different. “President Hollande, the French Economy Minister and EDF’s chief executive have all very publicly promised the UK government a final decision before the 12 May. Backtracking on this pledge now is symbolic of the utter mess that EDF is in. But even if they could agree a finance package, it could be declared illegal state aid by the European Commission. This may now be the sign that the entire project is coming to a grinding halt and the UK government urgently needs to back renewable energy as a more reliable alternative.”
Independent 22nd April 2016 read more »
The Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, at the heart of government energy plans, has been hit by fresh delays in another blow to confidence surrounding an already troubled project. EDF, the French energy company promoting the £18bn reactor scheme, admitted there would be no final investment decision at least till the summer, leading the environmental group Greenpeace to claim the project is “coming to a grinding halt”. The company said in a statement after a board meeting: “The board has decided to undertake a formal, non-binding consultation process with the comité central d’enterprise. This is [a] well understood statutory process of 60 days and the company will work with the CCE to define the detailed steps to reach a conclusion this summer.”
Guardian 22nd April 2016 read more »
EDF has pushed back the final investment decision on the Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK until after it has consulted its hostile unions, a move that could cause a delay of several months.
FT 22nd April 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 22nd April 2016 read more »
Nuclear power stations are hugely capital intensive projects. Though their running costs are low, their overall costs are very much higher, as they include repayment of the construction cost and amortisation of unknown waste disposal costs. Utilities require guarantees of costs and subsidies if they are to build new plants. Even if this project went ahead on the best possible assumptions about the schedule for completion, those costs are likely to be too heavy for almost every party.
Times 22nd April 2016 read more »
French utility EDF has delayed the final investment decision for its Hinkley Point nuclear project in Britain until after its May 12 shareholders’ meeting to allow time to consult its works council, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. The sources said EDF Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy told a board meeting on Friday afternoon that he had decided to consult the firm’s works council, which had threatened legal action unless it was allowed to give its view on the project. “This procedure will take several weeks,” one of the sources said.
Reuters 22nd April 2016 read more »
French power utility EDF on Thursday named Xavier Griffe as its new finance director, replacing Thomas Piquemal, who quit in March over concerns the Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK would overstretch the company’s balance sheet. Griffe, 47 and already an executive at the company, has been doing the job on a temporary basis since Piquemal’s departure. In a separate development with regard to the Hinkley Point plan which has divided opinion within the company, EDF’s works council said in a statement it wanted to be consulted on the subject and threatened to take legal action if it was not.
Reuters 21st April 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point C is an expensive gamble-especially for the customers.
Prospect 23rd April 2016 read more »
Greenpeace has written to George Osborne warning him not to allow the Hinkley Point C nuclear project to proceed until the European commission approves further planned support from the French state. The letter, which is signed jointly with the energy supplier Ecotricity, follows legal advice that plans for state help from France’sgovernment to enable EDF to continue with the reactor scheme could break European competition rules. The legal opinion was given to Greenpeace by three competition barristers from Monckton Chambers in London and came as EDF held a board meeting on Friday in Paris to discuss once again the controversial £18bn project in Somerset.
Guardian 22nd April 2016 read more »
GREEN energy campaigners revealed plans yesterday for legal action against government subsidies for construction of the third Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Protracted negotiations over the financing of the Somerset power station, which will be built by China and run by French state-owned energy producer EDF, have failed to result in a final plan for the station. Now green energy campaigners say that any government financing of the project will need the approval of the European Commission or face legal action. Environment campaign group Greenpeace and green energy company Ecotricity raised the prospect of lodging a complaint at the commission which they said would trigger an investigation. “The only way Hinkley can be kept alive is on the life support machine of state aid,” said Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven. “EDF, if it is to stay in business, needs a new vision which is not looking backwards.
Morning Star 23rd April 2016 read more »
Reuters 22nd April 2016 read more »
Plymouth Herald 22nd April 2016 read more »
Western Daily Press 22nd April 2016 read more »
ITV 22nd April 2016 read more »
Concerns over the delivery of Hinkley Point C’s new nuclear plant have seen Experian cut its construction forecasts for the next three years. The forecaster now expects construction output to grow by 7.8 per cent between 2016 and 2018, down from 9.3 per cent in its previous forecasts, released in January. Previous forecasts had factored in works at Hinkley beginning in 2017, but delays have pushed the majority of this work outside Experian’s forecast period.
Construction News 22nd April 2016 read more »