French state-controlled utility EDF will delay the final investment decision on its project to build two nuclear plants in Britain until September, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said in a newspaper interview. Macron, who had told parliament last month the decision on the 18 billion pound (22.60 billion euro) Hinkley Point project in Britain would be taken in early May, told the Journal du Dimanche three conditions were necessary for it to be given the go-ahead. The strengthening of EDF’s financial situation, which would be assured by a 4 billion euro ($4.5 billion) capital increase announced on Friday, a consultation of trade unions, and unspecified measures to ensure the operational execution of the plants’ construction.
Reuters 23rd April 2016 read more »
AFP 24th April 2016 read more »
France has thrown its support behind EDF, the French electricity company, and its plan to build the £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, Somerset, by supplying a €3 billion lifeline. President Hollande’s administration has agreed to put in the money towards a proposed €4 billion (£3 billion) cash-raising the company is proposing by issuing new shares. EDF said last night that the confirmation of the fundraising made it possible for the company to proceed with investments including Hinkley Point C by putting it on a “solid financial footing”.
Times 23rd April 2016 read more »
Another day, another reason why that nuclear Dumbo, Hinkley Point C, might thankfully never fly. The key promoter of the project, France’s EDF, was yesterday again in talks with the French government over getting the £18 billion project off the ground — such a no-brainer, too, that it’s already sparked director resignations and warnings from EDF’s own engineers not to push the Hinkley Point button.Well, now, thanks to Greenpeace and renewable energy supplier Ecotricity, we have another barrier to the insane project: state aid issues. The pair have commissioned a legal opinion from three barristers from London’s Monckton Chambers, who persuasively argue that just about any financial support from President Hollande will fall foul of EU rules. And it’s tough to see how EDF will do it otherwise, given its debts of almost €35 billion dwarf its €23.5 billion market value. The barristers reckon any of four ways of backing the company would count as state aid: taking dividends as equity, a direct recapitalisation, getting a state-owned bank to provide backing or propping up EDF’s French operations. Try any of them and, not only do Greenpeace and Ecotricity have grounds for a legal challenge, but EDF might have to “repay billions of euros to the French government . . . and withdraw from the Hinkley project”.
Times 23rd April 2016 read more »
A report in the Independent says that the EDF Board of Directors has agreed to undertake discussions with the company consultative council before taking a decision, a process which is likely to take a long time ie until next year. However this could well be a cover for the numerous problems facing the project, not least EDF’s own parlous financial position and the fact that it needs the French Government to bail it out even without going ahead with the Hinkley C project.There has been a game of ‘pass the decision’ to abandon a project that no independent financial consultant would come within a light year of recommending for the go-ahead. The French Government has been faced with what seems to many to be the ludicrous prospect of heavily subsidising a power station to supply the British with electricity. This is despite the fact that the British themselves have promised to pay EDF around £100 per MWh in current prices for 35 years with the British Treasury agreeing to guarantee a £17 billion loan for the project! It is not as if even such a project could be a ‘loss leader’ for the French. Two versions of the same (EPR) plant design have been spectacular construction disasters already in Finland and France. Various engineers and managers, company unions and employee shareholders have pleaded for the project to be abandoned or put in deep freeze, and last month the Chief Financial Officer of EDF resigned in protest at the apparent determination of the EDF leadership to proceed with the project.
Dave Toke’s Blog 22nd April 2016 read more »
At a meeting at President Francois Hollande’s palace on Wednesday, the government did not agree on whether to give extra financial support for EDF, which is weighed down by 37 billion euros (£28.8 billion) of net debt and struggles with record-low power prices. French media have reported that Macron is not in favor of recapitalizing EDF now, because investments for Hinkley Point and a 50 billion euro upgrade of France’s nuclear reactors are several years away.
Business Insider 22nd April 2016 read more »