The decision on whether to go ahead with the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power project has been delayed again, after France’s economy minister said the country’s energy giant EDF may not give it the green light until September. Emmanuel Macron’s comments come a week after he said EDF would deliver its verdict on Hinkley Point, which is set to meet 7% of the UK’s energy needs, in “the coming week or month”. EDF said just days ago that it was expecting to make a final decision in the summer, having previously promised to do so by the time of its annual general meeting on 12 May. The fresh delay raises the prospect that even if the project does go ahead, it will not meet its scheduled completion date of 2025, already eight years later than originally planned. The fresh delay is likely to fuel criticism of the project from organisations such as Greenpeace, which last week said the project was an “utter mess”.
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MPs on the commons energy and climate change select committee have already vowed to recall EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz to explain any delay to a decision beyond mid-May, the timescale he indicated when giving evidence last month. Angus MacNeil MP, the committee chairman, said: “All we see from EDF is them kicking the can down the road. According to some of the experts, by the 2030s between storage and renewables there will be no need for nuclear anyway, so if EDF kick the can far enough down the road they’ll have maybe served a purpose.” He said he personally doubted whether Hinkley would ever get built. “It’s always two-to-six months away. It’s jam tomorrow with EDF.”
Telegraph 24th April 2016 read more »
Emmanuel Macron said the £18bn project would still go ahead, but the decision “could be confirmed next September”. Union and shareholder groups hostile to Hinkley said over the weekend they were going to use the latest delay on the EDF final investment decision to push for further concessions – either pushing back the board sign-off by several years or securing an overhaul of the project. Jean-Claude Mailly, general secretary of the FO union, which has a seat on the EDF board, said he would be pressing for a delay of “at least three years” because despite the French government’s support the problems with Hinkley “were not settled”. Norbert Tangy, general secretary of EDF Actionnariat Salarie, the body representing employee shareholders, said Hinkley was “losing support” within the company, and as a result “it is likely the programme will not go forward this year”. Mr Tangy added he would be meeting lawmakers and government officials next week. The shareholder body wants to hold off on any decisions until a French nuclear power plant at Flamanville, which uses the same technology as that proposed for Hinkley, is up and running. It is due to be online in 2018.
FT 24th April 2016 read more »
In a bid to quell rumours that French energy giant EDF would stall indefinitely a project to build two nuclear reactors in the UK, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that the green light would be given in September. In an interview with Sunday paper Le Journal du Dimanche, Macron said French President François Hollande had “confirmed France’s engagement” in the project and that the “final decision will be given in September”. Asked if the decision would be delayed beyond the summer – the deal was signed by David Cameron in October, 2015 and a final green light was expected on May 12 – Macron insisted it was in everyone’s interest to get the much-delayed project rolling as soon as possible. On Friday, the French government announced that it would inject three billion euros into the energy provider, as part of a four-billion-euro capital increase. France’s powerful unions, which have representatives on EDF’s board, are not convinced that the capital injection is enough to quell fears over the Hinkley project. Jean-Claude Mailly, head of the Force Ouvrière union, told France 3 TV on Sunday that EDF’s position was still too weak and that Macron was rushing the company into commitments it could not honour. “For financial as well as technical reasons, we need three years and not three months,” he said. “Emmanuel Macron is trying to rush this through much too quickly, and the consequences could be disastrous.” EDF’s leadership has been more upbeat. In a statement released Friday, the company insisted: “Confirmation of the significant recapitalisation of EDF agreed by the board makes it possible for EDF to proceed with its strategic investment programme – including Hinkley Point C.” Not everyone in the French government is convinced that the Hinkley Point project is a viable proposition for state-owned EDF. Jean-Vincent Placé, a Green Party lawmaker who is junior minister for state reform, told Europe1 radio the project was “strategic dead-end” for EDF.
France24 24th April 2016 read more »
Independent renewable energy supplier Ecotricity and Greenpeace have written to the UK and French governments and EDF Energy to warn that any further state aid for Hinkley Point nuclear power station could be illegal. The letter makes clear that both Ecotricity and Greenpeace would be prepared to challenge further state funding in the courts. The Hinkley Point project has been rumbling on for a number of years, despite the support of the UK, French and Chinese governments. The UK government has given EDF the maximum amount of subsidy allowed under state aid rules, offering the company a 35 year subsidy at twice the market price and an export guarantee for Hinkley.
Scottish Energy News 25th April 2016 read more »