Labour has called on the government to come up with a “Plan B” in case Hinkley Point is never built, ahead of talks between David Cameron and Francois Hollande to discuss the proposed nuclear power station. Mr Cameron disclosed during prime minister’s questions that he would raise the delays to Hinkley Point as part of a wider meeting with the French president on Thursday. Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow energy secretary, will warn in a speech on Friday that the delays to Hinkley Point are part of a wider energy crunch on the horizon. All but one of Britain nuclear power stations are scheduled to close by 2030 and the government has promised that all coal-fired facilities will close by 2025. Ms Nandy will argue that Hinkley Point C is on track to be the most expensive power station ever built, costing more than the 2012 Olympics, Crossrail and Heathrow’s Terminal 5 combined. She will call on the government to find cheaper ways to get more nuclear stations built in future. “That project has been hit by one delay after another, and there still has not been a final investment decision,” she will say. “Given the power crunch we face, it is increasingly clear ministers need a plan B in case it is never built.” Francis Raillott of CFE-CGC said the investment should not be made until problems surrounding a project in Flamanville, France have been solved. “Right now, Hinkley is too risky for the company,” he said. “We think it is better to wait and see. Wait for three years so we can see that everything works or not.”
FT 2nd March 2016 read more »
Electricite de France SA, the world’s largest operator of nuclear power plants, is stuck in a multibillion-dollar quandary that will shape its future. Going ahead with new EPR atomic plants in the U.K. would strain the limits of its balance sheet as slumping electricity prices across Europe reduce cash flow. Dropping the Hinkley Point venture in southwest England would further damage the image of a new French-designed reactor, already tarnished by delays and cost overruns at projects elsewhere. “This is a dilemma between a large risk on the one hand and the future credibility of the group on the other hand,” Xavier Caroen, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. in Paris, said in an interview. “If EDF were to cancel it, that would jeopardize its business case for expansion in nuclear power.” “The backdrop has changed a lot in the past three months in Europe, with a quite strong drop in power prices,” said Pierre Georges, a credit analyst at S&P. “Their financial situation is more stressed than a few years ago.” Going ahead could add 1 billion to 1.5 billion euros in annual costs without contributing to earnings, he said. EDF shares, 85 percent of which are owned by the French state, have lost as much as 89 percent of their value since peaking in 2007 and hit a record low on Feb. 25. French year-ahead wholesale electricity prices dropped 60 percent over the same period.
Bloomberg 3rd March 2016 read more »
French state-controlled utility EdF’s plans to proceed with the UK’s 3.2GW Hinkley Point C nuclear plant are unlikely to be hindered by last year’s poor financial performance. The company’s profit fell by 68pc last year, because of a sharp drop in European wholesale electricity prices and lower demand for nuclear generation in France. But although this makes investment for EdF “more fragile”, it is unlikely to influence plans for Hinkley Point C, French economy minister Emmanuel Macron said. “Hinkley Point C is a good investment because it is profitable and would not massively deteriorate EdF’s financial situation,” Macron said.
Argus Media 2nd Marcvh 2016 read more »