The UK government’s energy strategy is experiencing what the man who made Manchester United the dominant force in European football – kids, ask your parents – once called “squeaky bum time”. Injury time has been extended again and again, but the point at which the whistle blows and EDF will be finally forced to make a decision on whether to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear project is looming. The future of the shaky edifice that is the UK’s current decarbonisation could yet rest on the result. Officially, the position remains the same as it has been ever since it was confirmed in October that China General Nuclear Power Corporation would take a stake in the project and stump up a third of the costs. EDF has said it will make a final investment decision once it has secured “finalisation of long form documentation based on Head of Terms agreed today; finalisation by EDF of its financing plan; approval by the boards of EDF and CGN; [and] clearance by merger control and other governmental authorities in China and Europe”. All the recent speculation the project is in trouble is just that, speculation – or so the official line goes. In reality, the conflicting signals surrounding the project confirm it is anything but a happy ship. EDF may have told contractors on the project to get to work, fuelling hopes a positive decision will come this month. But the public opposition from EDF unions, the departure of Hinkley Point’s project director, and the reports of further delays to a decision that has now been delayed more often than a train out of London Bridge, paint a very different picture. As the Guardian’s Nils Pratley observed last week, the likelihood remains the deal will go ahead. The government’s energy strategy is hugely dependent on the project going ahead and the loss of face that would result from scrapping it at this late stage would be so all-encompassing that Ministers and executives will strain every sinew to get a positive result. Do not be surprised if the Treasury greases the wheels of the deal still further to secure something it can call a victory. With CCS and onshore wind out the picture, the energy storage market still embryonic, and the government showing zero appetite for a comprehensive energy efficiency programme, the UK’s medium term decarbonisation strategy appears to rest on ministers’ willingness to make an already generous nuclear deal even more attractive to a company that is having a visible wobble about its appetite for the project. And all without any semblance of the Plan B that would both strengthen its negotiating hand and ultimately reduce the cost of meeting the UK’s carbon targets and energy security goals.
Business Green 4th Feb 2016 read more »
THE main man leading the £18 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project has quit, a week after EDF delayed the final decision on whether or not to build it
Cheddar Valley Gazette 4th Feb 2016 read more »
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has called on the British Government to abandon its plans to construct Hinkley Point Nuclear Plant sooner rather than later. Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “I have learned that there is a condition attached to the Treasury Loan Guarantee which stipulates that Britain could withdraw financial support for the controversial £18bn nuclear power station at Hinkley if the plant being built by France’s EDF is not running by 2020. “There have been rising concerns surrounding the EDF’s ability to fund this project, and hearing the news of continuous problems at the French site will only lengthen the time taken to complete the project,” she insisted.
Newry Times 4th Feb 2016 read more »