SHAREHOLDERS at French energy giant EDF Energy have approved plans to release new shares to raise €4bn (US$4.4bn) for the Hinkley Point C project, according to reports.
The decision comes ahead of a scheduled board meeting on 28 July where the final investment decision is expected to be made. This decision was initially estimated to be taken in September, but was subject to the right market conditions.
The French government – which owns 85% of EDF – is expected to buy €3bn of the new shares, according to French media.
The project is estimated to cost EDF £18bn (US$23.6bn). Earlier this month a report from the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the UK estimated that the cost estimates could rise up to £36.9bn over the lifetime of the project due to new long-term forecasts of rising electricity prices. Wholesale energy prices have fallen since the price was agreed, leaving the UK government to make up the difference if electricity price inflation occurs.
Six of EDF’s 18 board seats are represented by French unions, which have criticised the project. The FT reported five of the unions are still opposed to the decision.
Jean-Bernard Levy told reporters at the company’s shareholder meeting in Paris that the money would not be spent entirely on Hinkley C, but would also be used to upgrade ageing French reactors and install smart power meters.
EDF told The Chemical Engineer it could not confirm the decision at this stage.
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