EDF postpones Hinkley decision to September

Article by Staff Writer

FRENCH STATE owned energy company EDF Energy announced it will postpone its final investment decision on the UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant project until September.

In an interview with French media, Emmanuel Macron, French economy minister, said the £18bn (US$26bn) project would still go ahead, however the original decision was to be taken in January, with EDF’s board later stating the project would be signed off in May.

Macron said the extra four months are required as the EDF board will only take a decision on the project after the company raises €4bn (US$4.5bn) of capital, €3bn of which will come from the French government.

In a statement, the EDF board said the decision is still “subject to market conditions”.

Union and shareholder groups hostile to the Hinkley project said over the weekend they will use the latest delay on the final investment decision to push for further concessions, by delaying the project further or by pushing for a complete overhaul of the project.

EDF has said the project is due to start producing electricity in 2025; however, this has not accounted for the delays for the investment decision.

The Hinkley Point C plant could produce 7% of UK electricity and create 25,000 jobs, according to the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). In March, the DECC said the Hinkley project is the number two priority for “securing investment in [low-carbon] energy”.

EDF has already extended the lifespan of four of its eight UK nuclear reactors, the longest of which will extend electricity production until 2030. The UK government is looking to invest in new nuclear projects to fill the potential gap after 2030.

Andrea Leadsom, minister of state at the DECC, said in a speech at the 8th Nuclear New Build Forum, hosted on 20 April in London:

“Existing nuclear plants currently meet around 16% of our electricity needs. Without nuclear new build, the share of generation from nuclear could dip to 3% in 2030. This would reduce the diversity of our energy supplies and would almost certainly make achieving our goals to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions far more challenging and more expensive.”

Article by Staff Writer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.