Nuclear power’s broken promises means the EDF deal is a delusional dream. The cost of nuclear energy has tripled in just five years, while the cost of renewable energy is falling fast, making the UK government’s deal a truly terrible one.
Guardian 21st Oct 2013 read more »
New nuclear energy plant for French-owned EDF will double Britons’ electricity bills. A backlash was growing yesterday over an agreement with French-owned energy giant EDF to build a nuclear power plant which could put British electricity bills up for 35 years. Mark Todd, director of independent price comparison service energy¬helpline, said: “What it does show is that the Government believes electricity costs are set for dramatic increases over the next 10 years. This would take a typical electricity bill from £559, as it is today, to £1,108 a year.”
Express 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
EXPERTS have warned that consumers could be faced with an annual bill of £1bn to subsidise Hinkley nuclear plant if wholesale electricity prices fall below the price the government has guaranteed EDF. The UK government and the French energy firm yesterday unveiled the terms of a long-awaited deal to build Hinkley Point C in Somerset, the UK’s first new nuclear project in decades. Energy secretary Ed Davey told a news conference yesterday that the agreement “represents a very good deal for Britain” and could reduce bills by up to £77 per year – but admitted that he cannot guarantee a better deal for consumers due to “inherent uncertainties” in the energy market. Former government energy adviser Tom Burke told City A.M. the deal could pile on more than £1bn in indirect subsidies rather than lowering bills. International wholesale prices being significantly lower than the strike price would mean Britons effectively subsidising EDF.
City AM 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
Consumers will be protected from possible hikes in operational costs for the first time as part of a new deal to build Britain’s first nuclear power station in a generation, the UK government’s energy secretary announced yesterday. Ed Davey said he had ensured a value for money deal in which consumers would “gain share” but never “pain share” in the event of operational costs changing from current forecasts. The agreement with French-owned EDF Energy will see Hinkley Point C begin operating in 2023. But ministers are likely to face criticism over the price that will be paid for electricity produced at the Somerset site.
Scotsman 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
The deal under which Britain will start building its first new nuclear power station for almost two decades is a devastating indictment of the muddled approach to energy policy under successive governments. As other Western democracies, including France, Germany and the United States, are retreating from nuclear investment in the aftermath of the still unresolved 2011 Fukushima crisis in Japan, the UK heads in the opposite direction. It is doing so bizarrely with the help of two state-owned French companies, EDF and nuclear designer Areva, investors from the People’s Republic of China and anyone else who cares to come along for the ride.
Daily Mail 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
A minister who claimed Britain’s first nuclear power station for 20 years would save consumers money had to perform a U-turn yesterday. Ed Davey had suggested the new generators – paid for by levies on household bills for 35 years – would help consumers in the long run. But within hours he conceded it would be ‘absurd’ to guarantee any savings from the deal he struck with French energy giant EDF and Chinese investors to bankroll the £16billion plant in Somerset.
Daily Mail 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
Ed Davey, energy secretary, was immediately forced on to the defensive over his claim that the project, together with a fleet of other new reactors planned over the next two decades, could reduce average household energy bills by £77 a year.
FT 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Nuclear might not look all that cheap today, but it is part of the solution and comes with the substantial spin-off benefits of producing lots of high quality jobs in the construction phase. The economy could certainly do with the power that they’ll provide.
Independent 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
The Government predicted that the new Hinkley Point C station, coupled with the prospect of other new nuclear sites, could reduce bills by an average of £77 a year. The ag reement with French-owned EDF Energy, which will see the Somerset station begin operating in 2023, was welcomed by mi nisters, business leaders and unions, although environmental campaigners warned that energy policy will be distorted by displacing newer, cleaner, technologies that are dropping “dramatically” in price.
Evening Standard 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
Energy academics said on Monday that the deal was a gamble, but estimated the cost would be at least £80bn over the life of the two new reactors to be built in Somerset, or roughly £3.5m a day for each reactor at current rates. The cost will depend on how energy prices move over the next 30 years. Antony Froggatt, from the Chatham House thinktank, said EDF’s costs projection had already increased markedly. “In 2006, its submission to the government’s energy review stated [the type of reactor to be used, a European pressurised water reactor] would cost £28.80 per megawatt-hour in 2013 values,” he said. “This more than threefold increase [to £92.50], over eight years, puts the cost of nuclear electricity at about double the current market rate – higher than that produced by both gas and coal-fired power stations, and more costly than many renewable energy options.”
Guardian 21st Oct 2013 read more »
As ministers agree a landmark deal with EDF to subsidise the £16bn construction of Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, Emily Gosden sets out the terms of the project and the challenges that remain. The various subsidy measures for Hinkley will then need to secure state aid approval from the European Commission. Mr Davey said ministers had been engaged with EU officials on the subject for some time. He could not “prejudge” the outcome but said: “I am confident we can manage to argue our case, because we have had that case in our mind all along” while designing the subsidy. EDF will not take a final investment decision without clearance; it hopes to do so by July, but there is no guarantee approval will be granted by then.
Telegraph 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Telegraph 21st Oct 2013 read more »
It’s hard not to have misgivings over the costs and strategic logic of this deal, whatever David Cameron’s Ready Brek glow. On Monday the PM banged on about “our determination to embrace new technologies and back new… energy sources”, conveniently forgetting there is zip new about nuclear. It only seems new because we are building our first station in a generation – since Sizewell B in 1995. The corollary is that we’ve also lost a generation that knew how to do it. So, we are now going cap in hand to France and China. The biggest concern, though, is that the Government looks like going nap on nuclear when it has no idea whether technical innovation or the plunging costs, say, of solar power, will make the technology redundant. Building the 3,260MW Hinkley is justifiable on energy security grounds but the Government is planning 16,000MW of nuclear plants. That is quite a punt on future energy technology and prices. If that’s what it really wants, Hinkley is a lousy template, too. Rather than mess around with strike prices and guarantees, it would have been far better for the Government to finance the stations itself, using QE or the £1 trillion in pension funds, say, and regulate the returns an operator made on a five or 10 year basis. That way there would be no guessing out to 2060.
Telegraph 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Green energy trade bodies who insist that hard-pressed UK bill-payers would be considerably better off if the UK focused more on renewables as the primary means of decarbonising the power sector. To date, many within the renewables industry have been reluctant to pick a fight publicly with the nuclear sector, amid hopes that the government’s decarbonisation agenda will drive the expansion of all forms of clean energy. But the level of support being offered to an established technology through the deal announced yesterday has prompted some to argue that renewables offers a more cost-effective alternative to a new fleet of nuclear reactors.
Business Green 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
E3G’s Tom Burke argues the government’s much-trumpeted nuclear announcement is a long way from being a done deal. The likelihood that any further nuclear power stations will be built after Hinkley C is vanishingly small. The investment community is already writing the obituary of utility business models based on large centralised generators of any kind. The cost of capital is much more likely to go up than the wholesale price of electricity. Mrs Thatcher proposed 10GW of nuclear and got 1GW. The coalition is proposing 16GW and may get 3.2GW which would be double the percentage she managed. A victory of sorts I suppose
Business Green 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
Monbiot: Seven years ago, I collected all the available cost estimates for nuclear power. The US Nuclear Energy Institute suggested a penny a kilowatt hour. The Royal Academy of Engineering confidently predicted 2.3p. The British government announced that in 2020 the price would be between 3 and 4p. The New Economics Foundation guessed that it could be anywhere between 3.4 and 8.3p; 8.3 pence was so far beyond what anyone else forecast that I treated it as scarcely credible. It falls a penny short of the price now agreed by the British government.
Guardian 21st Oct 2013 read more »
The long-running negotiations to build the first new nuclear power plant in the UK in a generation have reached a successful conclusion, after the government and EDF announced that the French energy giant would proceed with plans for a new power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. “Hinkley C fails every test – economic, consumer and environmental,” said Greenpeace executive director John Sauven. “It will lock a generation of consumers into higher energy bills, via a strike price that’s understood to be nearly double the current price of electricity, and it will distort energy policy by displacing newer, cleaner, technologies that are dropping dramatically in price. With companies like DONG Energy now saying the price of offshore wind will drop so much it will be on par with nuclear by the 2020s, there is no rationale for allowing Hinkley C to proceed.” Significantly, the project still faces several potential obstacles, including the need for the government to pass its long-awaited Energy Bill and secure state aid approval from the EU. Green groups have also consistently raised the prospect of a legal challenge to the controversial project, with reports over the weekend detailing how Ireland’s equivalent of the National Trust, An Taisce, will seek a judicial review against the government over its alleged failure to consult adequately on a project that could have a major impact on Ireland and the Irish Sea in the event of an accident. Green MP Caroline Lucas also today called on the National Audit Office to investigate the agreement between the government and EDF. “This is a terrible deal for billpayers,” she said in a statement. “At a time when the costs of renewable energy are rapidly falling, it’s reckless for the Government to subsidise the nuclear industry in this way. Instead of locking Britain into this costly and risky technology, the Government should be investing seriously in energy efficiency and renewables, the costs of which are rapidly decreasing.”
Business Green 21stOct 2013 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: There are many interesting points about the much trailed nuclear announcement today but the ones I find particularly interesting is that regarding the 10% return on investment and the various issues which still have to be agreed, including the EU decision on State Aid. The latter is unlikely to be agreed in the next 2-3 years so today’s announcement is a political mirage. In brief, and in non-legal language, countries should not favour certain parties and distort competition. Under Article 107 (3) TFEU, the European Commission may declare certain categories State Aid compatible with the internal market and thus approve them. To that end, the EC publishes Guidelines which set out which measures are less problematic. The Guidelines are guidelines and not legally binding. The current Guidelines will expire on 31 December 2013 and work has started on a successor. There needs to be 8 weeks of public consultation before the new guidelines come into force, and these are expected in the first quarter of 2014.
IGov 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Britain signed a deal with France’s EDF to build a 16-billion pound ($26-billion) nuclear plant, becoming the first European country to provide state guarantees to help fund a nuclear project.The Hinkley Point C project in southwest England, the first new European nuclear plant since the Fukushima crisis, is expected to start producing power from 2023 and will receive a guaranteed electricity “strike” price of 92.50 pounds ($150) per megawatt-hour for 35 years, more than twice the current market rate, EDF and the British government said on Monday.The deal demonstrates that nuclear power plant developers require government backing for new projects in Europe, where costs for new atomic energy have surged after regulators imposed stricter safety rules following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.An EDF-led consortium will build two Areva-designed 1,650 megawatt European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPRs) that will produce about seven percent of British electricity, EDF said.EDF’s long-time Chinese partners, China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), will take a combined stake of 30 to 40 percent in the consortium, while French state-owned nuclear group Areva will take 10 percent.Discussions are also taking place with a shortlist of other interested parties, which could take up to 15 percent.
Reuters 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Hinkley Point C News Conference (Video).
EDF 21st Oct 2013 read more »
The decision to commission a new generation of nuclear power stations will reduce the average British energy bill by £77 a year, the Energy Secretary Ed Davey claimed today. Mr Davey was defending the decision to hand a French company billions of pounds in subsidies to build the new Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset, the country’s first new nuclear plant since the 1980s The deal guarantees EDF an inflation-linked price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for the power it generates at the new site, double the current wholesale price for electricity — fuelling the row over energy prices as npower followed British Gas and SSE by announcing substantial price increases. Mr Davey said that the final price paid to EDF would be £89.50 a megawatt hour, in a strong hint that EDF was close to agreeing a further deal to build two more reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk, which is expected to shave £3 off the wholesale price.
Times 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Today’s entry reports on the agreement of a ‘strike price’ for nuclear energy and the latest on judicial reviews. on 5 December the High Court will be hearing two judicial review challenges against the decision to grant development consent for Hinkley Point C on 19 March. First, given that a judgment is unlikely until the new year, a 10-month delay is unhelpful if, as the Overarching Energy National Policy Statement says, all forms of electricity generation are urgently needed. Given that a claim must be made in six weeks under the Planning Act, the vast majority of this time has been spent since the claim arrived at the court. There is currently a consultation on reform of judicial review that includes proposals to establish a specialist planning tribunal, so the government is certainly alive to this point. In terms of what the claims are about, briefly, An Taisce, the Irish counterpart to the National Trust, has challenged the decision on the ground that the UK government should have consulted the Irish government before the application was made given the potential for ‘transboundary effects’, and Greenpeace has challenged the decision on the basis that the government should not have given consent when there was no prospect for the long-term storage of nuclear waste in play. From what I have heard I don’t expect either claim to succeed.
BDB Law 21st Oct 2013 read more »
The first new nuclear plant in 20 years will be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The much-anticipated announcement marks the end of months of negotiations between ministers and French energy company EDF. The UK’s new deal could still be held up by the European Commission, which has to approve any arrangement that could be seen as giving a particular industry a competitive advantage. The commission last week indicated that the state aid rules – dictating which industries can receive government support – wouldn’t be extended to nuclear power. That would force the government to appeal to the Commission on a case by case basis, potentially further delaying the start of construction. So while EDF may have signed on the dotted line, kettles won’t be bubbling thanks to new nuclear power for a while yet. As the day unfolds it’s inevitable more detail will emerge. We’ll be back as we learn more.
Carbon Brief 21st Oct 2013 read more »
The proposed deal to build the first new nuclear plant in a generation comes with more quirks than an Icelandic pop group. First off it will cost £16bn, £2bn more than the already over-budget French reactor on which it is based. The strike price will be £92.5, though it may be higher – or lower. All of that is odd, but the quirks, as ever are in the detail. French state owned EDF will get a 45-50% stake, similarly French state owned Areva (which designed the reactor) will hold 10% – allowing the French to run the show. Chinese state firms CNNC and CGN will hold a combined 30-40% and a mysterious as yet un-discovered somebody will hold 15% (maybe the state of Qatar?) Unsurprisingly, perhaps, as NNGP doesn’t yet know who owns it – it also hasn’t yet signed a contract to actually build Hinkley C. What we have here is a non-binding ‘commercial agreement’ between EDF’s Mr De Rivaz and UK Secretary of State Mr Davey to do something at some point, probably before July next year. So where does the risk of something going wrong lie? Well, it depends how badly things cock up, but ultimately – just as with any other energy project – the billpayer or the taxpayer is likely to pick up some of the tab.
Energy Desk 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Today the UK government announced the go ahead for two new nuclear reactors to be built at the Hinkley Point power plant in Somerset, in the country’s south west. It’s very big news – the UK has not built a nuclear reactor in 20 years. The French company EDF plan to build two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR). The EPR is billed by its designer AREVA as a state-of-art third generation reactor that puts all others in the shade. It is the biggest reactor ever designed (if not yet built). You see, that’s the problem. No-one has yet to successfully built an EPR. Just two are under construction in Europe right now.
Greenpeace 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Aquamarine Power Blog: The contract for this project will provide an electricity price of £92.50/MWh linked to inflation. By comparison the strike price for onshore wind is at £100/MWh. This makes nuclear look cost effective. However the devil is in the detail. Come on UK Government – we have a nascent marine energy industry that is severely under-capitalised. If the government diverted the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority budget for just three months to the marine energy industry it would truly revolutionise our energy options.
Aquamarine Power 21st Oct 2013 read more »
The announcement today of the new-build financial deal cobbled together by Government and which guarantees foreign companies a price for electricity that is not only double today’s market price but one that will be guaranteed for up to 40 years, can best be assessed via US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s conundrum on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – ‘there are some things we know, some things we don’t know.” For Ministers behind today’s deal simply do not know what the true market price of electricity will be in the 2050’s, where the spiralling cost and build time of any new reactor will end up, where existing wastes or future nuclear wastes from new-build will be dumped, what the consequences for human health will be or the extent of cyber security risks posed by foreign investment in the UK’s sensitive energy system.
CORE 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Ministers are likely to face criticism over the £92.50 per megawatt hour that will be paid for electricity produced at the Somerset site – around double the current market rate. Critics warn guaranteeing the group a price for electricity at twice the current level will raise bills. Tony Roulstone, from the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University, said: “After more than six years of preparation, it is very good news that the Government has agreed with EDF Energy and its other investors the commercial terms for the first of what should be a number of new nuclear reactors in the UK.
Cambridge News 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
Miss Thornton, (Ed Miliband’s wife) a barrister at a prestigious London chambers, helped EdF to win planning consent for the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station earlier this year. A statement dated 19 March this year, on the website of 39 Essex Street chambers states that Miss Thornton along with Stephen Tromans QC “were part of the team advising EdF” as it sought to win planning consent for the new Hinkley Point reactor.
Telegraph 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
French power giant Electricite de France (EDF) will build the UK’s first nuclear reactors since 1995 after reaching a deal with the British government on guaranteed prices for the power they’ll generate.
Irish Independent 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
Britain’s first nuclear power station in a generation is to be built in a £16 billion scheme set to raise hundreds of millions of pounds for the Westcountry economy.
Western Morning News 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
Has the UK government struck the right strike price in its big nuclear deal? Set today – a decade before generation is expected to begin – at approximately twice the current wholesale price of electricity over 35 years, this represents a huge hedge. It is hard to know whether this is a good deal. But a spreadsheet built by Carbon Connect, a think tank specialising in energy policy, allows us to examine the hedge. It can estimate the “present cost to consumers” (not strictly “taxpayers” since CfD costs are put directly on to bills) of new nuclear facilities, based on different assumptions for the following inputs: Energy policy is fiendishly complex and full of vested interests. On the face of it, today’s price suggests a government that was desperate to make a deal. There will be more negotiations in future as Britain upgrades its infrastructure. For this reason alone the strike price for today’s should be subjected to thorough analysis.
FT 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Talks will take place about how to ensure adequate housing for workers set to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey. The island’s council said if the £8bn Wylfa B project went ahead, an extra 3,500 people would need somewhere to live while it was being built. A third would stay in private rented property while others would buy new homes or use tourist houses, it said. But there is a fear of price increases, making it harder for locals to buy.
BBC 21st Oct 2013 read more »
Ministers opposing state ownership of British power stations – unless the states are Communist China and Socialist France -exposes expensive contradictions in yesterday’s £16billion nuclear deal. Rebuilding a British nuclear industry must surely be better than showering money on Beijing and Paris. Needing the approval of Presidents Xi Jinping and Francois Hollande to keep the lights on is a humiliating admission of national decline. The inability of the country which gave the world the industrial revolution to fund, construct and operate a nuclear power station confirms our status as an island where everything is up for sale.
Mirror 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
RWE, Germany’s largest power producer, has decided to radically depart from its traditional business model based on large-scale thermal power production. Henceforth, the company will “create value by leading the transition to the future energy world”. This is shown by confidential strategy documents that were discussed at a recent meeting of RWE’s Supervisory Board in Warsaw which Energy Post has seen. The new strategy was decided on at a meeting of RWE’s Supervisory Board in Warsaw on 19 and 20 September. It will be discussed more broadly within the company in video conferences scheduled for 29 October. RWE is one of Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. The “Strategic Roadmap” discussed in Warsaw and a strategic document called “RWE’s Corporate Story” make it clear that the company’s leadership has accepted that RWE, which has traditionally relieved heavily on its coal-fired and nuclear power production business, has decided that it needs to radically change course it if wants to survive in the new energy world created by Germany’s and the EU’s Energiewende. “The massive erosion of wholesale prices caused by the growth of German photovoltaics constitutes a serious problem for RWE which may even threaten the company’s survival”, states the Strategic Roadmap.
Energy Post 21st Oct 2013 read more »
SOME evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe will have to wait years longer before they can return home after Japan admitted its radiation clean-up in the most contaminated towns is behind schedule. The Environment Ministry is revising the timetable for six of 11 municipalities in an exclusion zone from where residents were moved after the power plant went into meltdown following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The original plan called for completing all decontamination by next March.
Herald 22nd Oct 2013 read more »
The BBC has an outstanding record of misrepresenting the facts about Iran’s nuclear activities. The most egregious example of this was the ‘File on 4’ programme ‘Iran’s Nuclear Standoff’ broadcast on Radio 4 on 28 May 2013. This programme performed the remarkable trick of purporting to examine the latest intelligence on Iran’s nuclear activities, while uttering not a word about the publicly available assessments of US intelligence on the matter.
Spinwatch 17th Oct 2013 read more »
The rush to develop on-shore wind farms is “over” and has damaged the renewable energy agenda, the Energy and Climate Change Minister said. Mr Barker promised that future wind farms would be developed off-shore, the Mail on Sunday reported. “We put certain projects in the wrong place,” he said. “Some planners have been too insensitive to the impact on the landscape and it has turned public opinion against the wider renewable agenda. “We are very clear about the need to limit the impact on the countryside and landscape. It is quite clear the expansion of the on-shore wind rush is over.”
Telegraph 20th Oct 2013 read more »
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been criticised for releasing an infographic demonstrating how much more land would be required for solar power to match the output of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. “We feel the comparison of land usage for different forms of energy generation is unhelpful and misleading,” Mark Turner, operations director, Lightsource Renewable Energy told Solar Power Portal. “We simply have to move away from the argument that land is either used for farming or for renewable power generation. PV solar power co-exists with both productive farming and the creation of wildlife habitats.”
Solar Portal 21st Oct 2013 read more »