Fresh doubts about how EDF will pay for plans to build an £18 billion nuclear power station in Somerset pushed the energy group’s shares to a new low yesterday. Board members of the company, which has debts of 37 billion euros met to sign off its accounts. These are expected to show a sharp deterioration in profits when they are released today because of a decline in wholesale energy prices. Power prices in France have declined by 23 per cent over the past three months, reflecting a fall in commodities prices. On Saturday, Moody’s placed EDF on review for a possible downgrade. “The rating review reflects EDF’s exposure to a weakening power price environment,” the ratings agency said. “A prolonged period of low power prices will further affect EDF, given its exposure to market-exposed generation activities . . . These pressures may further exacerbate the risks associated with the Hinkley Point C project.” The plan to build at Hinkley Point is not thought to have been discussed at length during the board meeting. EDF’s board deferred a final investment decision on Hinkley Point last month. Mycle Schneider, a nuclear industry consultant based in Paris, said that financing doubts and EDF’s heavy debt load were complicating the board’s final investment decision on Hinkley Point, which could take several more months. Opposition from French energy unions and the collapse of Areva, the French reactor designer whose technology had been earmarked for use at the power station, have added to the challenge, he said. “There are huge doubts over the future of this project,” Mr Schneider said.
Times 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Letter Roy Pumfrey: IT is clear that Stop Hinkley Campaigners are not the only ones calling on EDF Energy to abandon Hinkley Point C. We are calling on EDF to scrap these plans as soon as possible so that communities in Somerset can get on with planning a sustainable energy future. The Government should stop taking UK energy policy down this nuclear cul-de-sac and get on with implementing a sensible renewable energy strategy.We have written to EDF we have asked them as the managers’ union CFE-CGC, which has a seat on EDF’s board, has voiced its concern about the significant financial issues raised by investing in Hinkley Point C and says such a huge commitment could put the very future of EDF as a company in danger. The Association of Employee Shareholders (EAS) – has asked for the project to be halted.
Bridgwater Mercury 15th Feb 2016 read more »
A NUMBER of anti-nuclear campaigners protested outside EDF’s Cannington offices this morning (February 15) against the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant in Somerset. They scaled the outside walls with ladders at around 11am, security closed the doors and put the whole place in lockdown. The protesters blocked the front doors with around 30 taking part inside and outside of the walls to the building. The police attended but the protest was peaceful and allowed to continue and the campaigners left a short while later.
Western Gazette 15th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF will not discuss whether to invest in a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point at today’s board meeting, it is being reported, as the energy giant faces pressure to abandon the plan altogether. As activists this morning occupied EDF’s office in Cannington, near Bridgwater, Reuters reports that the French company has not put the investment decision for its plan to build two nuclear reactors near the town on the agenda for today’s meeting. Meanwhile, The Independent reports that the board of the company has received a report warning that the nine-year timetable to complete the two nuclear reactors would be impossible to meet. The newspaper also reports that EDF’s internal report suggests the project would be financially disastrous for the company.
Central Somerset Gazette 15th Feb 2016 read more »
In an article dependent on the group yesterday, titled “Panic on the UK EPR”, the “JDD” evoked a sling that goes up to the group, the CFE-CGC union, regular moderate, considering that Hinkley Point might simply to “kill the group”, not hesitating to raise the specter of the “bankruptcy” … remember that Christopher Bakken, responsible for EDF’s UK nuclear project at Hinkley Point, just left the French electricity to join the American Entergy. Mr. Bakken, a US citizen, will return to the United States to become the head of the nuclear segment in Entergy starting April 6, said the American group. As managing director of EDF Energy, EDF’s UK subsidiary, Christopher Bakken flying since 2011 the Hinkley Point C project in south-west England. His departure fueling the controversy, to the extent that the proposed Hinkley Point is increasingly criticized because of the financial risk that poses to the French public electrician.
Boursier 15th Feb 2016 read more »
An occupation of EDF’s site office for Hinkley C turned into a celebration today as the EDF Board postponed its ‘final investment decision’ for the tenth time. With strong opposition among French unions and the project afflicted by severe technical and financial problems, it’s not just Hinkley that’s going down, but the UK’s entire nuclear programme.
Ecologist 15th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF has bought itself some valuable time over its decision about whether or not to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. The energy giant said it was going to be extending the life of four of its nuclear power stations in the UK. Heysham 1 and Hartlepool will now stay open for another five years, until 2024; whilst Heysham 2 and Torness won’t shut until 2030. The decision means several thousand people will stay in work. More significantly perhaps, it also helps ease some worries that Britain may struggle to keep the lights on in the future, by ensuring plants which generate about a quarter of electricity in Britain are going to stay open, at least for now. But whilst the decision might offer some short-term relief, that is all it is able to do and we are still no nearer to finding out what will happen over Hinkley Point.
Spectator 16th Feb 2016 read more »
There is still no clarity on whether the Hinkley Point development will go ahead, a decision on which was meant to take place this week but appears to have been kicked into the long grass yet again. As City A.M. reported yesterday, it was not on the agenda at the board meeting – despite contractors being told in January that they should restart work. In its statement, EDF said it was considering “bringing other investors into the project”, but would not reduce its stake to less than 50 per cent. It currently owns 66.5 per cent of the development, while China’s state nuclear firm owns 33.5 per cent. Before a final investment decision is taken, EDF said it would need to finalise its financing plan and contribution by CGN of guarantees for its own financing; receive approval by the both boards; receive clearance by merger control and other governmental authorities in China and Europe; and finalise contractual documentation based on agreements signed in October 2015.
City AM 16th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF said it was committed to being the UK’s leading investor in low carbon electricity, adding in a statement: “That means safely extending the lives of existing nuclear power stations and investing in renewable wind energy. “It also means making the big investments necessary to launch a renaissance in nuclear new build at Hinkley Point in Somerset.” The statement continued: “Further major progress was made in 2015 on plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, notably with the signing of the Strategic Investment Agreement between EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) in October. “Hinkley Point C is a strong project which is fully ready for a final investment decision and successful construction. Final steps are well in hand to enable the full construction phase to be launched very soon.” Last night, Greenpeace projected a huge picture of Chancellor George Osborne wearing a hard hat sporting the EDF logo on to the House of Commons and the Treasury, with the words “Let it go, George everyone else has #LetHinkleyGo”. Greenpeace policy director Doug Parr said: “EDF’s accounts show growing debts and falling earnings. EDF management and employees warn taking on further risk could easily spell disaster for the company. Hinkley is a bad investment and most people with an ounce of financial acumen have now come to realise this. “George Osborne stands alone in defending Hinkley’s honour. He needs to let Hinkley go – everyone else has. The nuclear industry has usually promised far more than it has delivered and the debacle over the Hinkley reactor shows little has changed. “Hinkley will be one of the most expensive objects on earth and George Osborne is happy to force this year’s school leavers to pay over the odds for it until they are about to draw their pensions But wind and solar power could be subsidy-free well before Hinkley could ever come on stream.”
Western Daily Press 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce is getting restless. Not about the EU, not about interest rates, and not about business rates. It’s about the delays to Hinkley C. The chairman Steve Leahy said: “We believe when the final investment decision (FID) is made business boom. We were told early January but early January has come and gone. I’ve had discussions today about it and made enquiries but we can’t get any news of the decision.” He said many firms in the area were in a state of limbo waiting for the FID but there were other projects that were helping to see growth in the town and district.
Bridgwater Mercury 15th Feb 2016 read more »
The Stop Hinkley Campaign will be holding a peaceful protest at 1pm today outside EDF Energy’s offices in King Square, Bridgwater and delivering the attached letter. Campaign Spokesperson, Roy Pumfrey said: “It clear from the press today (1) that Stop Hinkley Campaigners are not the only ones calling on EDF Energy to abandon Hinkley Point C. We are calling on EDF to scrap these plans as soon as possible so that communities in Somerset can get on with planning a sustainable energy future. The Government should stop taking UK energy policy down this nuclear cul-de-sac and get on with implementing a sensible renewable energy strategy.”
Stop Hinkley 15th Feb 2016 read more »
Stop Hinkley’s letter to EDF Energy.
Stop Hinkley 15th Feb 2016 read more »
French energy utility EDF saw 2015 net profit plunge 68 percent on asset impairments and cut its dividend, but the state-controlled company said it remained committed to the UK nuclear power plant project at Hinkley Point.
Reuters 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Annual results: Profits down 68%.
EDF 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The key points relating to EDF Energy business in the UK are: EDF Energy announces new and extended scheduled closing dates for four nuclear power stations; Government policies are providing important support for the life extension programme; Exceptional performance of UK nuclear stations drives 2015 financial performance; EDF Energy’s underlying operating profit (EBIT) in 2015 was £664m. This was 15% lower than in 2014 (£783m) as a result of the ongoing cost of our investment programme; EDF Energy reinvested all of its operational profit and more back into the business, with more than £1.3bn being spent on its existing nuclear and coal stations, renewables and on its new nuclear project, Hinkley Point C; Excluded from the underlying EBIT is a one off impairment charge of £796m relating to the reduction in value of gas and coal generation and storage assets which reflects the current challenging market conditions.
EDF Energy 16th Feb 2016 read more »
French energy firm EDF will extend the life of four of its eight nuclear power plants in the UK. Heysham 1 and Hartlepool will have their life extended by five years until 2024, while Heysham 2 and Torness will see their closure dates pushed back by seven years to 2030. Meanwhile, EDF said its 2015 profits fell 68% to €1.18bn mainly due to writedowns on coal-fired plants. EDF said its decision to extend the life of its plants followed “extensive technical and safety reviews”. Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “Our continuing investment, our expertise and the professional relationship we have with the safety regulator means we can safely prolong the operating life of our nuclear power stations. “Their excellent output shows that reliability is improving whilst their safety and environmental performance is higher than ever.” Meanwhile, EDF has yet to finalise the investment for a new nuclear plant to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
BBC 16th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF Energy has announced plans to extend the life of four UK nuclear power stations by up to seven years, amidst falling profits in the UK and across Europe. The French energy giant announced new closure dates for nuclear power stations in Lancashire (2024), Teesside (2030) and East Lothian (2030). It said the carbon price floor and capacity market gave it the confidence required to continue to invest in the stations. The company also signaled confidence in the widely debated future of its new nuclear power station, Hinkley Point C. It said: “Hinkley Point C is a strong project which is fully ready for a final investment decision and successful construction. Final steps are well in hand to enable the full construction phase to be launched very soon.”
Utility Week 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Herald 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The boss of one of the three supposed consortia claimed to be building Britain’s nuclear power stations has all but admitted that his project is a fantasy one. As can be read in the Telegraph story below, the boss of the ‘Horizon’ project has said that new nuclear power in the UK depends on private investors. Well, that is not going to happen. Who would want to put shares in a venture that might (as in the case of its project in Taiwan) take 15 years not to be completed, or which may not work very well? Nobody. The only possible exceptions to this are (foreign) governments with political, rather than than money-making, objectives. Even they are disappearing! (France and China).
Dave Toke’s Blog 15th Feb 2016 read more »
AN £8.6bn project for a multi-billion pound tidal gateway across Morecambe Bay could be combined with National Grid plans for a tunnel under the bay. North West Energy Squared (NWE2) has revealed proposals for a project which would be like “an M6 across the bay”, which would create enough electricity for 1.7m homes, with a dual carriagewayrunning along the top connecting Heysham to the Furness peninsular.
Blaackpool Gazette 14th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF Energy is to extend generation from four of its UK nuclear power stations by up to seven years, the company has announced. Heysham 1 in Lancashire, and Hartlepool, due to be decommissioned in 2019, will continue for an extra five years. Heysham 2 and Torness in Scotland will have extensions of seven years to 2030.
Blackpool Gazette 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Westmorland Gazette 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The life of East Lothian nuclear power station Torness is to be extended by French operator EDF energy, the firm announced in a statement on the stock market. The plant was due for decommissioning in 2023, but that will now be extended to at least 2030, according to the energy company. Torness provides around a quarter of Scotland’s electricity, according to operators. Hunterston B nuclear power station in North Ayrshire is due to close in 2023.
Holyrood 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Scotsman 16th Feb 2016 read more »
More material for journalists.
EDF Energy 16th Feb 2016 read more »
MORE than 700 nuclear jobs in Hartlepool have been safeguarded after EDF Energy announced it will extend generation from four of its UK nuclear power stations by up to seven years. Hartlepool, and Heysham 1 in Lancashire, due to be decommissioned in 2019, will continue for an extra five years. Hartlepool had already had permission to operate to 2019 – that has been extended until at least 2024.
Northern Echo 16th Feb 2016 read more »
ONR has re-determined the off-site emergency planning areas for Sizewell A nuclear licensed site, Portsmouth Operational Berth and Southampton Operational Berth. These are the areas where the lead local authorities are required to have an emergency plan in place to protect the public in the unlikely event of a radiation emergency.
ONR 15th Feb 2016 read more »
Letter: The 16GW new nuclear programme appears to increase the waste inventory from 4.8TBq in 2010 to 27.3TBq whch would require a far larger GDF site.
Cumbria Trust 16th Feb 2016 read more »
It is one of the most remote places on earth, a vast landscape of desert and mountains spanning nearly a million square kilometres, big enough to accommodate the UK four times over. Now South Australia could become known for something else: as a dumping ground for the world’s nuclear waste. A report by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, an inquiry set up last year but the government of South Australia, has suggested that a dump could absorb 13 per cent of the world’s nuclear waste and be “highly profitable”, generating earnings of £2.4 billion a year. “The storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel in South Australia is likely to deliver substantial economic benefits to the South Australian community,” it said in what were described as “tentative findings”. “An integrated storage and disposal facility would be commercially viable and the storage facil ity could be operational in the late 2020s.”
Times 16th Feb 2016 read more »
FT 15th Feb 2016 read more »
Telegraph 15th Feb 2016 read more »
As the UK seeks to implement its Paris promises to cut our emissions ministers are – we’re told – pursuing a “technology neutral” energy policy. In short, they don’t care what it is, so long as it works and doesn’t cost way more than the alternative. So we thought it worth asking the question: How well is the government currently doing when comparing the two most important options for low-carbon power: nuclear – and the contract for Hinkley Point C – and the suite of technologies called renewables? To define our terms a little – we’re principally looking at solar and wind, and at the central contracts grants (‘CfD’), although much of the insight could also be applied to the feed-in-tariff regime and to renewable tech like anaerobic digestion. I’ve tried comparing treatment across 3 areas, costs, risks and governance. And – because we’re geeky this way – we’ve compiled the results into 3 tables. Here’s the first one on costs: Governments are, of course, entitled to make choices. But what UK Government cannot do is argue that its preference for nuclear is anything other than a longing for its particular pet projects to go ahead, despite consumers paying greater costs, carrying higher risks and their administration being biased and incompetent.
Energy Desk 15th Feb 2016 read more »
The new Conservative government has made some progress in energy policy. In particular, the government has removed many roadblocks to the development of shale gas. However, this will not solve the immediate energy security crisis. Nor, incidentally, will the construction of the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, which is only due to come on stream in the mid to late 2020s. The government has been attempting to centrally plan Britain’s energy market. Market mechanisms have been squeezed out in favour of a system whereby the government determines the make-up of Britain’s electricity system. The consequences of this are two-fold. The first is that British energy consumers are footing the bill. Hinkley Point, for example, is set to be the most expensive conventional power plant in the world, according to well-respected energy analyst Peter Atherton. The second is that Britain’s energy security is being compromised. The government should urgently review how its interventionist policies are damaging the UK’s energy policy. A review of the UK’s unilateral carbon price floor, which forces British industry to pay a carbon price three times the level of their European counterparts, must be a priority.
City AM 15th Feb 2016 read more »
In the latest in our Green Business 2022, Labour’s Lisa Nandy argues the roll out of clean tech will continue in the UK, but the government could make it a whole lot easier. The next six years through to 2022 will see clean tech industries continue to grow around the world. Businesses that produce cleaner and cheaper energy technologies that are both better and offer people more control over how they generate and use energy will ultimately succeed. That is why I am convinced the transition to a greener economy is irreversible. But the crucial question now is over the pace and scale of the switch in the short to medium-term – and who will benefit most from the transition. Under the last Labour government renewable energy generation in the UK doubled, and many thousands of jobs were created here. In spite of the Chancellor’s recent attacks on the sector there are still many reasons to be optimistic. In six years’ time there should be nothing to stop every city in Britain having its own energy company using clean energy sources and challenging the market dominance of the ‘Big Six’. They could plough their profits into cutting energy bills for local people and insulating the homes of the fuel poor. Many Labour councils are already blazing a trail in this area. Ahead of the Paris Summit in December dozens of our council leaders from towns and cities right across the UK pledged to go 100 per cent clean by 2050, and there are already countless examples of innovative schemes that imaginative local leaders are creating to attract investment in these industries in their area.
Business Green 15th Feb 2016 read more »
The UK will be the first country to roll out nuclear fusion.
Express 15th Feb 2016 read more »
China has announced that it’ll be bringing a nuclear power plant online in 2017 that’s immune to meltdown. Consisting of next-generation, twin 105-megawatt reactors, the plant doesn’t rely on complex, external systems to regulate its temperature – such as the kind that failed at Fukushima – and, in theory, it shouldn’t ever overheat. While the technology behind the reactor originated in Germany decades ago, this is the first time the design will be built on a commercial scale anywhere in the world, and it’s a pretty big deal. If China pulls this off, it’ll take away one of the biggest concerns about nuclear power, and suggests that the technology could be used to safely provide energy, with far less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.
Science Alert 15th Feb 2016 read more »
Scandinavian-style urban district heating networks in Scotland and another to make all of the country’s buildings warm, healthy and affordable to heat have been named on a shortlist of low carbon, future-proof engineering projects fit for the 21st Century and beyond. Speaking at the Edinburgh based Green Investment Bank last week, climate change minister Dr Aileen McLeod announced the three shortlisted projects which were selected after a rigorous process involving many experts and 1000s of members of the public, who were asked which of a longlist of ten possible projects they felt should be taken forward most urgently.
Scottish Housing News 15th Feb 2016 read more »
National Grid will pay business customers to use more energy at times of excess wind generation, under a new system developed by demand response aggregator Flexitricity. National Grid has signed up to the demand turn-up system, Footroom, which is an automated service that notifies connected businesses of an approaching increase in wind. Businesses can then increase demand and production while wind farm output is at its highest, receiving an additional payment from National Grid for doing so. This means National Grid can leave the wind generation running and avoid making controversial ‘constraint payments’, whereby wind farms are paid to close down when there is too much wind.
Utility Week 15th Feb 2016 read more »