The French economy minister has heaped pressure on state-backed utility giant EDF to make a timely decision on its Hinkley Point project following the Brexit vote. Emmanuel Macron’s comments were made during a nuclear conference in Paris. He also warned that further delays to the final investment decision (FID) could add more uncertainty to the £18bn nuclear power plant. Experts had told City A.M. that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last week had plunged the nuclear power plant into a fresh wave of uncertainty, despite it being critical to the government’s energy plans. Asked whether Brexit could lead to it being scrapped, Angus Brendan MacNeil, chair of the energy and climate select committee, said: “Anything could happen … Hinkley is in a very different position this week than it was last week.”
City AM 28th June 2016 read more »
After its decision to leave the European Union, the UK also needs to exit the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) – which would have negative consequences for its plan to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, former German Green Party MP Hans-Josef Fell claims.
Recharge News 27th June 2016 read more »
The Hinkley Point nuclear power station project could become a casualty of Brexit, according to reports this morning. The £18 billion plans to build the new plant in Somerset could be cancelled after Britain voted to leave the EU, a Government advisor told the The Times newspaper. Paul Dorfman said it is “extremely unlikely” that French energy giant EDF will continue with its plans, in the latest of a series of delays for the development.
ITV 28th June 2016 read more »
Sharecast 28th June 2016 read more »
Bristol Post 28th June 2016 read more »
Somerset County Gazette 28th June 2016 read more »
Independent 28th June 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 28th June 2016 read more »
The U.K. vote to exit the European Union has fueled concerns over the future of an £18 billion ($24 billion) nuclear-power project in the U.K. that still awaits a final decision on whether to proceed by its contractor, French power utility Electricite de France SA, better known as EDF. French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday dismissed the questioning of Hinkley Point that arose following the Brexit vote. Hinkley Point would be beneficial for EDF, for the U.K. and for the French nuclear industry as a whole, Mr. Macron said on Tuesday. “Nothing indicates there is any British change on the project,” he said. Mr. Macron reiterated that the French government backs the project as it will create jobs in France and boost the different units of Areva, the beleaguered state-owned nuclear engineering firm being dismantled by the government after years of massive losses. He insisted EDF would likely make the final investment decision on Hinkley Point during the summer.
Wall St Journal 28th June 2016 read more »
The French government has attempted to calm fears that the UK’s vote to leave the EU will scupper plans to build Britain’s controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, said on Tuesday that the vote will have “no consequences” for the £18bn project, urging state-owned utility EDF to press with its final investment decision. He said at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris on Tuesday that France has “bilateral treaties and bilateral commitments with Britain” for Hinkley Point that are not affected by the UK’s membership in the EU. The comments follows fears that the instability caused by the UK referendum will heap more tension on a deal that has already been repeatedly delayed. Loud voices in both countries want to disrupt the deal. One of the EDF unions, CFE Energies, said this week that due t o the “political and economic” uncertainty, it was “only common sense” to delay the project. It said EDF should not “rush into the unknown”. It highlighted the sharp fall in sterling since Friday and said that nobody knew how, following prime minister David Cameron’s resignation on Friday, a new British government will feel about the nuclear project. Hinkley Point represents a crucial part of the future UK energy mix: it is set to provide low-carbon electricity to meet 7 per cent of the country’s total needs when up and running in 2025. But many have criticised the project as too expensive, because the UK government has guaranteed an electricity price to EDF for Hinkley Point of £92.50 per megawatt-hour – more than double the wholesale price. George Osborne, the UK chancellor, has been a powerful supporter of new nuclear power and an advocate for the project. But a new prime minister is expected as early as September and could look for cheaper options.
FT 28th June 2016 read more »
Four banks win EDF rights issue as Brexit raises Hinkley questions. Electricité de France has named four banks to lead its €4bn rights issue, of which €3bn will be bought by the French Government.
Global Capital 27th June 2016 read more »
THE UK’s controversial exit from the European Union will NOT derail plans for a new nuclear power station in west Cumbria, claims the team behind the project. NuGen says that its plans for the three-reactor Moorside plant, on land next to Sellafield, “continues to progress without change” following last Thursday’s referendum result. A NuGen spokesman said: “The Moorside project continues to progress without change. “NuGen’s shareholders, Toshiba and ENGIE, remain committed to taking forward Moorside to produce and sell power to the UK grid. We firmly believe the case for new nuclear power stations for the UK is compelling, and unchanged as a result of the referendum.
In Cumbria 29th June 2016 read more »
Whitehaven News 29th June 2016 read more »
The vote to leave the European Union has posed fresh doubts over the likelihood of a new nuclear power plant in Suffolk. Joan Girling, of Together Against Sizewell C, said the Brexit vote made it less likely that EDF, the French energy giant, would proceed with Hinkley Point C in Somerset, or its sister scheme on the Suffolk coast. Hinkley, which has already seen its timetable delayed, is considered the trigger for progressing the £16 billion project at Sizewell. “I think whatever happens, voting to leave the European Union has created another complication on what is an already outdated and explosively expensive project,” she added. “With the French unions already unsteady on Hinkley they’ve got the perfect opportunity to leave.”
Ipswich Star 29th June 2016 read more »
At one level, the UK’s exit from the EU should have very little impact on the energy business. The price of oil, gas and coal is set by international markets not by the institutions in Brussels. The EU has never had the authority to determine the energy mix of individual member states and even under the latest plans for an “energy union” different countries would retain in full the ability to choose whether they want to develop shale gas or to eliminate nuclear power. The proposed energy union is much more focused on developing common infrastructure and in ensuring that there is an open market across Europe. Presumably we will not now be part of that, although participation remains an option, for instance, in developing an advanced power grid across the North Sea if relations remain amicable. The member states of the Union manage to trade easily and successfully with Norway, which remains a non-member. There is no reason to think that the interconnection and trading links which already exist on straightforward commercial terms will not continue regardless of a UK exit from the European institutions. On climate change, the EU has set targets for reductions in the emissions and the use of renewables but it is worth remembering that the policy and the targets were not imposed on a reluctant Britain. On the contrary, the UK led the way on environmental legislation and proposed many of the steps that Europe subsequently adopted. Many issues remain to be resolved in Britain and in other European countries but Brexit in itself would have very little effect. The impact of Brexit will be felt less in terms of British interaction with Europe than within the UK itself. The crucial issue is the shape and composition of the next government following the departure of Prime Minister David Cameron. George Osborne has been a powerful supporter of new nuclear, starting with the long-promised development at Hinkley Point. He has tolerated both a sharp rise in costs since 2010, even at a time when the price of every other form of energy has been falling, and successive delays that leave the project years behind schedule and billions of pounds over budget. On the assumption that he joins Mr Cameron in retiring in three months time, his successor may take a tougher line and pursue different options. That new chancellor may also be less accommodating to the Chinese who want to own, build and operate their own nuclear station at Bradwell in Essex. A new UK government could well join every other major country in feeling that while some investment from Beijing is welcome, handing over a key piece of critical national infrastructure to Chinese control is a security risk that cannot be justifi ed. Many of those associated with the Brexit campaign have been openly critical of the Mr Osborne’s policies on both Hinkley and Bradwell.
FT 27th June 2016 read more »
The economic impacts of the Brexit vote will very soon make themselves felt to British consumers, writes Chris Goodall – kicking off with higher fuel bills and pump prices. The good news is that nuclear power is now looking increasingly unaffordable. But renewables and green energy research are also likely to suffer, especially if under a right-wing Brexit government. The large devaluation of the last few days will have significant effects on UK energy, from electricity to motor fuels. Other changes are also likely to slow decarbonisation of the economy. Hinkley Point C is even less likely to be built. As at the point of writing, the pound is down about 16% against both the dollar and the Euro compared to twelve months ago. That means that all the components for the power station purchased outside the UK will be 16% more expensive. EdF has indicated in the past that “up to 57%” of the cost of Hinkley will be spent on UK goods and services. Let’s be a little sceptical and say that only half the cost of the new nuclear plant will be incurred in the UK. The last estimate we saw was that constructing Hinkley was going to absorb £18bn. If half of that cost is derived from imported components and other charges the exchange rate decline over the last year has added over £1.4bn to the bill. Much of that has been in the last few days. The electricity that Hinkley generates will be no more valuable to EdF than before. The strike price of £92.50 a megawatt hour does not rise in the event of a UK devaluation. So the prospective financial return to EdF and the Chinese shareholders has fallen sharply. Perhaps as importantly, the position may get worse if the decline in the value of the pound continues but nobody can know this in advance, nor can it be fully hedged against. The same argument applies to all other prospective nuclear construction in the UK. Put at its simplest, the components for nuclear power stations will largely be shipped into the UK and then assembled here. The rapid devaluation that is going on has made all future projects more expensive. Nuclear fuel (costing about $5 for a megawatt hour’s worth of uranium) will also become more costly.
Ecologist 28th June 2016 read more »
One largely unintended consequence of ‘Brexit’ is that the economic uncertainty and reduced economic growth are likely to produce a further fall in electricity demand which may mean we do not need any more big power stations other than those already being built. Lost behind the usual blizzard of insistence that blackouts will result if we don’t build more gas and nuclear power plant is the fact that electricity demand has fallen over the last decade. According to Government figures (see DECC energy statistics) electricity demand fell from 406 TWh in 2005 to 359 TWh in 2015. Even since the economy began to grow again after the crash consumption fell from 384 TWh in 2010. The reasons for the decline are threefold. First electricity prices have remained high. A lot of this is because we are having to import increasing quantities of natural gas from abroad, and that gas is more expensive than what we have enjoyed coming from the now depleting North Sea fields. Second, energy efficiency policies (including energy efficiency standards introduced by the EU) have repressed demand, and thirdly economic growth these days is much less energy intensive than it used to be (even in the 1980s) because of a switch from industrial production to services. I disagree with arguments suggesting that the alternative to Hinkley C is gas fired power plant in the quest for decarbonisation of our electricity supply. It is not. It is renewable energy, and the Government is ignoring vast resources of cheap onshore wind and solar power, in addition to the resources of offshore wind. All of these options are going to be a lot cleaner, cheaper and certainly much more deliverable than new nuclear power.
Dave Toke’s Blog 28th June 2016 read more »
The UK’s challenge to build a clean, secure and affordable energy system has become significantly harder amid the political and economic turmoil following the nation’s vote to leave the European Union. Higher customer bills and delayed or cancelled projects are expected by experts, the most pessimistic of whom warn of the lights going out. The optimists argue that the global rush towards clean energy and strong domestic UK climate change targets can keep the transition to clean, green energy moving forward. However, the leading Brexiters, such as climate change doubter and likely next prime minister Boris Johnson, will play a critical role. If the deal they negotiate with the EU means close ties – and crucially access, like Norway, to Europe’s internal energy market (IEM) – the long-term dent to the UK’s energy prospects may be reduced. But a more decisive break with the world’s biggest single market would leave the UK out in the cold. National Grid has issued a warning that energy bills would rise and energy security would fall if, like Switzerland, the UK was excluded from Europe’s IEM. he flight risk is particularly high for the energy sector, in which many major players are foreign companies. The most high-profile is French company EDF, which wants to build a huge, heavily subsidised and highly controversial nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The plant is an important part of the UK government’s plan to keep the lights on and emissions down, but is at high risk from a change of leadership, said energy analyst Nick Butler: “Osborne has been a powerful supporter of new nuclear. He has tolerated both a sharp rise in costs, even at a time when the price of every other form of energy has been falling, and successive delays that leave the project years behind schedule and billions of pounds over budget. On the assumption that he joins David Cameron in retiring in three months time, his successor may take a tougher line and pursue different options.”
Edie 28th June 2016 read more »
Alan Whitehead has become the latest MP to resign from Labour’s shadow cabinet because of concerns over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, after he quit his post as shadow energy minister this morning.
Utility Week 28th June 2016 read more »
Business Green 28th June 2016 read more »
Barry Gardiner was appointed shadow energy and climate change secretary last night, replacing Lisa Nandy who joined the majority of the shadow cabinet in resigning in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The Corbyn team is now braced for a leadership challenge, with former shadow energy and climate change secretary Lisa Nandy reportedly considering a run. Gardiner has been a consistent advocate for more ambitious climate action. He recently called on the government to move swiftly to adopt the fifth carbon budget in line with the committee on climate change’s recommendations – a decision that is supposed to come this week.
Business Green 28th June 2016 read more »
French utility EDF and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for collaboration in civil nuclear power, including MHI taking a stake in Areva NP and joint development of the Atmea reactor design. The MOU was signed today in Paris by EDF chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy and MHI president and CEO Shunichi Miyanaga. In a joint statement, the companies said the signing of the MOU “is a strategic move to strengthen the links between the French and Japanese nuclear power industries, recognizing the strategic interest to combine in certain fields of civil nuclear energy the strengths of EDF and MHI.”
World Nuclear News 28th June 2016 read more »
When California’s largest electric utility announced last week that it would close the state’s last operational nuclear power plant, supporters were quick to call the moment a potential game changer for America’s energy future. The basic message, after all, is that officials in America’s most populous state, while eager to battle against climate change, have decided that nuclear reactors aren’t needed in the fight. And the move, in which state regulators nudged Pacific Gas & Electric Co. toward a plan to close its Diablo Canyon reactor, comes as other states have also been closing nuclear plants or planning to do so. Solar and wind power are surging, and PG&E said the Diablo Canyon power will be replaced by renewables. Could the end of the line be coming into view for a power source that used to be hailed by some as the future of clean power? Actually, it looks far too early to draw that conclusion. The reality is that a battle still rages and may go on for some time. Some new reactors are being built. Some governors even in other politically liberal states are trying to save old reactors rather than scrap them. And though cheap natural gas may have called the economics of nuclear plants into question, environmentalists are divided over whether a nuclear phaseout would be wise.
Business Insider 28th June 2016 read more »
French economy and trade minister Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday his country will continue to invest in nuclear energy, including providing support for utility EDF’s plan to build a nuclear plant in the UK, despite delays on existing projects and a reorganization of the French state-controlled industry. Macron, speaking at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris, acknowledged that the French effort in the 1990s to combine its reactor design businesses and fuel cycle businesses into a single state-controlled company, Areva, was ultimately a failure. The company is being broken up, with Areva’s reactor business being sold to EDF and a “new” Areva being formed to hold the company’s mining, enrichment and other fuel cycle businesses. The government will invest Eur5 billion ($5 billion) in Areva, he said, and is seeking minority partners who would invest in both Areva and EDF. The state plans to invest in EDF as well, officials have said.
Platts 28th June 2016 read more »
Following a year-long international tender process, the Momentum joint venture – comprising Amec Foster Wheeler of the UK, Assystem of France and Kepco Engineering & Construction of South Korea – has been selected as construction management-as-agent contractor for the Iter fusion project.
World Nuclear News 28th June 2016 read more »
Nucnet 28th June 2016 read more »
Amec Foster Wheeler has won a nuclear deal with UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). The service firm will supply independent nuclear propulsion safety and technical advice for the Royal Navy’s submarine flotilla. The contract, worth £75million, will be delivered by a specialist team at Amec Foster Wheeler. Clive White, president of Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy Europe business, said: “This contract consolidates Amec Foster Wheeler’s position as the largest provider of independent safety assurance in the UK nuclear sector.”
Energy Voice 29th June 2016 read more »
At its latest seminar the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) supported calls for a Shadow Defence Diversification Agency and for local government to work together to promote the benefits of decentralised energy. Amongst the speakers were Alan Simpson, Sustainable Economics Advisor to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell; and Dr Steve Schofield, international expert on the development of defence diversification projects. Alan Simpson provided international examples of the decentralised energy revolution occurring in places as diverse as Germany, California and Denmark. Smart energy solutions, renewable energy battery storage and new thinking in local government have led to dramatic change in these places. In turn, local communities have taken much greater control of their local energy needs and aided a reduction in harmful carbon emissions. Simpson argued such a revolution in thinking is urgently needed in the UK and called on local authorities to be dynamic in their energy strategies, working with supportive community energy groups to facilitate positive change. Cross-party support for such measures is available and needs to be garnered to counter the highly negative changes in recent funding cuts for local energy initiatives. The seminar also encouraged local authorities to facilitate, where practical and possible to do so, community energy initiatives. The Greater Manchester Community Renewables scheme was profiled in the seminar. Alongside dynamic schemes like the Edinburgh Solar Community Cooperative, they could help to deliver localised energy solutions. NFLA calls for cross-party support and cross-departmental work at the local level to realise ways to promote renewable energy, microgeneration and energy efficiency.
NFLA 28th June 2016 read more »
Often talked about, rarely quantified – how much more revenue does a community-owned wind farm bring in for the community, as opposed to a project by out-of-towners? A study conducted by the Institute for Distributed Energy Technologies (IdE) on behalf of Stadtwerke Union Nordhessen (SUN) took a look at the issue. It found that the local financial benefits were eight times greater. SUN is an umbrella group that brings together six local municipal utilities. Recently, it developed a community shareholder model to keep as much of the profits from wind farms at home. The state of Hesse plans to be 100 percent renewable for electricity by 2050, and it also has recommended that citizens be allowed to invest in order to increase acceptance.
One Step Off the Grid 29th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Global solar market tipped to hit 756GW by 2025, as world’s lowest cost solar farm edges forward. Global solar capacity will almost treble over the next decade, reaching over 271GW of cumulative installed capacity by 2025, according to new research from analysts GlobalData. The company’s latest report predicts annual growth rates for the solar industry will fall from the 50.1 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) seen over the past decade. However, it predicts the CAGR for the industry through to 2025 will still reach 13.1 per cent as China cements its position as the world’s largest solar market.
Business Green 28th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Siemens has warned its plans to eventually export wind turbine blades from the UK will have to be put on hold because of last week’s Brexit vote. The German industrial conglomerate said the EU referendum decision would not affect its plans to employ 1,000 people at a £160m manufacturing plant in Hull, which is due to start producing blades for the UK’s offshore wind farm industry this year. But a long-term goal to export blades to Europe and other countries was now uncertain, said Juergen Maier, the company’s UK chief executive.
FT 28th June 2016 read more »
Doug Stewart, chief executive of Green Energy, claims green gas is 15 years behind renewable electricity – but is poised for stellar growth in the UK. Stewart believes the green gas industry is now poised for the same rollercoaster growth journey. In April his firm became the first company in the UK energy market to supply only renewable green gas to its residential and business customers, a move it claims makes it the only supplier to provide both renewable electricity and renewable gas as standard. The firm has been selling natural gas to its customers since 2014, and from the outset was keeping a close eye on the bio-methane market. But the offer of 100 per cent green gas – even for a small company like Green Energy, with around 25,000 customers – was not possible even two years ago, Stewart says. “We couldn’t buy it commercially – everyone wanted a premium in 2014. Just like everyone wanted a premium in 2001,” he says. “But we stuck with it, we built our knowledge of gas up, and there is sufficient gas now for us to supply our customers. There are now 200 AD plants operating on farms across the UK, which Stewart estimates is enough to supply around 100,000 homes with green gas. By 2035, the government plans for green gas generation to have increased 10-fold. “We are the beginning of another renewables revolution,” Stewart says. “I look back at the last 15 years, and what we do is now mainstream. People buy green electricity from all sorts of different people now, and people understand what green electricity is.” Once people become more familiar with the concept of “green gas” it will start to garner the same kind of market traction as solar or wind electricity, he predicts.
Business Green 28th June 2016 read more »