Britain’s energy security and carbon-reduction goals would have been put at risk if UK prime minister Theresa May had halted the £20bn Hinkley Point nuclear power project, senior government officials have said. Senior civil servants involved in the 2013 deal with EDF, the French state-owned energy group, to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant since the 1990s said on Monday that they still believed the project represented good value for money, despite mounting criticisms over its high cost to consumers. They told a parliamentary committee that the 3,200 megawatts of generating capacity expected from Hinkley Point by 2025 — satisfying about 7 per cent of UK demand — would be critical to keeping Britain’s lights on while reducing carbon emissions. Critics have argued that Mrs May should have sought to renegotiate the deal with EDF as it became clear that the cost of alternative energy sources was falling. Mr Lovegrove, now permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, rejected such criticisms on Monday. He said EDF and CGN would be unlikely to accept new terms given that rising construction costs had already reduced their projected returns on investment to between 8.2 and 8.5 per cent, at the lower end of industry standards. “The idea that the deal would not have collapsed if we had sought to renegotiate is, I think, fanciful,” said Mr Lovegrove.
FT 9th Oct 2017 read more »
The Hinkley Point C nuclear plant deal would have collapsed if ministers had tried to renegotiate a better price, government officials have claimed. MPs took evidence about the deal for the £19.6 billion power station in Somerset after a scathing National Audit Office report concluded that it was “risky and expensive”. Defending the contract, first drawn up in 2013, officials admitted that the economic case had become “more marginal” by the time it was signed off in 2016, as the costs of alternative technologies had fallen. However, Stephen Lovegrove, former permanent secretary at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said it was “fanciful” to think that the deal would not have collapsed altogether if the government had tried to renegotiate.
Times 10th Oct 2017 read more »
The controversial deal for a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point would have collapsed if the Government had pushed for better terms, MPs have been told. Whitehall mandarins involved in striking the agreement for the plant – described by a watchdog as “risky and expensive” – insisted it was a “very good one within the policy constraints of the time” and said they were “proud” of the result. Taxpayers will be left footing the bill if a future government decides it does not want to use the power source in the future but it is an “illusion” to believe there could be a pact with no risk, the Public Accounts Committee heard.
Bristol Evening Post 10th Oct 2017 read more »