20 Mar (NucNet): Planning consent has been given for construction of the first new nuclear power plant in the UK since 1995, but EDF Energy has warned that before construction begins at Hinkley Point C agreement is needed with the government on a contract for electricity the plant would produce.
The proposed Hinkley Point C plant will consist of two reactor units and will be operated by NNB Generation, a subsidiary of EDF Energy. According to the British government, the plant will generate “enough low carbon electricity to power the equivalent of five million households”, making it one of the largest power stations in the UK.
EDF Energy said planning consent now needs to be matched by the finalisation of a contract for the electricity to be produced at Hinkley Point C. It said: “Swift success in negotiations with the government over this contract for difference [CfD] is the key to unlocking the investment needed.”
EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “To make this opportunity a reality, we need to reach agreement swiftly on the contract for difference for Hinkley Point C.”
He said “intensive” discussions with the government are taking place and agreement is “still possible”.
The discussions concern possible subsidies – in the form of a CfD regime – intended to stabilise returns for generators at a fixed level known as a “strike price” and insulate consumers by clawing back money from generators if the market price is higher than the strike price.
EDF Energy is planning to build two European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point C and is due to make a final investment decision within weeks on whether to go ahead with the project.
Planning consent was announced yesterday by energy minister Ed Davey, who told parliament that the benefits of Hinkley Point C development outweigh the impacts.
EDF Energy received a site licence for Hinkley Point C in November 2012, the first for a new nuclear plant in 25 years. The company now holds “the majority of consents it needs to build and operate the plant”, Mr Davey said.
The full decision document is online:
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