Hinkley deal – Greenpeace reaction

Publication date: 15th September 2016

Greenpeace: “financial, legal and technical obstacles remain that can’t be brushed under the carpet”


In response to the government’s announcement on the Hinkley deal, John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director said:

“This decision is unlikely to be the grand finale to this summer’s political soap opera. There are still huge outstanding financial, legal and technical obstacles that can’t be brushed under the carpet. There might be months or even years of wrangling over these issues. That’s why the government should start supporting renewable power that can come online quickly for a competitive price.

“Today’s decision hasn’t been made on the cold, hard facts that show Hinkley will not deliver competitively priced, low carbon energy any time soon. Instead it seems that Hinkley became too big to fail. The potential for political embarrassment for the new Prime Minister was too high.

“The new arrangement for a government special share changes almost nothing on the Hinkley deal and time will tell what it means for Bradwell in Essex, which is due to use Chinese technology.”

Examples of the financial, technical and legal issues:

Technical – we still don’t know if it’s even possible to build this kind of reactor. There’s no evidence to suggest that EDF will be fourth time lucky in Somerset. EDF started trying to build the first of its type in Finland in 2005 – and it still isn’t ready. The same is true in France – the plant is nearly a decade late and a major flaw has been found in the reactor vessel. The French nuclear regulator is expected to decide next year whether the flaw is so grave, EDF needs to start from scratch.

Financial – the economics of Hinkley don’t add up. In recent years the price of renewables and storage has fallen and the technologies have developed. They are now cheaper, even when you take back up power into account when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
EDF’s financial position is dire. Moody’s has said that it will reduce its credit rating further if the Hinkley decision is made.

Legal – there are several outstanding legal case that muddy the waters considerably. There is an Austrian State Aid case that won;t be resolved for years, a possible new State Aid case against France. Greenpeace and Ecotricity have this week asked Greg Clark to review the 2010 decision that Hinkley provides an overall benefit to society. And there are two outstanding French cases of the EDF board are attempting to over turn the FID. Greenpeace also has a case against the Information Commissioner asking for the modelling on which the Hinkley decision was made initially to be made public.


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