2015 was a landmark year for action on climate change with the historic agreement reached by the world’s governments in Paris during the United Nations climate conference, COP21. The agreement was a vindication and an encouragement of all those who have fought the battle against climate change for many years. I am pleased to say that we have played our part over many years and EDF Group was an Official Partner of COP21.
In the run-up to COP21, EDF Energy took another crucial step in its plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, with the signing of the Strategic Investment Agreement between EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation. Hinkley Point C will serve as an important source of secure, affordable, low-carbon electricity. As well as powering more than 5 million homes, it will avoid 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions during each year of its operation which represents 7% of all the CO2 produced by electricity generation in the UK in 2015.
2015 was also a year in which we achieved our strongest ever safety performance, with zero reportable nuclear events and a total recordable incident rate (TRIR) of 0.68 incidents per million hours worked: a 30% year-on-year improvement.
Around 45% of our residential energy supply customers are now on competitive fixed tariffs with no exit fees − a higher proportion than that achieved by our large competitors. As for business supply, in 2015 we maintained our position as the largest electricity supplier for business and were awarded the UK’s largest annual electricity supply contract (10TWh) by the Crown Commercial Service.
We launched Blue Lab, an innovation platform and incubator to develop new products, business models and services for customers – and to continue to develop the ways in which our customers can take control of their energy through digital.
We finished the year with an overall output for nuclear of over 60.6TWh, the best in 10 years. This excellent level of output is driven by our long-term commitment to continuous improvement by implementing best international practices and investment in the fleet. It has also helped to mitigate some of the impact of low and falling wholesale prices, which continue to be a challenge to our business. In February 2016 we were pleased to announce the life extension of four of our nuclear power stations. This will enable the continued supply of secure, reliable, low-carbon electricity to around a quarter of the UK’s homes.
Our renewables portfolio saw a 9% increase in output due to the strong availability of our assets in 2015. Through our joint venture with EDF Energies Nouvelles, the fleet is continuing to expand, with three wind farms under construction.
People are at the heart of everything we do, and in 2015 we opened our state-of-the-art learning and development centre Cannington Court in Somerset. It uses the latest digital training tools and is the heart of our connected Campus network, complementing our MyCampus digital platform – now used for learning by employees across the country.
We continued to push hard on diversity and inclusion, achieving the National Equality Standard and continuing to inspire and prepare the next generation through award winning, inspirational programmes, such as our Pretty Curious campaign.
In 2016 and beyond we will balance the need to deliver our long-term vision while addressing the short-term opportunities and challenges. I believe the ability and commitment to do this is one of the greatest strengths of EDF Energy. Remaining true to our values of Trust, Transparency and Teamwork, I am confident we will deliver a successful 2016.
Vincent de Rivaz, CBE, Chief Executive