EDF Energy owns and operates eight nuclear power stations in the UK (15 reactors) with a total capacity of 8.9GW. Since 2009, Centrica plc. (“Centrica”) has held a 20% shareholding in Lake Acquisitions Limited, the company in which the nuclear generation assets sit (except Nuclear New Build)
Seven of the eight nuclear power stations are Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor (AGR) power stations (Dungeness B, Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Heysham 2, Hinkley Point B, Hunterston B and Torness) and the eighth, Sizewell B, is a Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) power station.
In 2017, EDF Energy maintained its position as the largest generator of electricity (by TWh produced) and of low carbon electricity.
The output of the nuclear fleet in 2017 was 63.9 TWh which is close to the record level achieved in 2016 (65.1TWh). This output of low carbon energy saved 22m tonnes of CO2 compared with gas generation, equivalent to removing a third of the UK’s cars from the road for a year.
Sizewell B reached a milestone of producing over 200 billion kilowatt hours of low carbon electricity since the start of operation in 1995. This world-class performance was the result of EDF Energy’s continuing investment in its existing nuclear power stations which in 2017 was £450m.
The nuclear power stations delivered their best ever safety performance in 2017 with only four lost time incidents.
EDF Energy aims to secure value from its existing nuclear, coal and gas assets through continued operational excellence and safe, reliable generation. One of the key strategic programmes involves extending the lifetime of existing nuclear plant, when safe and commercially viable, to allow the UK to continue to benefit from existing nuclear low carbon energy for as long as possible. This will also provide ongoing nuclear employment opportunities and support the maintenance of skills in the UK nuclear industry. EDF Energy now has confirmed life extension plans in place for all its advanced gas reactor (AGR) fleet – with an average life extension of 8.3 years since 2009. EDF Energy is also exploring opportunities to develop new activities in nuclear decommissioning, building on its expertise in operating the UK’s existing nuclear stations.
Through EDF Renewables, EDF Energy is developing its renewable assets. In addition, EDF Energy has signed power purchase agreements with renewable generators and supports independent developers. This ensures a balanced approach for compliance with its Renewables Obligations (RO) and the provision of renewable electricity to its customer base.
EDF Renewables currently operates 36 wind farm sites with a total generation capacity of 704.2MW, including Beck Burn (31MW) which was brought into operation in 2017. One other onshore wind farm is currently in construction, Dorenell (177MW), EDF Renewables’ largest onshore wind farm to date, expected to commence operation early 2019. EDF Renewables continues to expand its scope of technologies with a 49MW battery storage facility under construction. This facility will be constructed adjacent to the West Burton coal and CCGT stations.
Coal and Gas Generation
In 2017, Cottam and West Burton A coal-fired power plants generated 4.5TWh of electricity. This is higher than last year, and represented a good performance in a year of particularly low dark spreads, in addition to outages at seven of the eight units. The impact of the lower dark spreads has been largely economically mitigated by favourable trading, including power buybacks at a beneficial price, as well as running in peak periods. West Burton B CCGT generated 6.6TWh, driven by improved market spark spreads and continued Balancing Mechanism activity.
In February 2017, all of the coal units, including OCGTs, and all of the CCGT Units, secured a one year Capacity Market agreement starting in 2017, at the clearing price of £6.95/kW.
EDF Energy operates two mid cycle gas storage facilities in Cheshire. Hole House, purchased from EDF Trading in April 2014, is fully operational with a total working gas capacity of c.18 million therms. Hill Top Farm became commercially operational in mid-January 2015 with three cavities. The remaining two cavities are being developed and are scheduled to come on-line by the end of 2018.