EDF Energy CEO, Vincent de Rivaz, has told MPs Hinkley Point C will be going ahead.
He made his comments during a hearing of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on 23rd March 2016.
Vincent de Rivaz' opening statement:
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today and to update you on our project and answer your questions.
I will start by saying clearly and categorically that Hinkley Point C will go ahead. That’s good news for the UK.
It has been a long road. The project has successfully passed a huge number of regulatory, political, commercial and operational milestones.
And I will say briefly why it will go ahead.
It will go ahead because we have the expertise, the supply chain ready, the team ready, including our longstanding partners CGN, to build Hinkley Point C on time and on budget.
It will go ahead, and it will deliver 60 per cent of the project spend to UK suppliers.
We are confident in this project. We are confident in the EPR technology - an evolution to achieve higher standards of safety of the well-established and reliable PWR technology. EPR is a modern design which has already approved by the UK safety regulator.
It will go ahead because we have the strong support of the UK Government and of the French Government.
It will go ahead because we are confident regarding the financing of this project.
In a nutshell, we are confident and proud to be able to deliver this project because it meets the UK needs for reliable, affordable, low-carbon electricity.
It is a fair deal which is at the heart of this project. Fair for the customers. Fair for the investors.
The customers will not bear any risks during the construction of this project. We will bear those risks. And because we are confident in our ability to deliver, we are ready to take those risks.
So in conclusion you will see that we are here with a team with the same passion, the same vision, the same stamina and behind us there are hundreds and thousands of people ready to go ahead for this vital project.
Thank you very much.
Vincent de Rivaz' main comments to MPs:
HPC will go ahead and FID will be taken very soon
“I have said categorically that this project will go ahead. I am pleased to confirm that the final investment decision will be taken very soon.”
“Everybody is working on the final stages to make it happen."
“What is the challenge we are facing as a Group? Huge investments, investment in existing nuclear plants in France, in networks, in energy services, in all sorts of activities that we have in France and other countries. Hinkley Point C represents 15% of this amount of investment so there is a large chunk of investment the company has to deliver. At the same time, the wholesale market has dropped dramatically (in six months, since October 35%) so there is an issue coming from that. It’s more strain on the finances of the group. So we are discussing actively with our shareholder, the French government to find a solution to this financial equation. And the good news I’m confirming is that these discussions are in the final stage which has allowed the French minister of the economy to say what he said. We are going to find a solution which is not going to be one solution only it’s a combination of solutions that any company facing these challenges must deliver with the support of its shareholder.”
“Hinkley Point C is absolutely critical and it has the full support of the French government as it has the full support of the British government and I think that everything is aligning at the moment very positively.”
‘Final stage’ of discussions with the French government.
“What has been said publicly is that there is a combination of solutions. One is, from the shareholder, something that can increase the capital of EDF in another form. That’s a technical detail which will be discussed and a solution found. The second avenue which is a normal decision for a company facing choices, investing in priority projects is to divest in non-strategic assets. That’s a natural thing to do. The third thing is obviously to continue, as any company should do, to reduce its costs to increase its operational performance and those are the type of avenues that we are working with 100% confidence that a solution will be found, shortly.”
“EDF is 70 years old. It’s a great company. It’s a world leader. It’s the most successful power company in Europe.”
HPC is fair for customers and fair for investors
“At the heart of this price, there is a long process which has been scrutinised, challenged here in Britain and in Brussels and both processes have concluded that it is a balanced deal because it reflects the costs to build this plant, the cost to operate it for 60 years and it reflects the fair return for the investors – a return which is commensurate with the risks they are going to take during the construction and they are going to take ALL the risks during the construction and commensurate with the need to attract investors in a world where the UK government has decided a long time ago that the taxpayers will not pay for the construction cost and will not invest directly in the project. So that is the fair deal we have achieved. Fair for the customers, fair for the investors.”
“It is a great project. Yes I am passionate about it. The team is passionate about it.”