12 Nov 15

Cannington Court Opening Speech - Vincent de Rivaz, CEO EDF Energy

Good morning.

I am delighted you could all join us today at this official opening of Cannington Court – and thank you to the Minister for making the time to be here.

It’s a big day for us, and for me personally.

The culmination of six years’ hard work and planning.

I am pleased that so many of those who have shared the Cannington Court vision are here today…

Our local MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger.

The leaders and councillors of Somerset, Sedgemoor and West Somerset councils, and the Cannington Parish Council. 

Representatives from our supply partners… 

… and from Bridgwater College

And, of course, our own Janet Hogben and Dave Drury, and members of the Campus Programme Board, without whom our vision could not have been realised.


Cannington Court

Cannington Court
is about the long-term.

It is about the chain that links the past, through the present, to the future.

For me, today is the realisation of a vision that we set out several years ago when we chose the ancient buildings of Cannington Court to be the hub of our modern training facilities in EDF Energy, known as Campus.

You may not know it, but in the 12th Century, Cannington Court was a Benedictene nunnery.

A place steeped in history.  A place for reflection, learning and improvement.

I wanted to take that heritage and bring the place back to life.

To re-ignite the spiritual ambition of the past as a human ambition for the future.

I hope you agree that the teams – EDF Energy and our supply partners – have done a fantastic job.

We have taken a Grade I listed building and respectfully turned it into a state of the art training, learning and development facility.

We have installed pioneering learning technologies.

… digital tools to discover new ways of learning.

… a high class simulator, and the latest virtual reality hardware.

We’ve powered these historic buildings with a ground breaking energy system, designed by our R&D and B2B teams.

It uses ground source heat pumps and solar thermal technology, coupled with solar photovoltaic technology, to generate electricity.

A technological first.  Providing over 50% of our energy needs.

Made for a low carbon future.

And undertaken as part of a restoration of a building that is many centuries old.


A Force for Good

The restoration of an historic building is only part of the story.

The EDF Energy Campus at Cannigton Court is about our long-term commitment to being a Force for Good. 

To developing our people.

We are a company that invests in the long-term development of its people.  They reward us with their long-term loyalty and commitment.

It is our responsibility to give them the opportunities they expect to develop and to realise their potential.

And by that I mean all our people. You know EDF Energy is a company with a deep commitment to inclusion and diversity – particularly gender diversity. So, as the centre of our Campus network, Cannington Court is a place for all our people.

I want our apprentices to work here with our executive team; our graduates to be in sessions with our senior managers.

This mixing will remind us that we, too, are a link between the past and the future, just like the building.

The people who lead and run our company today with safety as their first priority are the stewards of what was built by our predecessors.

People who took visionary decisions in the past to invest in the infrastructure that powers Britain today.

We are merely today’s custodians of our company and industry. 

And in turn we will pass the baton to the next generation.

Cannington Court
is a place where that can happen. Where we can nurture talent wherever it is found and equip people for fulfilling careers.

In this digital world, that face-to-face contact is still vital.  So I want every single EDF Energy person to visit Cannington Court in the coming years.

Actually, I insist that they do!

Our partners

Cannington Court
is also a place for our partners. 

…for academic partners such as Imperial College

… for delivery partners such as Laing O’Rourke

… for our training partners such as Bridgwater College

And of course for our colleagues in EDF Group.

Cannington Court
will truly be the place where together we build the future.

The modern world requires us all to learn to work better in partnerships.

This is a place where we can all learn to succeed together, using new models of collaboration.

That’s what Cannington Court is about.

That’s what EDF Energy is about.

One company, with a long-term vision.



Delivering a long term vision requires us to focus also on the short term. To be innovative and nimble.

The world is changing fast.

We need to be agile.

To anticipate .

To be ready today to deliver what our customers will want tomorrow.

We invest over £40 million a year in the UK in research and development.

And our Blue Lab – EDF Energy’s dedicated innovation platform – exists to develop these new products, services and business models for our customers.

We have a range of academic partnerships across the country. 

The Imperial College Centre for Nuclear Engineering is helping us extend the lives of our existing nuclear power stations. 

And our partnership with Bridgwater College is training the people who will deliver Hinkley Point C, the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations.

By the way, having Hinkley Point so close by will mean that everyone visiting Cannington Court will have the chance to visit the largest construction project in Europe.

Who else can boast that about their facilities?


Investment in Somerset

Of course, this is no accident. 

When I made the decision back in 2011 to commit to Cannington Court, I did so in part because I was so confident in our ability to deliver Hinkley Point C.

will be the centre of the transition to the UK’s low carbon future, leading the country’s nuclear renaissance.

As well as at Cannington Court we are helping Somerset people to develop the skills to be part of it through our partnership with Bridgwater College and at the Construction Skills Centre in Cannington.

So you can see, we are committed to Somerset for the long term.



Concluding remarks

Looking around me today, I am filled with pride and confidence about what we can achieve.

Celebrating and building on what has gone before.

And turning our eyes to the future.

Where better to do this than at Cannington Court, this very old, yet very modern site?

So thank you again for celebrating with us today.  And thanks again to the Minister for joining us.

I am truly grateful for all her support.

And now, it is my pleasure to introduce the Energy Minister to say a few words.

…Andrea Leadsom

For more information contact:

Gordon Bell
Senior External Communications Manager - NNB
01278 654535
07843 218088

EDF Energy in the South West

In the South West EDF Energy employs around 4,000 people across three key sites; at Hinkley Point in Somerset, at Barnwood, near Gloucester, and at Exeter. We operate Hinkley Point B power station, which employs around 550 staff and 220 contract partners. A new nuclear power station, capable of supplying around 5 million homes, is planned at Hinkley Point, subject to a final investment decision. We have an operational support centre at Barnwood, while Exeter is home to one of EDF Energy’s three UK-based call centres. As well as currently generating enough power for some 1.5 million homes in this region, EDF Energy also provides gas and electricity to 610,000 customers with over 20% of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products backed by low-carbon generation. We make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power some of the largest companies in the UK, including sites for the Ministry of Defence, Tesco Stores Limited, Morrisons and Everything Everywhere, right here in the South West.