Energy and Utility Management Consultants

EDF Energy gets Hinkley Point approval, Fracking delays continue

March 2013


Energy Secretary Ed Davey has told the House of Commons that he will be granting planning consent for EDF Energy to construct a new nuclear generator at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The proposals for the £14bn plant comprising of two 1.6GW reactors would be enough to power 5 million UK homes, and would greatly improve not only supply confidence, but also the local and national economy. The plant will be the first new nuclear power station since Sizewell B, which started operation in 1995.  Environmental groups have reacted and raised concerns over nuclear waste disposal, and have also made claims that the price of electricity will increase to cover the cost to build the new plant. A deal has yet to be struck between the government and the French company on how much EDF Energy are able to charge for electricity, so to assume that prices will increase may be a little premature.
Further interesting news is due from the cabinet as Energy Minister John Hayes is said to be considering making a statement on the short-term future of coal-fired energy generation in the UK. With new advances in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), the future of coal could remain vitally important to the UK energy mix, and could dictate exactly the role CCS will play. We’ll be interested to hear what Mr Hayes has to say, and more will be reported on this subject when available.

Cuadrilla, the company looking to commence fracking at Bowland Basin in Lancashire has said that testing and extracting will not start until 2014; pushing back forecasts of extraction starting during the summer of this year. With 200 trillion cubic feet of gas already found, tests must be made to find out just how much of that is realistically extractable, and further community consultations and environment risk assessments need to be carried out. A sensible approach given the issues that have had to be overcome (generally revolving around planning, contamination and safety); to rush into extraction now could be counter-productive and lead to more delays.
200 trillion cubic feet of gas is enough to provide heat to 3 billion homes for a year.

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