EDF boss in robust defence of nuclear strike price talks

EDF Energy boss Vincent De Rivaz today told UK MPs that he made no apology for trying to secure a “reasonable profit” from nuclear strike price negotiations.

EDF is in talks with the Department of Energy and Climate Change over the contract for difference – or strike price – for the company’s proposed new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, in England.

Contracts for difference form a cornerstone of the UK government’s Energy Bill. They are a guaranteed price paid to energy firms for the power they generate.

The strike price is the final hurdle to be overcome before EDF signs off on its investment in a new plant at Hinkley Point.

There has been criticism that EDF’s talks with DECC are – and will continue to be – shrouded in too much secrecy, but speaking at a meeting of the government’s Energy Bill Committee today, De Rivaz assured MPs that the final strike price result would “pass the trust test, and will pass the transparency test”.

Barry Gardiner MP suggested – while stressing that he was levelling an accusation at EDF – that there is a “perverse incentive” for nuclear companies to load their construction costs to get a better strike price.

But De Rivaz said it was simplistic to assume that any company would enter strike price talks without planning to get a “fair deal”.

“Yes, we are going to ask for a reasonable profit. We are a force for good. It is time to respect investors.”

He also stressed that despite the cost overruns of EDF’s Flamanville nuclear site in France, “the construction cost of Hinkley Point is the cost that we are going to deliver. It is fit for purpose.”

When asked if he thought the Energy Bill would be good for EDF’s business, he replied:  “It is there to deliver policymakers’ policies. It is fair.”

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