Hinkley: no decision before September

Hopes for a positive investment decision for the Hinkley Point C nuclear project have been dashed again, by reports indicating the French energy company EDF will not make a decision until autumn this year. France's economy minister Emmanuel Macron, said in the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, that the project will go ahead but he doesn't expect confirmation until September.

This is the latest in a long running saga of delays to the £18bn Hinkley Point project.

The plant was originally expected to be delivering power by 2017. The latest estimation for completion of commissioning is 2025, but that relies on construction starting this year, which now looks highly unlikely. A decision had been due in May this year, before the latest announcement.

The project needs two thirds of its funding from EDF, which is 85% owned by the French state. The French government has backed the scheme, but members of the EDF board are understood to be split over whether the scheme should go ahead, with France's unions also urguing that the project should be put on hold due to the financial risks. EDF finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned early in March over his fears of the dangers the project could present for the company over the long term.

EDF has negotiated a substantial 35 year strike price of £93/MWh from the British government, but securing financial backing is still proving difficult. EDF's share price has fallen this year, as its struggles have continued with delivery of two other similar plants in Finland and France.

According to reports in the Financial Times,  Macron said EDF will make a decision after it has completed a capital raising of €4bn and consulted with unions.

The French FO union is reported to be pushing for a three year delay to the Hinkley project. UK contractors are still waiting to get started. Enabling works contracts worth £1.3 billion were awarded last year, subject to a final funding decision.