The proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk may not be feasible, EDF Energy’s UK boss told The Times, while the energy firm said it is discussing funding options with the government including using pension funds.
EDF Energy UK chief executive Simone Rossi told the newspapaer that the firm needs assurances from government that a “viable funding model exists” for Sizewell C this year. If EDF Energy believes the project is not feasible, it may stop its involvement in the project.
EDF Energy is currently in talks with the government over a funding model for the Suffolk nuclear power plant which would reduce costs for consumers. New Civil Engineer understands pension funds are being considered as a way to help finance Sizewell C.
Rossi told The Times: “This is the year where we need to understand whether this whole thing is really feasible or not.”
He added: “If we were to conclude that maybe it’s not feasible, then at that point maybe we say we are not in a position to continue the project.”
Rossi also said expected cost savings for Sizewell C could disappear if there is a “significant delay” between work on it and Hinkley Point C.
EDF Energy has said it expects construction costs for Sizewell C to be roughly 20% less than for the £19.5bn-plus Hinkley Point C plant. This is because the new plant would almost be a replica of Hinkley Point C, and because electricity grid connections are already in place at the Sizewell C site.
In June last year the National Audit office branded Hinkley Point C “risky and expensive”.
A spokesperson for EDF Energy denied Rossi’s comments were an ultimatum and said Sizewell C would benefit from an existing supply chain, while providing jobs for 5,600 construction workers.
The spokesperson added: “We are working with Government to look at alternative financing models because reducing the cost of capital can make a significant difference to the price for consumers. Financing models that create the conditions where institutional investors like pension funds can participate.”