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#EDF seeks building consent for Britain's #SizewellC nuclear plant

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French utility EDF has submitted an application to Britain’s regulators to build the £17-18 billion Sizewell C nuclear plant in the east of England, it said on Wednesday (27 May), writes Susanna Twidale.

The application, known as a development consent order, made to the UK’s Planning Inspectorate was expected in March but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sizewell C is the second new nuclear plant EDF hopes to build in Britain, following the Hinkley Point C project which is expected to be completed in 2025.

If built Sizewell C will be capable of providing enough electricity to power around 6 million homes and create 25,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships, EDF said.

“Sizewell C...will offer thousands of high-quality job opportunities and long-term employment,” Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Managing Director, Sizewell C said in a statement.

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Some local residents have objected to the application being submitted while there are still restrictions on public gatherings that would allow local people to discuss such plans.

EDF said it would put extra measures in place to make it easier for local communities to scrutinise the proposals, such as extending the pre-examination period.

EDF hopes to fund the project using a structure that would allow the company to be paid during the construction phase, cutting the development risk and allowing it to secure cheaper financing.

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Proponents say this type of financing, previously used in Britain to finance infrastructure assets such as water and electricity networks, would ultimately lower the cost for consumers.

However, critics say it will leave taxpayers liable for any cost over-runs and delays.

EDF’s Hinkley Point C project, which will be Britain’s first new nuclear plant in almost two decades when complete, has suffered several delays is now expected to cost around 21.5-22.5 billion pounds.

EDF expects Sizewell C to be around 20% cheaper than Hinkley.

China’s CGN, which has a 33.5% stake in Hinkley C also has a 20% stake in the development phase of Sizewell C.

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Energy

Nine EU states oppose energy market overhaul in response to high prices

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Germany, Denmark and seven other EU countries have opposed overhauling the bloc's electricity market in response to high energy prices, a move they said could increase the cost of adding renewable energy to the system in the long run, ahead of a meeting of EU ministers today (2 December), writes Kate Abnett.

Energy ministers from the European Union's 27 member countries will meet on Thursday to debate their response to energy prices that surged to record levels in autumn as tight gas supplies collided with soaring demand in economies recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint statement, the nine countries urged the EU to stick with its current energy market design. Price caps or different systems of setting national power prices could discourage electricity trade between EU countries and undermine incentives to add low-cost renewable energy to the system in the long run, they said.

"We cannot support any measure that would represent a departure from the competitive principles of our electricity and gas market design," the countries said.

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"Deviating from these principles would undermine the cost-effective decarbonisation of our energy system, jeopardise affordability and risk security of supply."

The statement was signed by Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia and the Netherlands.

EU countries have splintered over how to respond to high prices, with Spain and France among those seeking an overhaul of EU energy regulations. Madrid has led calls for EU countries to buy gas jointly to form strategic reserves.

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Other governments are wary of long-lasting regulatory reforms to respond to what they say could be short-term price spikes. Many EU countries have already introduced temporary measures, such as subsidies for households and tax breaks, to lower consumer bills.

While gas prices have retreated from the record highs recorded in early October, they are still relatively high in countries including the Netherlands, where prices began climbing again in recent weeks amid forecasts of a cold weather.

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Foratom

Role of nuclear in a low-carbon Europe updated study published

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According to a report produced by Compass Lexecon, a future low-carbon system based on variable renewables (vRES) will require the backup of additional flexible capacity. In this respect, nuclear provides a key competitive advantage as it is the only dispatchable, low-carbon and non-weather dependent technology which can support the energy system transition under secure conditions.

“According to the report, not only would the early closure of nuclear power plants trigger an increase in consumer costs, it will also result in negative environmental impacts,” said FORATOM Director General Yves Desbazeille. “These include an increase in CO2 emissions and other air pollutants, higher raw material usage and greater land use impacts.”

According to the report, the early closure of nuclear would

  • Lead to increased CO2 emissions by 2025, thus hampering the increased 2030 climate mitigation ambition;
  • requires new thermal capacities in order to ensure security of supply, triggering an increase in air pollutants as follows:
    • SO2: 7.7% increase in total SO2 emissions over 2020-2050
    • NOx: 7% increase in NOx emissions over 2020-2050
    • Particulate Matter (PM): 12% increase in total PM emissions over 2020-2050
  • require new solar and wind capacities in order to meet environmental objectives, which would generate an estimate derived from the literature of 9890 km2 of additional land requirements or 7% of total land use between 2020-2050.

Furthermore, nuclear has the lowest raw material footprint of all large-scale, low-carbon energy technologies.

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Based on the assessment, FORATOM has identified the following policy recommendations:

  • Recognition of the fact that nuclear energy is an affordable solution which will help the EU to achieve its climate ambitions and ensure security of supply.
  • Avoid the early closure of nuclear power plants as this risks derailing long term decarbonisation goals.
  • Subject all low-carbon technologies to the same robust and scientific assessment to ensure a sustainable transition.
  • Develop a market design which supports all low-carbon technologies
  • Recognise the contribution of nuclear to a sustainable hydrogen economy

The report takes into account the following developments:

  1. As a result of Brexit, all of the European Commission’s new long-term scenarios now focus on the EU27.
  2. The EU’s updated decarbonisation targets for both 2030 (with an increase from 40% GHG emission reductions to at least 55%) and 2050 (from 80 to 95% GHG emission reductions to net zero emissions).

The European Atomic Forum (FORATOM) is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. The membership of FORATOM is made up of 15 national nuclear associations and through these associations, FORATOM represents nearly 3,000 European companies working in the industry and supporting around 1,100,000 jobs.

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Energy

Commission proposes new list of Projects of Common Interest for a more integrated and resilient energy market

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The European Commission has adopted the fifth list of energy Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). These are key cross-border energy infrastructure projects for building a more integrated and resilient EU internal energy market and pursuing our energy and climate goals. This fifth PCI list comprises 98 projects: 67 projects in electricity transmission and storage, 20 in gas, six CO2 network projects and five smart grid projects. All PCI projects are subject to streamlined permitting and regulatory procedures and eligible for financial support from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

The 67 electricity transmission and storage projects on the PCI list will make an important contribution to the increased renewable energy ambition under the European Green Deal, while five smart grid projects will improve efficiency of the networks, cross-border data coordination and safer grid management. No new gas infrastructure project is supported by the proposal. The few, selected gas projects, which have already been on the 4th PCI list, are projects that are necessary to ensure security of supply for all Member States. A strengthened sustainability assessment has led to a number of gas projects being dropped from the list.  

Today's list is established under the existing Trans-European Network-Energy (TEN-E) Regulation. In December 2020, the Commission proposed a revision of the TEN-E regulation which would end the eligibility of oil and gas infrastructure projects for future PCI lists and create an obligation for all projects to meet mandatory sustainability criteria as well as to follow the ‘do no significant harm' principle as set out in the Green Deal.

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Following its adoption by the Commission today, the Delegated Act with the 5th PCI list will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council. Both co-legislators have two months to either accept or reject the list – a process which can be extended by a further two months, if needed. Based on the applicable legal provisions, the co-legislators do not have the possibility to amend the draft list.

More information

Delegated regulation on 5th list of Projects of Common Interest
Annex on the 5
th list of Projects of Common Interest (5th PCI list)
Staff Working Document on the 5th list of Projects of Common Interest
Q&A on 5
th list of Projects of Common Interest
Projects of Common Interest webpage
PCI interactive map
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

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