Energy projects like Hinkley Point threatened by Brexit

5th April 2017 | Commercial Energy

Energy experts have warned that vital energy projects including Hinkley Point C are under threat due to Brexit. This includes interconnectors used to import cheap electricity from Europe. Such projects could be at risk if the energy sector is denied entry to Europe’s internal energy market. This looks increasingly likely after the European parliament passed a resolution opposing “piecemeal or sectoral provisions” for individual UK industries.

Experts said plans by French power firm EDF to build two new reactor at Hinkley Point C could be affected. Hinkley is anticipated to provide 7% of UK electricity.

Hinkley Point C

Antony Froggatt, senior research fellow Chatham House, said EDF is concerned that Brexit will make it harder to import skilled nationals to build Hinkley. “I was at a conference recently where EDF were saying their main concern about skills was specialised steel fitters for the construction of Hinkley. They said there were not enough in the country to build Hinkley and therefore this is the main area that they’re concerned about.”

This staff shortage could be exacerbated by staff shortages by the building of the HS2 high-speed rail link. This will compete for the same steel fitting expertise.

There are also concerns about interconnectors. These are considered increasingly important as Britain turns to renewable energy, as they allow electricity to be imported to make up shortfalls when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. There are plans to build 14GW of interconnectors between the UK and countries including Norway, France, Belgium and Iceland. But building them could prove less attractive to investors if the UK cannot remain part of Europe’s internal energy market.

Anything which deters investors from building interconnectors could force the UK to spend on other projects to provide electricity at short notice.

So energy projects like Hinkley Point C are threatened by Brexit.

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