Britain’s Energy Policy In Doubt

nuclear power plantIt is time to pull the plug on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. EDF cannot afford to build it and we cannot afford to buy its premium-price electricity. Hinkley risks doing to British nuclear power what Monsanto did to genetically modified crops: killing it for a generation. We have to get away from these behemoth schemes, built like one-off moon-shots, and harness the cost-cutting benefits of the mass production of smaller units. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 7 March 2016

Electricite de France SA Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal quit after expressing concern that a final investment decision on the U.K. Hinkley Point reactor project could be announced as early as April, a move he said might jeopardize EDF’s financial situation, people with knowledge of the matter said. EDF shares dropped as much as 9.6 percent in Paris trading, the biggest intraday decline since June 2014. –Francois De Beaupuy, Bloomberg, 7 March 2016

Thomas Piquemal, the finance director of EDF has performed a significant public service by resigning and focusing attention on the continuing problems around the UK’s Hinkley Point nuclear project in Somerset. I cannot remember the last occasion when the CFO of a major company resigned over an issue of policy. A resignation like this is not usually the end of the story. It will be hard now for Mr L√©vy and the EDF board to press ahead regardless. All the questions above and more ill have to be answered. M Picquemal’s departure makes the postponement of Hinkley more rather than less likely. ‚ÄìNick Butler, Financial Times, 7 March 2016

Thanks to government policies deliberately distorting the market, we have over-invested in wind and solar. It has blighted investment in reliable capacity that can keep the lights on. This is the crux of Britain’s energy crunch. Clearly it was a colossal mistake to have embarked on renewables with storage unsolved. –Rupert Darwall, The Daily Telegraph, 7 March 2016

Britain’s biggest environmental charities have been accused of using public donations to campaign for staying in the European Union. The charities watchdog will on Monday issue new guidance on political neutrality after Friends of the Earth, The Wildlife Trusts and Greenpeace all made public comments backing EU membership. In the 1500-word guidance Charity Commission said that charity staff found tweeting support for either side in the referendum or putting up posters in offices would be “clear breaches of our guidance”. It also raises fears that pro-EU trustees could use the charities as a “vehicle” to push their own views about the EU referendum in such a way that would breach impartiality rules. — Ben Riley-Smith, The Daily Telegraph, 7 March 2016