Months more delay to Hinkley C

A final decision on funding for the Hinkley C nuclear power station will not happen this week as expected, Infrastructure Intelligence has learnt, putting the £18bn scheme and £1.3bn of enabling works on hold. A decision was expected at an EDF board meeting today, but according to reports in the Financial Times, Hinkley C did not make it onto the board's agenda because of further difficulties with securing funding for the project.

The Hinkley C nuclear plant was once expected to be delivering power by 2017. Latest estimates are for a 2025 completion date, but even that now seems unlikely given that several more months' delay is expected before funding is finalised.

These latest developments cast fresh doubt over the UK's energy policy and government's ability to deliver major infrastructure schemes with foreign private sector investment. Government has been hoping to be able to announce that Hinkley will go ahead with a package of funding agreed jointly by government, EDF and the Chinese nuclear investor GCN. The contribution from China was agreed in October, but EDF's funding is yet to be finalised. Accordding to the FT, the French energy company is struggling on Hinkley C due to problems with delivery of other similar nuclear plants. The company's share value has also taken a hit, reducing its ability to leverage long term loan agreements.

A DECC spokesperson said: “It is not our position to comment on the final investment decision which is amatter for EDF. But good progress continues to be made so that Hinkley can provide clean, affordable and secure energy. Last month we gave planning consent for the National Grid connection to Hinkley. UK companies will benefit from much of the work, and thousands of jobs will go to people living near to the new site."

Enabling works contracts worth £1.3bn were announced by EDF last year, but these deals are subject to a final funding decision. Project management contracts were awarded to Mace, Jacobs and Turner & Townsend, according to reports in Construction News. EDF declined to comment on today's developments.