EDF, in a press release on 27 January, announced some delays and cost increases at the Hinkley Point C project in the UK as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the statement added that, despite being affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, the project had made “significant progress in 2020 on site, in the design execution plans and on the manufacturing of equipment”.
EDF said that a detailed review of schedule and cost had been performed to estimate the impact of the pandemic, and had concluded:
- The start of electricity generation from HPC 1 is now expected in June 2026, compared with end of 2025 as initially announced in 2016.
- Project completion costs are now estimated in the range of £22-23 billion ($30-31.5bn) – up from a September 2019 estimate of £21.5-22.5bn.
- As a consequence, the projected rate of return (IRR) for EDF is estimated between 7.1% and 7.2%.
- The risk of delay of Hinkley Point C units 1&2 is maintained at respectively 15 and 9 months. The realisation of this risk would incur a potential additional cost in the order of £0.7bn. In this case, the IRR for EDF would be reduced by 0.3%.
Currently, the project is focused on lifting the dome for Hinkley Point C1 at the end of 2022. This assumes the ability to begin a ramp up back to normal site conditions from the second quarter of 2021.
Hinkley Point C managing director Stuart Crooks, said in a video message update on the EDF website that everyone involved in the project was looking forward to getting back to normal.
Crooks noted that many measures have been put in place to prevent infection and enable social distancing.
"In these very challenging circumstances, it's a considerable achievement that we hit 18 of our 20 milestones last year, with the last two not far behind. That is being done with fewer people on site and with considerable disruption among our suppliers."
Crooks added that there has been careful monitoring during the pandemic. “At the start of the crisis we postponed some of our work in order to create space and keep people safe onsite. The aim was to bring in additional resources to catch up that lost time but, 10 months on, it's clear that the pandemic is still in full force.”
Because of the reduction in staff the project has lost some three months of schedule time in 2020 and could lose a further three months in 2021 “assuming that the conditions allow us to ramp back up the resources following Easter”.
It is the first time EDF Energy has adjusted the schedule for Hinkley Point C since the project started construction in 2016.
Photo: Hinkley Point C (Credit: EDF Energy)