The March deadline to give the £16bn Hinkley Point power station the final go-ahead for construction is unlikely to be met according to EDF. The construction timetable is now facing increasing uncertainty as a final investment decision could still be months away.
EDF has confirmed it is in “the final phase of negotiations, but that phase can take a considerable amount of time.”
Finance for the plans was intended to be in place in 2014, but this date was pushed back to March 2015 whilst talks with proposed stakeholders – including two Chinese nuclear firms financing the project – were finalised.
“This will allow a final investment decision to be possible in the next few months,” EDF said in a statement.
Legal challenges from Austria over EU state aid rules is also contributing to the uncertainty of the project. The Austrian government has said it intends to appeal against the European Commission’s decision to award subsidies totalling to £17.6bn to Hinkley Point.
UK diplomats have warned of a retaliation if Austria pursues its appeal.
It is anticipated that a final investment decision will be dekayed to the symmer at the earliest, or even as late as autumn. This would mean the original planned start on the project will have been delayed by over a year.