Hinkley a ‘well-designed transfer of risk’, says Hammond

The government will make a decision on Hinkley Point C nuclear plant by the end of the month, Chancellor Phillip Hammond told peers on the Economic Affairs Committee.

He was asked whether the project could be described as a “well-designed off -balance-sheet project”, since it would make a 10% return on investment – “twice that expected by infrastructure investors” – and there were “many questions over whether Hinkley Point C will ever be delivered”.

Hammond said EDF expected a 9% return. And he said that uniquely, it “transfers design, construction and operational risk entirely to the operator,” and as a result, “there is a very hefty insurance premium in there”.  He also said, “if the project doesn’t generate electricity it won’t generate a penny of return” and if the project is late that would not cost the consumer, and in fact there was a penalty to be paid by the company for late delivery. He insisted it was a “well-designed transfer of risk in an area where risk has never been transferred”.