EDF moving out of gas, out of coal … and may be out of Dungeness this year

EDF Energy has announced it will sell its only gas-fired power station,  the 1332MW CCGT at West Burton B, and a 49MW battery on teh same Nottinghamshire site, to institutional investor EIG.

Headquartered in the USA, EIG specialises in private investments in energy and energy-related infrastructure and it had $22.0 billion of assets under management on31 December 2020. Its clients include pension plans, insurance companies, endowments, foundations and sovereign wealth funds in the US, Asia and Europe.

The  parties aim to complete the transaction as soon as possible in 2021, subject to all applicable regulatory authorisations.

West Burton B went into operation in 2013. 

The sale comes less than a month after EDF announced it would close its last reamining coal-fired station, West Burton A, by 30 September 2022. Over the next 18 months two of the four 500MW coal units will be available purely to meet capacity market commitments, in order to assist with security of supply.

EDF’s managing director for the Generation business, Matt Sykes, said: “With EDF’s power generation strategy firmly focused on nuclear and renewables – and in this key year for UK leadership on climate change – we now believe it is the right time to provide clarity to our employees and all those connected to the site.”

Dungeness B may close 

Meanwhile, EDF has said it is considering options including permanent shutdown this year for the Dungeness B nuclear plant, whch has been in outage since September 2018 and was previously forecast to return to service in August 2021 and remain in service until 2028.

The company said the station has “unique, significant and ongoing technical challenges that continue to make the future both difficult and uncertain,” many of which date back to its design in the 1960s as a prototype. It said, “Major investments have been made to repair and upgrade the station over many years, including more than £100million in this current outage. A number of significant technical risks still remain”.

It added, “Given the unique technical challenges noted above, a range of scenarios are being actively explored. These include moving directly into the defuelling phase later this year – if return to service cannot be achieved – bringing forward the end of generation date, or continuing until the scheduled date of 2028.”

It expects to have  the technical information required to make a decision “in the next few months”.

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