Fears of UK blackout as French-built nuclear power stations facing delays

Fears of UK blackout as French-built nuclear power stations facing delays

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GB News
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 27/02/2024

- 18:44

Research predicts that by 2028, the UK will have an energy shortfall equivalent to seven million homes

Blackouts in the UK could occur by 2028 due to delays to French-built nuclear power stations, new research has revealed.

Analysis by Public First predicts that delays to the Hinkley Point C, built by French power company EDF, coupled with increased demand due to net zero as well as the closure of existing stations, could lead to electricity chaos.

By 2028, researchers predict that the country’s demand for power will exceed baseload capacity by 7.5 GW at peak times.

Alongside the shortfall, which is equivalent to the power used by over seven million homes, older energy sources will be shut down as the UK makes the switch to net zero. In September, the last remaining coal-fired power station will cease production.

Man using a candle as a light/Hinkley Point C

Delays to French-built nuclear stations could lead to a blackouts in the UK by 2028


EDF have also snapped up another UK nuclear project – Sizewell C – which it promises will “support 70,000 jobs across the UK and contribute around £4 billion to the local economy”. However, the project has also been plagued by delays.

Meanwhile, the demand for electricity will also rise as Britain shifts away from fossil fuels.

The analysis comes after French finance minister Bruno Le Maire demanded that Britons must pay more to cover the costs of power station delays.

French-built Hinkley Point C, which was first approved in 2016, has been delayed repeatedly. The updated competition date has been pushed to 2031, with cost increases pushing the bill up to £46billion.

This is an eye-watering 150 per cent increase on the original price of £18billion from eight years ago – equivalent to £700 for every person in the UK.


EDF Energy logo

The French-energy supplier is building the new nuclear stations


Le Maire had already spoken to Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho about the request but said he was planning to have “discussions” with Hunt to cover the increased costs.

The UK Government has not budged on paying up; last month, a spokesperson said: “Any additional costs or schedule overruns are the responsibility of EDF and its partners and will in no way fall on taxpayers.”

The report was commissioned by Drax Power, the owner of the controversial Drax power station that once burned coal but now burns wood chips from America to generate power.

The taxpayer-funded generator is responsible for around four per cent of electricity in the UK.

Family sitting at home with candles and eating pizza during blackout

Research predicts that by 2028, the UK will have an energy shortfall equivalent to seven million homes


It said that due to expected shortfalls in supply, the UK will have to turn to countries like France and Norway for international generation.

The analysis said the expected gap in power by 2028 would be “more than three times the secure power that Sizewell C [the UK’s planned next nuclear project, which is also led by EDF] will be capable of providing – 2.5GW – and nearly double the gap in 2022 (4GW)”.

Daisy Powell-Chandler, head of energy and environment at Public First, said: “Setbacks in bringing new nuclear and offshore wind online, the retirement of generation assets and increasing power demand will create an energy crunch point in 2028.

“But the challenge of keeping the lights on is not set in stone: policymakers have a suite of levers they can pull to ensure that we have a more secure, diverse, and sustainable energy system in the future.”

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