Nuclear energy price falls affect EDF (except at Hinkley C) so ramping up renewable energy (except at Hinkley C!)

“French state-owned energy firm EDF reported falling profits, including a downturn in the UK due to falling prices for nuclear power, improved energy efficiency among its household customers and the slide in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote.

Profits in the UK division, which includes EDF Energy, slumped by a third to €1.035 (£920m) as sales dwindled by €579m to €8.68bn, partly because UK customers pay their bills in pounds but the company reports its results in euros.

EDF said the decline of the pound against the euro had cost it €608m.

The company has faced criticism over delays and the cost of its £20bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. However, it has blamed a 12% fall in nuclear energy prices in the UK, where it is the market leader.

Revenues were depressed by lower home energy consumption among customers, with usage falling 1.9% due to “milder weather and rising energy efficiency”.

EDF, which is majority-owned by the French government, reported a 2.2% decline in overall revenues to €69.6bn, with profits down 16% to €13.7bn, excluding the impact of asset sales.

It said group results had declined due to lower prices in almost all of the regions where it operates and an exodus of nearly 1 million customers.

It was also affected by lower nuclear and hydroelectric output in its domestic market, where it is the dominant supplier with more than 85% market share.

Last year the company had unplanned outages at some of its 58 French nuclear plants, where reactors had to be shut down for safety reasons.

It lost 960,000 customers, shaving €341m off profits, blaming the exodus on heightened competition, including in the UK.

Chief executive and chairman Jean-Bernard Levy said the group’s profitability in the face of a “difficult market context” was evidence of EDF’s financial strength, adding that he expects a “rebound” in 2018.

He said the company would launch an “unprecedented” ramp-up of renewable energy this year, as France looks to reduce nuclear’s share of power generation from 75% to 50% by 2025.”

Be rich, live long, be poor, live short

The fall in death rates of England’s richest and poorest aged between 60 and 89
Group Fall in death rates*
Richest men
32%
Poorest men
20%
Richest women
29%
Poorest women
11%
Source: The LSP *Death rates measure the likelihood of somebody within this age range dying.
The fall in death rates charts an improvement in life expectancy.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/ever-live-determines-long-live/

Port Royal: Modesty (EDDC) versus ambition (Hugo Swire)

Owl reported last week in Hugo Swire’s grandiose ideas about redevelopment of Sidmouth’s Port Royal, including his suggestion to bring in Prince Charles’s design team:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/02/05/sidmouth-swire-fancies-flats-and-car-parking-at-port-royal-or-getting-prince-charles-in/

Thankfully, the district council has gone for a more “modest” plan. Swire bemoans this and says plans should have been more “ambitious”. Sadly, these days “ambitious” is a word often interchangeable with “greedy” in modern planning terminology!

“District chiefs will not bring in the Prince of Wales’ design team after they opted for a ‘more modest’ direction for Port Royal.

East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire said the Prince’s Foundation could create a development that has the community’s backing.

But a scoping study for the site revealed a number of ‘unresolved uncertainties’ so East Devon District Council (EDDC) has limited its proposals to marketing the Drill Hall. A spokeswoman said: “Had we felt that it was possible to go forward with a comprehensive redevelopment of the Port Royal site then the involvement of the Prince’s Foundation was certainly worthy of exploration.

“However, as explained, this is a much more modest and specific direction proposed that involves the Drill Hall site only.”

Sir Hugo told the Herald focusing the redevelopment on the Drill Hall would be ‘missed opportunity’ and it required an ambitious approach.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/modest-approach-to-port-royal-means-prince-of-wales-design-team-won-t-be-used-1-5395956

More storms, more floods

“Homeowners in the South West are being warned intense bouts of flooding are set to become more frequent.

The Environment Agency has launched the Flood Action Campaign to raise awareness.

Younger people are being encouraged to check flood risks as research shows 18 to 34 year olds are at the highest risk of fatality due to being less likely to perceive personal risk, the agency said.

Met Office records show intense storms are becoming more frequent, sea levels are rising, and since 1910 there have been 17 record breaking rainfall months or seasons – with nine since 2000.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-42892693

“Developers leave 420,000 homes with planning permission unbuilt, new figures show”

“The number of homes that have not been built despite receiving planning permission has soared in the last year, new figures reveal, meaning sites for hundreds of thousands of new properties are being left undeveloped.

More than 400,000 homes have been granted permission but are still waiting to be built, according to analysis published by the Local Government Association (LGA) – a rise of 16 per cent in the past year.

The data also shows developers are taking significantly longer to build homes than they were four years ago. It now takes an average of 40 months from planning permission for a property to be completed – eight months longer than in 2013-14.

The findings will probably raise questions over why developers are taking more than three years to complete homes, and in many cases failing to build them at all, at a time when the UK is building around 50,000 fewer properties per year than is needed to meet current demand.

In 2015-16, the number of homes in England and Wales that had received planning permission but not been built was

365,146

A year later that had risen to

423,544

Developers argue that a burdensome planning system stops them building properties more quickly, but the LGA said the new figures prove that delays are the fault of developers, not councils.

Councillor Martin Tett, the organisation’s housing spokesman, said: “These figures prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact the opposite is true. In the last year, councils and their communities granted twice as many planning permissions as the number of new homes that were completed.

“No one can live in a planning permission. Councils need greater powers to act where house building has stalled.”

Arguing that town halls need to be given greater freedom to borrow money to fund new homes, Mr Tett added: “Our national housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face. While private developers have a key role to play in solving our housing crisis, they cannot meet the 300,000 house-building target set by the Government on their own.

“We have no chance of housing supply meeting demand unless councils can get building again.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/developers-real-estate-homes-planning-permission-unbuilt-social-housing-crisis-figures-a8212641.html

“Britain’s bus coverage hits 28-year low”

“Britain’s bus network has shrunk to levels last seen in the late 1980s, BBC analysis has revealed.

Rising car use and cuts to public funding are being blamed for a loss of 134 million miles of coverage over the past decade alone.

Some cut-off communities have taken to starting their own services, with Wales and north-west England hardest hit.

The government has encouraged councils and bus companies to work together to halt the decline.

One lobbying group fears the scale of the miles lost are a sign buses are on course to be cut to the same extent railways were in the 1960s.” …

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42749973