EDF chief executive Henri Proglio (pictured) said the prospects for nuclear power in the US had been dealt a major blow by the “true revolution” of shale gas, which he said had “completely reshaped the landscape of electric power generation in favour of gas”.
Speaking at a news conference this morning, he said the “spectacular fall of the price of gas in the US, which was unimaginable a few years ago, has made this form of energy ultra competitive vis a vis all other forms of energy”.
“The circumstances for the development of nuclear in the US are not favorable at the moment. We are a major player in nuclear, but we are not obsessed by nuclear. Our development in the US will focus on renewable energy – that will be our vector of growth in the US.”
EDF is to pull out of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG), which it half owns as a joint venture with US energy company Exelon. CENG operates five US nuclear plants with a total capacity of 3.9 GW.
It has agreed a put option that allows it to sell CENG to Excelon between 2016 and 2022,at which time it will also receive an exceptional dividend from CENG of $400m.
Proglio was speaking as EDF unveiled its half-year results, which he said showed a “good operating performance”.
EBITDA was €9.7bn, up 6.9 per cent on last year, of which 6 per cent was organic growth. On the back of the results, EDF has revised up its operating performance targets for the year to 3 per cent of organic growth.
At this morning’s press conference in paris, Proglio said the colder than usual winter across Europe had played a part in lifting EDF’s results, as had heavy rainfall across many parts of the continent, which had boosted the company’s hydropower resources.