EDF Energy's CEO to step down after 15 years
Vincent de Rivaz, who helped secure Hinkley Point – the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation – will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of French giant EDF Energy after 15 years of service.
EDF’s attempts to revive Britain’s nuclear infrastructure began in 2008 when the development of Hinkley Point began. de Rivaz was vocal about the deal required to build the nuclear reactors in Somerset, and about the drawn-out and controversial process of contract approval.
After almost 40 years with EDF, 15 of them as CEO, and the last 10 being stuck in negotiations over Hinkley Point, de Rivaz is stepping down – though not, he insists, to retire. He is the longest-serving boss of any of the Big Six energy companies, and will be replaced by former Chief Financial Officer Simone Rossi. Rossi will be tasked with ensuring the Hinkley Point reactors are complete by 2025. An additional challenge lies in the fact that similar projects in France and Finland using the same reactor have finished far behind schedule and well over budget.
According to The Telegraph, de Rivaz stated: “I feel a duty of care and a duty of passion for EDF Energy and for EDF. It is my privilege to be able to serve EDF Energy and EDF until the moment I leave.”
de Rivaz joined the company in 1977 as a hydraulic engineer, and became Managing Director of the Hydropower Department in 1991. By 2002, he was Head of UK Operations, and a year later, CEO. He receives £1.2 million per year.
Rossi has a long history of consulting and finance management, becoming CFO of EDF Energy six years ago. de Rivaz put off his announcement to leave for several months until the business had chosen a successor, so it seems safe to say that EDF Energy is sure and confident of its choice.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.