Blog: SSE energy chief broadsides EDF’s nuclear bargaining

A hideous row over spending on nuclear power has been brewing in the energy sector for quite some time. Now it threatens to burst into the open air like a […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A hideous row over spending on nuclear power has been brewing in the energy sector for quite some time.

Now it threatens to burst into the open air like a mushroom cloud over the new Energy Bill. That is, if it hasn’t already.

SSE’s chief executive Ian Marchant took the bold move of penning an article about how “opaque negotiations between Whitehall and Paris” are seeing the price for new nuclear power set “completely at the wrong level”.

You wonder whether he would have written the same article if his firm still had its stake in NuGen, but as it’s now full throttle renewables for SSE, the Scotch firm’s boss is clearly desperate to get his voice heard.

It’s a breath-taking swipe at rival supplier EDF, as he slaps a big old question mark over high prices for nuclear power – and goes to show just how tense the stakes are for suppliers right now.

Just imagine if energy summits were actual fights. It’s almost too easy to picture the Scottish supplier’s boss grappling a huge broadsword, brandishing it at de Rivaz’s delicate French fencing foil.

Although I hear Vincent is actually a cycling fan, marking that analogy null and void. Can you see Marchant perched on a bike versus the French boss in a Tour de France-style competition?

Unlikely – although this race for the best deal in the Energy Bill is certainly turning out to be a trial of endurance. The big question is: who will be the first across the finishing line?