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British Industrial History

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British Energy

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British Energy was the UK's largest electricity generation company by volume, before being taken over by EDF in 2009.

1996 British Energy was formed to operate eight UK nuclear power stations (AGRs and one PWR) transferred from Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear; the company subsequently acquired one coal-fired power station. The seven AGR power stations were Dungeness B; Hinkley Point B; Hunterston B; Hartlepool; Heysham 1; Heysham 2 and Torness and the PWR power station was Sizewell B; total of nearly 9,000MW of installed capacity.

2009 EDF Energy took control of British Energy, buying share capital from the government. This made EDF Energy one of the UK's largest generators. At the same time, EDF established NNB GenCo as a separate subsidiary for the construction of additional new nuclear plants. Centrica purchased a 20% stake in British Energy from EDF, and also had an option to acquire 20% of NNB GenCo.

2009 the British Energy subsidiary group was structured accordingly:

  • British Energy Group plc: holding company, a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF S.A.
  • British Energy Generation Ltd: dominant subsidiary; owned and ran the large power stations, was licensed to operate nuclear power stations.
  • District Energy Ltd: owned four modern 10 MWe natural gas fuelled power plants.
  • British Energy Renewables Ltd: participated in a small number of renewable power projects.
  • Lewis Wind Power Ltd: joint venture with AMEC to develop a proposed wind farm on the island of Lewis.

From 1 July 2010 the rebranding of British Energy locations and communications to EDF Energy commenced as part of its incorporation into the parent group, following around 17 months of dual branding. This was concluded with the renaming of the operating company from British Energy Generation to EDF Energy Nuclear Generation on 1 July 2011.


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