* EDF Energy to supply 3.2 TWh a year
* Network Rail is UK's biggest single electricity user
* Share of electric rail network to rise to 54 from 40 pct
By Henning Gloystein
LONDON, Jan 11 British railway operator Network
Rail has awarded EDF Energy a 10-year contract to
provide the power needed to boost the electric railway network
by the end of the decade, the companies said on Friday.
They said in a joint statement the agreement would see EDF
Energy supply around 3.2 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity a
year, powering a network which carries 3 million passengers and
tens of thousands of tonnes of freight a day.
"Currently only 40 percent of the rail network is
electrified. By 2020, 54 percent of the network will be
electrified," the statement said.
"Our work to electrify hundreds of miles of railway
represents the biggest programme of rail electrification in a
generation and will provide faster, quieter and more reliable
journeys for millions of passengers while cutting the cost of
the railway," Network Rail's chief executive David Higgins said.
The statement did not give a monetary value of the contract,
but at current wholesale spot market prices of around 50 pounds
($80.53) per megawatt-hour the 32 TWh to be delivered over 10
years would be worth about 1.6 billion pounds.
EDF Energy, a subsidiary of French government-controlled
EDF, said the deal was a vote of confidence in its plans to
build new nuclear power stations.
"Network Rail is the biggest single electricity customer in
the UK so this long term deal is a massive vote of confidence in
our nuclear-backed energy," EDF Energy's chief executive Vincent
de Rivaz said.
EDF Energy is Britain's largest nuclear operator and plans
to build four new nuclear power stations in the next decade to
replace the company's ageing existing fleet in the country.