Huge subsidies for Hinkley Point nuclear power station

Huge subsidies for Hinkley Point nuclear power station

On 8 October 2014, the European Commission gave the green light to the massive state aid that the UK government wants to give for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Votes were expressed against the decision by Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik (Slovenia), the Danish Commissioner for Climate Connie Hedegaard, Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn (Austria) and the head of Justice and Fundamental Rights Martine Reicherts (Luxembourg). German Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger voted in favour.

The plant will be built over the next 10 years with a total estimated cost of 31.2 billion euros (the most expensive in history) and installed capacity of 3.3 GW (7.7% of UK electricity production), divided between two EPR reactors of France’s Areva.

The project is owned by Edf with 45-50% while Areva has 10% and China’s CGN and CNNC 30-40%.

The subsidies are estimated at € 20 billion. The new power plant will use a “strike price” of 92.5 pounds (€ 117) per MWh generated for 35 years, which in nominal terms will grow to 279 pounds per MWh in 2058, the year in which the support expires.

Independent energy supplier Ecotricity is among companies and organisations considering a legal challenge against the European commission decision to approve the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Austria has also promised to fight the decision in European courts.

The decision to give the green light to Hinkley surprised many, as in January the European competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, who retires on 1 November, had earlier overseen a heavily critical report on the subsidy arrangements proposed by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). But he said he had changed his mind after making some changes to the original proposal.

Here’s a handy list of essential articles about the European Commission’s decision to approve the UK governments subsidies for the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

The Guardian: Hinkley Point C subsidy scheme being investigated by National Audit Office

The Telegraph: Hinkley Point nuclear energy deal under investigation by National Audit Office

The Guardian: Ecotricity considers legal challenge over EU go-ahead for Hinkley Point C

The Guardian: European commission approves Hinkley Point nuclear subsidy deal

This is money: Austria sees red over UK nuclear plant at Hinkley Point as it accuses EU of misinterpreting the rules over state aid

The Financial Times: UK agrees deal with EU on new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant (paywall)

The Financial Times: Tougher terms planned for Hinkley Point nuclear power plant (paywall)

World Nuclear News: Hinkley Point C contract terms

PV Magazine: Hinkley Point: The Commission’s credibility is at stake




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