EU to Approve UK Government’s State Aid Deal to Fund Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station 26Sep2014

EU to Approve UK Government’s State Aid Deal to Fund Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station

The European Union is to approve the state aid deal to fund the construction and operation of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, with the developer, EDF Energy. The EU’s Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, has said he would “propose to the college of commissioners to take a positive decision and in principle the decision should be taken during this mandate of the commission in October”.

The decision has delighted businesses with the Confederation of British Industry hailing news of what could be the first British nuclear plant in a generation. “THs deal has been a long time in the making, and will play a significant role in further securing and decarbonising our energy supply”, said Nicola Walker, the CBI’s business environment Director. The move has not proved popular with everyone however, with Mark Breddy from Greenpeace arguing that the commission is performing a U-turn, and Günther Oeittinger, the German energy commissioner, once describing the 35-year length of the proposed Hinkley contract as “soviet”.

In October 2013, the UK Government submitted the State aid notification for the Hinkley Point C investment contract to the European Commission following the announcement of the commercial agreement on key terms with EDF Energy. Earlier this year, the European Union announced that they were to launch an “in-depth investigation” into the UK’s plans to subsidise the construction and operation Hinkley Point C to determine whether it conforms to state aid rules. One of the main points to decide in this investigation was whether the construction of a nuclear power station could not be achieved by market forces alone, without state intervention. An investigation by the European Commission is a standard part of the state aid process for cases like Hinkley.

Hinkley Point C will generate enough home-grown power for nearly 6 million homes, approximately 7% of the UK’s electricity supply by 2025. In addition it is estimated that around 25,000 jobs will be created during construction with a massive investment by EDF and its fellow investors of around £16 billion to build the plant.

Zyda Law have been advising EDF Energy on various operational support and new build planning and environmental matters since 2007. Recently, our firm helped EDF secure consents for a Dry Fuel Store and an Emergency Response Centre at the Sizewell B nuclear station. If you wish to speak to a lawyer at Zyda Law, contact our Principal Solicitor, Paul Zyda (paulzyda@zydalaw.com or call 01789 413 949).