European Commission Probe an Interference for Hinkley
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
The European Commission has completed its probe into the validity of funding by government for the building of Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station. The deal was made between EDF and UK government and has been labelled as illegal state aid in the report from the EC, but is being viewed as interference by the other parties concerned.
Vice president of the European Commission Mr Joaquin Almunia informed government of the decision and has said that the handing over of such large subsidies is not legal. The EC believes that other projects that do not involve such large subsidies can be built before 2030. They have also said that EDF would gain excess profits which would deter competition. Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger who is an MP for West Somerset has said that the EC are trying to interfere and would like to see the UK in the dark. He says that waiting for other opportunities to build a power plant are counterproductive as Nuclear is needed as a matter of urgency.
EDF and their partners have been guaranteed a price of £92.50 per MWh for the span of the 35 years that the Nuclear Power Station will be in production. This is twice the current price for electricity, but with increases in energy costs could very well be in line when the facility is ready to go live. The subsidisation will come from consumer energy bills.
The nuclear plant is already 5 years behind its original schedule and the investigation has only caused further delays on the project. The Somerset Chamber of Commerce has said that support for the station still remains high, with more than 1,550 local businesses already signed up to the supply chain needed to build the project. EDF have said that the EC decision will be followed by consultation, as this is the first such project in the low carbon energy field with this type of financial agreement and that it will pave the way for further projects to be taken into consideration down the line.
EDF has said that they will comply with the EC and UK as the inquiry continues, and has in the meantime launched some joint initiatives that it hopes will bolster the UK’s nuclear industry involvement.
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