Government and the EC

The UK government

Letters, emails, and memoranda

  • Letter to Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, 2011-04-05.
  • Email and letter to Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, 2010-05-26.

    • Reply, 2010-07-06.

  • Follow on letter to Chris Huhne MP, 2010-07-22.

    • Reply, 2010-09-22 (this is a plain text transcription of the printed letter).

    • Reply with comments.

Government reports and consultations

  • DECC: Energy Bill 2012.

  • DECC: Electricity market reform: keeping the lights on in the cheapest, cleanest way:
    • Planning our electric future: a White Paper for secure, affordable and low-carbon electricity (full version), July 2011.

    • Planning our electric future: technical update, December 2011.

  • Committee on Climate Change

    • Renewable Energy Review (2011-05-09).

    • Government accepts Committee's 4th Carbon Budget advice, committing the UK to a 50% cut in emissions by 2025 (on 1990 levels) - 17 May 2011

  • DECC Consultation on Electricity Market Reform (closed 2011-03-10).

    • Energy and Climate Change Committee: Electricity market reform:

      • Energy and Climate Change - Fourth Report: Electricity Market Reform.

      • Energy and Climate Change - Additional (Unprinted) Written Evidence: Electricity Market Reform.

      • Coalition announces transformation of power market (DECC press release, 2010-12-16).

    • Carbon price floor (HM Treasury consultation, deadline 2011-02-11).

      • Finance Bill 2010-11. Michael Meacher says Clause 77 provides subsidy for nuclear power.

    • Articles and news reports:

      • Nuclear gravy train starts to roll (Michael Meacher MP, blog, 2011-06-06).

      • The UK carbon price floor: how to enhance its credibility with investors (PDF, Climate Change Capital, March 2011). The Government’s carbon price floor policy, as currently proposed, is unlikely to command investor confidence. It needs to gain credibility if the Government wants to successfully attract new low carbon investment into the UK, says a report published today by Climate Change Capital (CCC), the investment manager and advisory group. Investors will highly discount the value of the current policy because it will be implemented through the tax system. Investors would have to hope that every year Parliament will continue to vote for increasing carbon price support until at least 2030. This is highly unlikely say the authors.

      • Nuclear power is the reason for the new energy regulations (The Guardian, 2011-03-11, Catherine Mitchell).

      • Businesses express concerns over Electricity Market Reform (, 2011-03-10).

      • Carbon floor price proposals 'will not build investor confidence' (, 2011-03-11).

  • Enquiry by the Energy and Climate Change Committee: "The UK’s energy supply: security or independence?"

    • Response to "The UK’s energy supply: security or independence," an enquiry by the Energy and Climate Change Committee, February/March 2011, by Gerry Wolff, 2011-03-29. A slightly updated version is Response to "The UK’s energy supply: security or independence," an enquiry by the Energy and Climate Change Committee, February/March 2011 (updated), 2011-04-04.

  • Nuclear power generators will face £1bn in clean-up costs after an accident (The Observer, 2011-01-23). See also Seven-fold increase in liability for nuclear sites announced (DECC press release, 2011-01-24), Nuclear clean-up costs face big rise (FT, 2011-01-24). Comment: BP is likely to pay $41 billion or more for the Gulf oil disaster. From World Nuclear Association: "Germany has unlimited operator liability and requires €2.5 billion security which must be provided by the operator for each plant. This security is partly covered by insurance, to €256 million."

  • Energy and climate change - third report: The revised draft National Policy Statements on energy, 2011-01-18.

  • Greg Barker plants seeds for growth in microgeneration industry (DECC press release, 2010-12-22)

    • The consultation document.

    • Consultation procedure (deadline, 2011-03-16).

    • What is conspicuously missing from the microgeneration strategy is any recognition of 'negawatts' and, in particular, the role of super-insulation in reducing the need for generation.

      • Evidence that the Government is, tacitly, aiming for an all-electric society: NFLA New Nuclear Monitor 23 (see, in particular, section 3: "All electric society?").

      • The Government does recognise the need for insulation (see Huhne demands greater lagging effort from energy suppliers) but does not yet appear to recognise the importance of super-insulation (see Zero-carbon eco-renovation).

  • Consultation on a methodology for determining a Fixed Unit Price for waste disposal and updated cost estimates for nuclear decommissioning, waste management and waste disposal, May 2010:

    • Email response, with attachment (PDF, 56k).

    • Greenpeace response (PDF, June 2010).

    • Hidden subsidies and new nuclear (PDF, Greepeace briefing, June 2010).

  • 2050 Pathways Analysis, August 2010. Contains links to the 2050 Pathways Analysis document itself, the 2050 Pathways calculator tool, and the 2050 Pathways Calculator Excel model.

    • Response by Gerry Wolff, 2010-08-24, PDF, 64 KB.

  • Consultation on the revised draft National Policy Statements for Energy Infrastructure. See also Statement on Energy Policy by Chris Huhne (Written Ministerial Statement), 2010-10-18.

    • Publications

The coalition Government, 2010

The Lib-Con coalition Government established following the UK elections in May 2010 has made a commitment that any new nuclear power stations should "receive no public subsidy" ("The Coalition: our programme for government", page 17).

If this commitment means what it says, none of the subsidies identified in the Nuclear Subsidies report will be provided for any new nuclear power stations.

The Energy Fair group, with others, will be working to try to ensure that the Government honours its commitment. With regard to the seven types of subsidies described in the Nuclear Subsidies report, we will be pressing the Government to ensure that:

  • The operators of any new nuclear power stations should pay the full costs of insurance against accidents, disposal of nuclear waste,  decommissioning of nuclear plants, and so on.

  • Where there is uncertainty about what costs may be in the future, the operators of any new nuclear plants should be required to take out appropriate insurance. If such insurance cannot be obtained commercially, the operators should be required to pay premiums to the Government as the insurer of last resort. In this case, the size of the premiums would be calculated by independent actuarial experts.

We will also be working to try to ensure that the Government's declared intention of creating "a floor price for carbon" is exactly that, and not some back-door subsidy for nuclear power.

Relevant news will be posted on this page.

New forms of support for the nuclear industry?

News reports suggest that, despite the subsidies described in the Nuclear Subsidies report, nuclear companies and investors will not be prepared to build new nuclear power stations in the UK unless they receive even more support (see, for example, 'More incentives needed for nuclear', says Energy Minister Charles Hendry, Daily Telegraph, 2010-11-05). It appears from that report that the main kinds of support that are being considered are:

  • A floor price for carbon emissions or something else that may be portrayed as a floor price for carbon emissions.

  • Capacity payments for low-carbon electricity generation: "This would reward companies for making their electricity generation capacity available to the grid, even if it is just as a back-up.".

  • An obligation on suppliers to provide a certain proportion of low-carbon power or contracts-for-difference in the electricity market.

With the possible exception of the first item, it is likely that these forms of support would be subsidies for nuclear power, additional to those described in the Nuclear Subsidies report. Whether or not they may be regarded as subsidies is discussed in the following pages:


  • EDM 150 10-11 Nuclear power and public subsidies (Paul Flynn).

  • EDM 557 10-11 Enquiry into new nuclear power stations (Martin Caton).

Questions and statements in Parliament

  • 2012-09-13 (transparency in setting of strike price).

The EC

Hinkley Point


  • EC web pages about state aid

  • Vademecum: Community law on State aid

  • Application of EU law

    • Infringements of EU law

    • Exercise your rights

    • State aid

European Commission and state aid

  • Open letter to Commissioner Almunia: No valid justification for subsidising nuclear power. Sent December 2013.

  • Letter sent to MEPs, 2012-04-19.
  • Hansard, 2011-05-24:

    Barry Gardiner (Brent North) (Lab): I welcome the green investment bank. Will the Secretary of State confirm, however, that the EU Commission has written to the Government expressing its concerns, under state aid rules, that the Government’s proposals in the electricity market reform for contracts for different feed-in tariffs and a floor price for carbon may constitute a subsidy for nuclear? If it has done so, will he make the letter available in the Library?

    Vince Cable: I cannot confirm that. If the information is available, I am sure we can pursue it in the proper way. As it happens, I met the Competition Commissioner last week and he did not refer to that, but he is alerted to the green investment bank state aid application, and he will deal with it professionally, I am sure.