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Campaigners call on Europe to block new nuclear subsidies

Campaigners call on Europe to block new nuclear subsidies

Utility Week, 2013-12-03

More than 100 politicians, industry experts and green energy campaigners are calling on the European Commission to reject public support for new nuclear power plants.
ck subsidy to Hinkley Point C
There is “no valid justification for subsidising nuclear power,” they argue in an open letter to Joaquin Almunia, EU Commissioner for Competition. “It diverts resources from other options that are better and cheaper.”

The coalition urges Almunia to investigate concerns with the support package proposed for EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C.

Labour MP Martin Caton tops the list of signatories, followed by Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans and Green MP Caroline Lucas. Dale Vince, founder of renewable energy supplier Ecotricity and Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy have also endorsed the message.

The open letter follows reports the Commission may be reluctant to give State Aid approval to the UKgovernment’s deal with EDF for Hinkley Point C. The first new nuclear plant in a generation, Hinkley is to get an inflation-linked “strike price” of £92.50/MWh for 35 years and a £10 billion loan guarantee.

There is understood to be scepticism within the Commission of the need for such significant levels of support for what is a mature and controversial technology. Recently updated State Aid guidelines set no specific advice on support for nuclear, leaving the Hinkley deal subject to interpretation of existing rules.

Almunia’s directorate is expected to give an initial verdict on the UK’s Electricity Market Reform programme, including the Hinkley deal, in January.

The final decision must be approved by a majority of commissioners.