Decision to invest in Hinkley Point C nuclear power station
Nuclear power station projects in Europe are having a polarising effect. While Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power, new nuclear power facilities are being built in other EU states. Last week, EdF decided to build the nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C. However, London seems to be reluctant about it. Whether the plant will be a commercial success is disputed. Whatever the case, the United Kingdom would have to provide significant state aid. This would not be in the form of a one-off payment, but instead a guaranteed price for 35 years from the time of commissioning of the power station, plus additional guarantees and other commitments by the British government.
The legality of the planned subsidies is just as politically controversial as the nuclear power station project itself. The European Commission originally approved the subsidies for Hinkley Point C power station on 8 October 2014 (Decision (EU) 2015/658; SA.34947). Austria and Greenpeace Energy have filed legal actions to the General Court of the European Union calling for the annulment of this approval which is still to be decided on (Cases T-356/15 and T-382/15).
Martin Geipel and Helge Heinrich dealt with the issue of the legality of the subsidies in the “Jahrbuch 2016 zum Beihilferecht” (2016 Yearbook on State Aid Law) (NVW Verlag, Vienna, ISBN 978-3-7083-1093-0). If you have any questions on this subject, please contact Helge Heinrich or Martin Geipel by e-mail. If you would like a PDF of this article, please let us know.
Any questions? Please contact: Martin Geipel and Helge Heinrich
Practice Group: Energy, Antitrust & Competiton