The European Commission has told Power Engineering International that no date has been set to make a final decision in the state aid probe into the UK government's deal with EDF over the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.
EDF is poised to make a final investment decision on Hinkley, which will be the first new nuclear power station built in Britain in 20 years. The final – and biggest – hurdle for the scheme to clear is the EU investigation into whether the government’s contracts-for-difference agreement with EDF complies with state aid rules.
Chief executive of EDF, Vincent de Rivaz (pictured), maintains that the deal – which guarantees a fixed price
to be paid by the government for the electricty EDF generates – will not contravene European Union state aid rules.
Speaking at an energy conference in London, Mr de Rivaz said: "I believe it complies with all state aid rules" and added that “it is the right of any Member State to decide their energy mix”.
He also said the need for Hinkley Point C – and the security of supply he believes it would bring – was underlined by events in Russia and Ukraine. “This creates a good context for Hinkley Point C."
He added: “We need in the UK to not be over-dependent on gas coming from some countries.”
Yizhou Ren, Press Officer for Competition at the European Commission, told Power Engineering International that a date hasn’t been fixed for a final decision.
“There are no deadlines in state aid investigations. Timing depends in particular on the complexity of each specific case.
"The measures by which the UK government intends to support nuclear energy are without precedent in EU state aid control and are also likely to have a significant impact in the UK and in the Single Market. The Commission therefore needs to take a close look but this case is being handled as a priority.”
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