regulators launch probe into Hinkley Point C nuclear plans
Union regulators are to investigate whether the government's support
for a plan to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point
near Burnham-On-Sea breaks state aid rules.
energy giant EDF is leading a consortium building the £16bn
Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.
government has guaranteed power prices from the plant for 35 years
and the the European Commission said on Wednesday that it wants
the views of third parties because of the unprecedented scale
of the Hinkley deal.
Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement:
"The Commission needs to investigate thoroughly its impact
on the UK and the EU internal energy markets."
UK's Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, responded by saying the announcement
was "standard for large investment projects and was always
part of the process for Hinkley."
will use this period to demonstrate how the project meets state
aid rules and provides good value for consumers while cutting
carbon in the energy sector" he added.
As well as the debate about whether the UK should build any new
nuclear plants at all, questions have been raised about the minimum
price EDF will be paid for electricity produced at Hinkley Point.
is scheduled to begin producing power in 2023, and the government
has guaranteed a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour (Mwh),
regardless of what the current market price is at the time.
this week Ineos, one of the UK's biggest energy consumers, warned
that the terms of the Hinkley deal made the power too expensive.
Ineos said it had recently agreed a price of £37.94 (45
euros) per Mwh in France itself.
When running at full capacity the new Hinkley plant is expected
to generate about 7% of the UK's electricity.
was joined recently by two Chinese companies, China General Nuclear
Power Group and China National Nuclear Corporation, who plan to
take a combined 30-40% stake in the consortium building Hinkley.