Published: December 20, 2013
Burnham-On-Sea's MEP backs EU probe into Hinkley Point expansion

Burnham-On-Sea's MEP has said she supports the European Union's investigation into whether the government's support for a plan to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point near Burnham is breaking state aid rules.

South West of England Member of the European Parliament Julie Girling said: "I welcome the Commission's investigation into Hinkley - they have a duty to ensure that the public are getting a good deal and aren't being sold a dead duck."

"The investigation from the Commission does nothing to take away from the simple fact this is a much-needed £16 billion worth of investment which will create 25,000 jobs, bring in billions in corporation tax and could see £100 million injected into the local economy every year during peak construction."

"Whilst you will hear lots of anti-EU rhetoric from the sidelines, I believe this is an issue where Europe can add value by ensuring that British taxpayers are getting the best deal possible. Hinkley will provide a clean source of home-grown energy; powering nearly 6 million homes and help the country keep the lights on."

"The UK has notified plans to establish a feed-in tariff ensuring that the operator of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will receive a stable revenue for a period of 35 years despite the volatility of the wholesale electricity price."

"When the market price at which the electricity is sold is lower than the strike price, the Government will pay the difference between the strike price and the market price."

"Conversely, when the market price is higher than the strike price, the operator will be obliged to pay the difference to the Government under the so-called 'contract for difference'. In either case, the nuclear plant operator will ultimately receive a fixed level of revenue and will therefore not be exposed to market risks for the duration of the scheme."

"The operator will also benefit from a State guarantee covering any debt which the operator will seek to obtain on financial markets to fund the construction of the plant."

"The Commission will assess whether the construction of a nuclear power station could not be achieved by market forces alone, without state intervention. The Commission will examine the 'contract for difference', the credit guarantee, as well as the planned level of public support, which is based on many assumptions about the future market situation, and may reach up to £17 billion depending on future electricity prices and the operator's actual capital cost."

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