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Commission: UK State Aid Measures for Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant Compatible with EU Rules
Posted By Mutthias Leng On October 8, 2014 @ 20:43 In Electricity,Environmental Politics,Europe,Nuclear | Comments Disabled
In a landmark ruling, the European Commission has today decided that state aid proposed for the new UK nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point is compatible with European state aid rules.
The decision is likely to be controversially discussed in the coming months, and will materially influence the national and European legal state aid discussion in the wider energy area.
The decision came after the Commission had initiated an in-depth investigation into the project on 18 December 2013. The Commission had voiced doubts that the project suffers from a genuine market failure. Many details of the concern are contained in the publicly available official letter to the UK government . The Hinkley Point opening decision was taken on the same day as the Commission decided to open in-depth inquiry into the German EEG 2012 support for energy-intensive companies benefitting from a reduced renewables surcharge.
In a press conference document, Commissioner Joaquin Almunia pointed out that the choice to promote nuclear energy is a choice by the UK. As under Article 194 of the TFEU Member States are free to determine their energy mix, choosing to support nuclear energy lies within national competence. However, for the enforcement of state aid rules, the Commission has to ensure that public support measures do not endanger competition in the Single Market.
For nuclear power, the Commission assess each specific case directly under the TFEU rules. Commissioner Almunia expressly noted that there are no specific guidelines specifying how the Commission is to assess state aid measures in favour of nuclear energy investment projects, as the Commission had decided not to include this matter in the recent guidelines on state aid for energy and the environment from April .
Commissioner Almunia summarised key elements of the decision as follows:
Based on those considerations the Commission concluded that the aid measures foreseen by the UK are in line with EU state aid rules.
Commissioner Almunia finally assured in the press conference document that the decision will not create any kind of precedents, and that possible new nuclear energy investment cases will be assessed on their own merits.
An initial FT press reports mentions that four EU Commissioners unusually voted against the decision, and that a lawsuit may even be prepared by Austria.
The full text of the Commission’s decision is not yet available. It will surely be closely reviewed by many, and provide further input for the European energy and state aid debate.
Source: Press conference document European Commission 
Article printed from ManyElectronics Blog: http://germanenergyblog.de
URL to article: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=17053
URLs in this post:
 had initiated an in-depth investigation : http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1277_en.htm
 official letter to the UK government: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases/251157/251157_1507977_35_2.pdf
 Commission decided to open in-depth inquiry : http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=14984
 recent guidelines on state aid for energy and the environment from April: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=15664
 An initial FT press reports : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/372216e6-4ec0-11e4-b205-00144feab7de.html#axzz3FaESndXO
 Essent Belgium Case: CJEU Rules in Favour of Flemish Green Energy Certificate Scheme: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=16899
 EEG 2.0: Commission Approves EEG 2014 Paving Way for Entry into Force in August: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=16273
 Ålands Vindkraft: Swedish Green Electricity Certificate System Complies With European Free Movement of Goods Rules: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=16161
 Federal Administrative Court Confirms Illegality of Moratorium Shutdown Order for Biblis Nuclear Power Plants: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=15094
 Fiscal Court of Hamburg Orders Preliminary Refund of Nuclear Fuel Rod Tax in 27 Cases Totalling EUR 2.2 bn: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=15697
 President Wulff Signs Nuclear Energy Exit Law – First Acts from Energy Law Package Promulgated: http://germanenergyblog.de/?p=6892
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