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Will Austria Challenge Hinkley Point?

April 30, 2015

By Paul Homewood




PEI report:


The European Commission’s decision on Hinkley Point was published in the Official Journal on Tuesday, and there now commences a two month period whereby potential objections from Austria, Luxembourg and other entities can be recorded. If the decision is contested it may prove a fatal blow to the UK’s nuclear power ambitions due to the lengthy delays that would entail.
Dr Dorte Fouquet, Partner, BBH Brussels who has been advising Vienna on the matter of their objection to Britain’s flagship nuclear power project on the basis of State Aid contravention, told an audience at Platts Power Summit in central
London today that if Vienna presses on with its challenge it could set back construction of the Hinkley Point C project for around eight years based on average case statistics.
She added that were it to go unchallenged “this decision would be practically the end of the internal market”.
“This morning saw the publication of the decision in the Official Journal, the official EU text translated into all European languages. The clock is ticking now for those who want to oppose it – the general court has until July to receive any annulment pleas.”


The full story is here.


The Austrian govt has already indicated in recent weeks that it will not be deterred in pursuing action against the Commission once the decision enters official law.

Their challenge is a curious mix of both opposing nuclear, and opposing subsidies. I say curious because their is no EU law prohibiting nuclear, while the subsidy mechanism, Contracts for Difference, has not been challenged when it has already been used for renewable energy projects.

If the Austrians do decide to challenge, then it leaves UK energy policy in tatters. Hinkley Point was scheduled for coming on line in 2024, but it seems it could be put back to after 2030. Where the hell we are going to get our energy from in the meantime is anybody’s guess.

  1. April 30, 2015 1:11 pm

    And all because we keep giving Austria “nool pointe” at the Eurovision Song Contests.

  2. April 30, 2015 1:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Are the Austrians going to press ahead with this as a favour to anti-nuclear Germany, expecting some reward?

  3. Scott permalink
    April 30, 2015 1:45 pm

    I’m from the US. Why does Austria have any say in wheather or not the UK builds a nuclear power plant?

    • April 30, 2015 2:34 pm

      We have to obey our lords and masters in Brussels!

    • Pete from Austria permalink
      May 1, 2015 3:06 pm

      International law. Just like Boeing can drag Airbus/EADS to court (and frequently does), so can Austria do with EDF/UK. And it’s not per se about the construction of the power plant itself, but rather about the humongous and massive subsidies that it’s going to receive and Austria deems to be breaking the rules.

      • May 1, 2015 5:46 pm

        I can’t understand why the even more massive subsidies for offshore wind are not being challenged in that case.

        (Paticularly since Austria is landlocked!!)

      • Pete from Austria permalink
        May 1, 2015 8:07 pm

        Not sure – I do atmospheric physics, not law. From the official statement I can only infer that the main points of the challange (mature technology, etc.) wouldn’t be applicable for minor sources (wind, biomass, ..). Additionally, it seems that the total amount of subsidies for that single plant can’t be stated as the UK plans to pay EDF the difference to a strike price. Also, I do believe that 92.59 GBP per MWh strike price for the next 35 years (!!) is rather unprecedented, considering most NPPs seem to manage to get by with half of that.

        I would be surprised though if the challange were successful ..

      • May 1, 2015 9:16 pm

        Offshore wind gets about £150/mwh

        But a subsidy is a subsidy, no matter how much or what for.

        Please ask your govt to challenge our ludicrous wind subsidies and then we might get lower power bills

      • RockySpears permalink
        May 14, 2015 8:06 am

        Can I just ask if we, the British tax payers, cannot ourselves oppose the subsidy to wind power?.
        If foreign governments can object to our use of Taxpayer £s, surely we can?

        Any one know?

    • Cider permalink
      May 31, 2015 1:15 pm

      because its in what they call the European union in which all states have a right to a view,,,,not like the US dictatorship!!!!!!

  4. John de Melle permalink
    April 30, 2015 3:24 pm

    The petition to leave the EU has reached the required number. Thus, perhaps, Austria will be the first to quit the EU.,173624

    Let us hope that UK follows.

  5. sonja Christiansen permalink
    April 30, 2015 8:14 pm

    are the Austrian acting as frontman for Germany? The roots of the anti-nuclear attitudes should be explored, and hence the behaviour of Merkel. Did she close nuclear to defeat the greens and get a SPD-CDU Coalition into power, as some say. The green movements in Germany were initially anti-nuclear with racial overtones even …. but then there is the hankering for autarchy….. Somebody should tell them that they can’t export to the world if the don’t buy from it, and energy remains a major import.

  6. Cider permalink
    May 31, 2015 1:11 pm

    This power station must not be built with public money full stop!!!! if it is to go ahead which the local people do not want anyway them EDF as owners must fund the bill themselves and when it is generating whatever the unit price is at the time that’s what they will get!!!! no subsidy,,,,as an x Hinkley worker I can tell you they make fantastic profits anyway part of my job was to convey daily manuscripts to all department heads etc,,,

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