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Austria To Challenge Hinkley Point Deal

June 25, 2015
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By Paul Homewood

 

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http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2015/06/austria-to-file-lawsuit-against-hinkley-point-decision-on-monday.html?eid=296412419&bid=1104932

 

Whoops!! 

 

From PEI:

 

The Austrian government has declared that it will launch its much threatened legal challenge to the European Commission decision that facilitates the construction of Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant on Monday.
Chancellor Werner Faymann said after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, "We cannot accept that a technology such as this being portrayed through subsidies as being modern, sustainable and future-oriented."

 

 
"This is a further important step in our anti-nuclear policy, which aims to make Europe nuclear-free in the long run. Subsidies should support new and modern technologies, which is not the case with nuclear energy," he said.
While British interests maintain that the legal basis for the decision is sound and do not expect Austria to go through with a challenge, Vienna’s action could
seriously damage UK energy policy by derailing the project for five to eight years.
The Austrian case is that nuclear should not qualify for state subsidies. The complaint, to be filed next Monday, "is also of symbolic value against nuclear power", the centre-left chancellor said.
Despite opposition from activists and several member states, the
European Commission approved the Hinkley Point project – where France’s EDF is to build two  reactors – in October, after the UK modified funding plans for the £16bn deal.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We are confident that the European Commission’s state aid decision on Hinkley Point C is legally robust and have no reason to believe that Austria will submit a challenge of any merit."
Environmentalists see Hinkley Point as an unnecessary support of nuclear energy just when the use of renewables, such as wind and solar power, is beginning to take hold.
But the EU Commission insists that the choice of energy source, no matter how controversial, is strictly up to member states.


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 at the end of April 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.

 

Unless the EU throw this challenge out straightaway, this will be a massive blow to UK energy plans, which rely almost entirely on nuclear power to provide baseload by 2030 under decarbonisation plans.

Hinkley Point is reckoned to have a 10-year construction time, so a delay of 8 years would push the start up forward to 2033, always assuming the project is allowed to go ahead.

It is interesting to note that the Austrians have confirmed that their challenge is nothing to do with the fairness or otherwise of subsidies, but is intended to further their aim of a nuclear free Europe.

10 Comments
  1. Joe Public permalink
    June 25, 2015 10:50 am

    Yet another reason to get out of the EU.

  2. BLACK PEARL permalink
    June 25, 2015 3:40 pm

    Well we’ll just build more cheap coal power stations like Germany
    We’ve got a 1000 years of coal just off Tynemouth in the North East
    http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/drilling-date-set-north-seas-6896191

    Between that and shale we’re well sorted for an independent future of cheap energy

  3. 3x2 permalink
    June 25, 2015 4:21 pm

    Environmentalists see Hinkley Point as an unnecessary support of nuclear energy just when the use of renewables, such as wind and solar power, is beginning to take hold.

    That will be the same stuff that has provided (I’m being generous) 5% of our (current) power needs over the last 24 hours. One wonders where the other 95% is coming from in future, assuming de-carbonisation, without Nuclear? Complete fantasy.

    Fun to see the reality of an energy policy designed by (EU) 28 nations though. What is it they say about a (insert favourite) designed by committee?

    • Kartoffel permalink
      June 25, 2015 7:58 pm

      at that price de-carbonisation is a dream

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    June 25, 2015 5:42 pm

    But the EU Commission insists that the choice of energy source, no matter how controversial, is strictly up to member states.

    That’s good, I’d like lots of nice coal and gas plants please.

    As for the Austrians, well considering how much of their electricity they get from hydro (according to wiki) it’s not suprising that they favour renewables.

  5. June 25, 2015 5:53 pm

    If Britain builds it anyway, what are the Austrians going to do about it? The EU can hardly fine a country for something it has already approved.

  6. Kartoffel permalink
    June 25, 2015 7:46 pm

    … is reckoned to have a ten year construction time … well, in Olkiluoto in Finland and Penly in France … but why not be optimistic? Any gas station can be built in 2 years for less than half of 50% of the price. New North Sea gas field discovered by BP and GDF Suez but you better ask Prince Charles or Mr Rivaz.

  7. catweazle666 permalink
    June 26, 2015 7:39 pm

    It was a lousy deal in the first place, vastly overpriced, technologically unproven thoroughly out-of-date PWR reactors that even the French are having trouble with, both in France and Finland, financed with utterly unrealistic subsidy rates. There was a serious stench of brown envelopes pervading the whole deal.

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2859924/finland_cancels_olkiluoto_4_nuclear_reactor_is_the_epr_finished.html

    So in some ways, the Austrians are doing us a favour.

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