27 Sep 2014

Greens resist Hinkley

Molly presents a list of questions about Hinkley to Commissioner Almunia: he denies that a decision has been reached.
Green MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato, has reacted with fury to the news that the EU is set to approve billions of pounds of public funding for Hinkley C, the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation.

For several months, the EU has been investigating whether the Hinkley C deal is in breach of EU competition and state aid rules. Greens have always maintained that the contract with EDF, offering a strike price for its electricity of £92.50 per MWh – roughly twice the current wholesale price of power – as well as state credit guarantee of £10bn, are illegal state aids which breach European market rules.
Responding to the news, Molly Scott Cato said:
“A decision like this demonstrates why so many British people are sceptical about the EU. The rules on fair competition are perfectly clear but can apparently be ignored when there is a political deal to be made. Agreeing such a huge implicit subsidy for Hinkley will make it impossible for those who generate electricity in a clean and sustainable way to compete. It will destroy thousands of potential jobs in the renewables sector and set back South West innovation in the energies of the future.”
In the letter handed to Mr Almunia today, Dr Scott Cato demands a full justification for the decision to approve the deal and calls for the Commission to make public the full evidence on which the judgment was based . She urges constituents in the South West to write to Mr Almunia to express their shock and disappointment, asking him to think again. You ca write to him at 
The deal will still require approval from the outgoing EU commissioners, which includes several nuclear sceptics. Greens and a cross-party group of MEPs are now campaigning hard for the contract between the UK government and EDF to be dropped. As well as contravening EU rules, Greens in the Parliament argue the deal threatens the EUs sustainability objectives.

We've also been sent this press release from Stop Hinkley:

Campaigners call Hinkley Deal “Economically Bonkers”
Commenting on reports that the deal between the UK Government and EDF Energy to subsidise the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is on the verge of winning approval from competition authorities in Brussels, campaigners in Somerset stressed that no decision has yet been made.

According to media reports competition commissioner JoaquĆ­n Almunia supports the approval of public funding for the construction of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station.  However the final decision, which may happen soon, has to be taken by a college of all the European Commissioners.

The Stop Hinkley Campaign welcomed a letter sent by a group of over 20 academics, politicians and renewable energy companies to the European Competition Commissioner as well as Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and his successor Jean-Claude Juncker to urge them not to rush through any decision and warning that doing so could mean the decision would face legal action. (1)

The two proposed nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point will infringe single market rules on the internal energy market, if the £16 billion mega-project proceeds on its present basis. The project has not been subject to any kind of competition with alternative ways of providing the same service.

Irrespective of what we think about the possibility of an accident or routine emissions of radioactivity into the environment, or the fact that there is no solution to dealing with the dangerous waste, this deal is economically bonkers”, said Stop Hinkley Campaign spokesperson Allan Jeffrey. “Britain has 7 million homes with lofts that need to be insulated; 5 million with cavity walls that need to be filled and 7 million with uninsulated solid walls, (2) yet this deal will lock consumers into paying about twice the going rate for electricity until almost 2060 while the cost of renewable energy is falling rapidly. It would be hard devise a worse deal for consumers or tackling climate change if you tried.”

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