Hinkley Point deal uncertain, once again

03/12/2013 10:12 Electricity Market

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The European Union is likely to open an official inquiry into whether the Hinkley Point nuclear deal breaks the EU rules on competition. Britain in October signed a deal with EDF to build a nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England and became the first European country to offer a guaranteed power price over 35 years for a new nuclear project. Britain has said it is confident it will get clearance, but a formal European Commission probe could take years, throwing uncertainty over the nation's plans.

Under strong rules from Brussels, state governments are not allowed to get implicated in the free market on a large-scale, that’s why the EU is considering whether the 35-year-deal is too long and tantamount to state backing of a private deal. The EU officials said Brussels was likely to investigate the deal to make sure it conformed to the state aid rules. The commission frowns on national governments offering deals to companies that stifle competition and alter the market. Moves by the commission to obstruct or completely alter the nuclear deal may cause a major dispute between UK and EU officials as numerous Conservative MPs and some other parties are strictly opposed to Europe's influence over UK policy.

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