A deal between the UK Government and EDF Energy was deemed “appropriate” by the EU Commission today, giving the final go-ahead for nuclear plant Hinkley Point C.
The planned Somerset power plant will be paid £92.50 per megawatt of power.
The Commission’s competition watchdog looked at this to make sure it didn’t breach European rules by skewing the EU’s single energy market.
Commission Vice-President Joaquín Almunia said “significant” changes to this deal meant it passed muster.
The changes include forcing EDF to stump up more cash for a guarantee, now £1 billion goes to the UK Treasury, plus any extra profits above a set level made must be “better shared” with consumers.
Hinkley will provide up to 7% of the country’s energy needs, generating enough power for nearly six million homes.
EDF Chairman Henri Proglio said the power plant had reached an “important milestone”, while EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said it showed the proposed “strike price” for nuclear power is “fair and balanced for investors and consumers now and for the long term.”
The chair of trade body Nuclear Industry Association, Lord Hutton of Furness hoped the news would “set in train an important time for the nuclear sector in the UK as new build projects get under way to replace the current ageing generation”.
CBI Director-General John Cridland agreed it was a “real opportunity for growth” of the economy with thousands of jobs.
Anti-nuclear campaigners at Friends of the Earth called it a “shocking decision”, adding to the “mountain of nuclear waste”.
The group’s Policy and Campaigns Director Craig Bennett complained: “UK households and businesses will now be forced to pay for nuclear power at twice the current market price for the next 35 years.”
Angela Knight who heads up supplier trade body Energy UK said it was an “essential part” of making sure the UK’s electricity supply for the future is secure.