Greenpeace publishes Monckton legal opinion warning that French government subsidies of Hinkley C would constitute state aid

22 Apr 2016

Monckton barristers Jon Turner QC, Ben Rayment and Julian Gregory have provided an Opinion for Greenpeace and Ecotricity which could have implications for the Government’s plan to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.

Hinkley Point C is the first of a new generation of nuclear reactors intended to be built by EDF in the UK.  The UK government has already agreed to provide significant state support for the project by, among other things, guaranteeing a strike price for the electricity produced for a period of 35 years.  That support was classified as state aid and was only authorised by the EU Commission following an investigation after being scaled back (a decision which is in any event under challenge before the European Courts).

The 85% French state-owned EDF has now said that without further state support from the French Government it will not participate in the project.   In their Opinion, the Monckton barristers consider the various packages of financial support reportedly under consideration.  They have advised that any further French state support for Hinkley would likely constitute state aid and would therefore need to be notified to and investigated by the EU Commission.  The Commission would need to take into account its likely impact of the state support on competition in the energy market and other forms of generation, including renewables.

The Opinion, published today, has been covered in the media on both sides of the Channel, including
Sky News
Financial Times
The Guardian
Les Echoes

Jon Turner QC, Ben Rayment and Julian Gregory were instructed by Harrison Grant on behalf of Greenpeace and Ecotricity.