Germany’s Greenpeace Energy has served notice of its intention to file a lawsuit against the European Commission for approving state aid for the UK’s $25bn nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.

The pledge adds to an initial challenge set to be taken by the Austrian government on March 21st.

“Highly subsided nuclear power from this plant will noticeably distort European competitiveness,” Soenke Tangermann, managing director of Greenpeace Energy said in a statement, adding that it would affect prices at the power exchange in Germany and could also set a precedent.
Soenke Tangermann, managing director of Greenpeace Energy
“This effect will have economic disadvantages for committed green power providers like us.”

The project, to be built by French utility EDF at Hinkley Point in southwest England, is crucial for Britain’s plan to replace a fifth of its ageing nuclear power and coal plants in the coming decade while reducing carbon emissions.

The plan to pay a guaranteed price for power produced at the plant faces opposition from some other countries and some EU policymakers, as well as some other energy suppliers.

He added the group would file a plea for annulment at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg as soon the Commission’s approval was published.

Earlier this week there was some disagreement among prominent members of Austria’s legal community about whether the country would seriously pursue the suit. The UK has also threatened retaliatory measures if it is filed.

Doctor Peter Polak of Fiebinger Polak Leon Attorneys told Power Engineering International Austria’s actions were more of a gimmick to win votes in local elections,saying, “Either they won’t make a submission or they will but will then withdraw it. I don’t think they will ever file it.”

However Reinhard Schanda, a partner at the Vienna-based law firm Sattler & Schanda, told PEi “I am pretty convinced that the Austrian government will indeed file the lawsuit. As far as I can tell there is full consensus between the two parties in Austria’s government to go ahead with it. Neither party would be able to step back from this decision.”

“Nuclear power is utterly unpopular in Austria. The British diplomatic threat will only reinforce this consensus within the government.”  

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