The UK and French governments have pledged their commitment to developing safe nuclear energy, commercial opportunities and skills so as to:
Engage constructively with the European Commission’s State aid consultation on Hinkley Point C to demonstrate that the project meets State aid rules.
Work together to maximise opportunities for SMEs in nuclear supply chains
Develop skilled workforces through investing in joint training programmes and in research and development, and
Enhance capabilities in civil nuclear emergency planning and security.
The declaration, which comes ahead of national leaders’ discussions over the EU’s 2030 energy and climate policy framework, reiterates the two Governments’ shared view that nuclear power has a critical role to play in a cost-effective low carbon transition.
The move is the latest in a string of UK-French initiatives on energy and climate policy, including successfully pushing for the European Commission to propose a 40% EU domestic emissions reduction target for 2030, reflecting the importance of giving national governments flexibility over their own energy mixes and securing reform of the Emission Trading System.
The declaration paves the way for the two Governments to collaborate on constructing new nuclear power stations, to maximise opportunities for SMEs in nuclear supply-chains and to fund joint training and skills centres.
During the Franco-British Summit, hosted by the Prime Minister at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey and French Energy Minister Phillipe Martin met to discuss how the two countries can further work together to develop interconnectors, nuclear and renewable energy projects; secure an ambitious and early EU 2030 energy and climate package; and deliver a global climate deal at the Paris hosted UN climate conference in 2015.
The UK and French electricity markets are already linked by a 2GW interconnector, IFA. In 2013 the UK and French Governments supported three further potential links to become European Projects of Common Interest (PCI): ElecLink, Fablink, and IFA2.
Subject to regulatory approvals at the national and European levels, a final investment decision on ElecLink is anticipated in mid-2014 with the link becoming operational towards the end of 2016
Edward Davey said: “Our two countries have a shared interest in tackling climate change and developing low-carbon secure electricity which provides new green jobs and investment.
“To unlock the full benefits of the single energy market, European countries need to become more interconnected. So today, we agreed to continue our work to build more electricity interconnectors between our two nations.
“Our partnership on nuclear power has already borne fruit, with this Government’s agreement with EDF on key commercial terms for an investment contract that would enable Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.”