State Aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Czech support for new nuclear power plant in Dukovany
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether public support that Czechia plans to grant for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Dukovany is in line with EU State aid rules.
The beneficiary of the measure would be the Elektrárna Dukovany II (‘EDU II'), a company set up to carry out the project, which is fully owned by the ČEZ Group (the main incumbent in Czechia with the Czech government holding about 70% of the shares).
The Commission's investigation
In March 2022, Czechia notified the Commission of its plan to support the construction and operation of a new nuclear power plant in Dukovany, with an electricity generation capacity of up to 1200 MW. Dukovany is already the site of an existing nuclear power plant.
The new plant, which is scheduled to start operating in 2036, should increase the security of electricity supply for Czechia and for neighbouring countries, helping the decarbonisation of the energy sector and diversifying the Czech energy mix.
Czechia plans to support the construction of the new nuclear power plant through three measures: (i) a low-interest repayable State loan expected to cover 100% of the construction costs (approximately €7.5 billion); (ii) a power purchase agreement between EDU II and a State-owned company for the lifetime of the project (60 years) - according to the Czech authorities, this would lower the power purchase price and allow for price adaptations every 5 years; and (iii) a mechanism to protect the ČEZ Group and the State in case certain unforeseen events occur (e.g. if the Czech law changes and makes the realisation of the project impossible). The ČEZ Group contribution to the project will be approximately of €0.18 billion.
At this stage, based on its preliminary assessment, the Commission has found the project necessary and considers that the aid facilitates the development of an economic activity. Nevertheless, there are doubts on whether the measure is fully in line with EU State aid rules. For this reason, the Commission has decided to open an in-depth investigation in relation to:
- The appropriateness and proportionality of the three components of the measure. Given there are three different aid channels that together can limit the risk for the beneficiary, it is important to ensure that overall no more aid than what is necessary is ultimately granted. In particular, whether the duration of the power purchase agreement is justified taking into account the other two measures;
- The impact of the measures on competition in the market and whether this is kept to the minimum. In particular, the Commission has doubts on:
- Whether there could have been other companies interested in acting as project promoter instead of CEZ.
- The market impact of the decision to set up a specific State-owned company for the resale of the nuclear electricity, in particular considering that it is unclear if this future entity will aim at maximising its profit.
The Commission will now investigate further to determine whether its initial concerns are confirmed. The opening of an in-depth inquiry also gives Czechia and interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
Latest News from
EIB to support Ryvu Therapeutics' discovery, research and development of new cancer treatments with €22 million18/08/2022 15:25:00
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing €22 million (above 100 million polish zlotys) in financing to Ryvu Therapeutics, a Polish clinical-stage drug discovery and development company focusing on novel small molecule therapies that address unmet medical needs in oncology. The funding is being provided under the EIB's venture debt instrument, which is tailored to the specific financing needs of high-growth innovative companies.
State aid: Commission approves €218 million Bulgarian scheme to support agricultural producers in context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine18/08/2022 13:25:00
The European Commission has approved a €218 million (BGN 426 million) Bulgarian scheme to support certain agricultural producers in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
State aid: Commission approves modifications to Polish scheme, including €5.1 billion budget increase, to support companies in context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine12/08/2022 13:25:00
The European Commission has approved modifications, including a budget increase of €5.1 billion (PLN 24.5 billion), to an existing Polish scheme to support companies across sectors in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine: the EU has coordinated the delivery of more than 60,000 tonnes of life-saving assistance12/08/2022 12:25:00
As of yesterday, the EU has coordinated the delivery of 66,224 tonnes of in-kind assistance to Ukraine from 30 countries via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
State aid: Commission finds no aid given to Greek industrial parks manager ETVA VIPE12/08/2022 10:25:00
The European Commission has concluded that certain public measures in favour of industrial park manager ETVA Industrial Areas SA (‘ETVA VIPE') do not constitute State aid within the meaning of EU rules.
Collé receives EU financing for further electrification of rental machinery12/08/2022 09:25:00
Collé Rental & Sales has signed a €50 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on performance of exemption for liner shipping consortia11/08/2022 15:25:00
The European Commission recently (09 August 2022) launched a call for evidence inviting feedback on the performance of the EU legal framework which exempts liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules (Consortia Block Exemption Regulation or ‘CBER').
COVID-19 vaccines: Commission and Moderna adapt delivery schedules for late summer and winter11/08/2022 14:10:00
The European Commission and Moderna have reached an agreement to better address Member States needs for COVID-19 vaccines for the late summer and winter period.