U.K. Towns Near EDF Nuclear Plant Offered $195 Million

U.K. communities near Electricite de France SA’s planned new nuclear power station in southwest England will get as much as 128 million pounds ($195 million) for hosting the project under government plans announced today.

Residents near eight planned projects in England and Wales will get benefits worth as much as 1,000 pounds per megawatt of capacity per year for four decades, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said today in an e-mailed statement. EDF’s plan to build two Areva SA reactors totaling 3,260 megawatts at Hinkley Point in Somerset is the most advanced of the projects.

“It is absolutely essential that we recognize the contributions of those communities that host major new energy projects,” Energy Minister Michael Fallon said in the statement. “This package is in the interests of local people.”

The plan is at least the third set of incentives announced this year by the U.K. to persuade communities to host energy projects, from shale gas rigs to wind farms. The government is trying to spur the 110 billion pounds of investment it says is needed in new power plants and grid upgrades in order to keep the lights on and meet carbon emissions targets.

Communities near each exploratory shale gas well will get payments of 100,000 pounds as well as 1 percent of revenues from production sites, the government said in June. The U.K. also that month increased fivefold the benefits for hosting onshore wind farms to 5,000 pounds a megawatt per year, as well as giving locals greater say over siting onshore wind farms.

Under today’s plans, local authorities will be allowed to keep an increased share of business taxes collected from nuclear power plant operators for 10 years. Local communities around the plants will then receive funding from the central government for a further 30 years, the energy department said.

EDF, Hitachi Ltd., Iberdrola SA and GDF Suez SA plan a combined 16 gigawatts of new nuclear power stations in the U.K.