The European Commission (EC) has approved France’s plan to provide state aid for the 400MW Landivisiau gas-fired power plant in Brittany.

The combined-cycle plant is being constructed in Landivisiau by Compagnie Electrique de Bretagne (CEB), a consortium of Direct Energie and Siemens.

The EC has laid a condition that the power plant should not sell its electricity output through long-term contracts to any entity having a share of over 40% of the electricity-generation capacity market in France.

According to the EC, the conditional approval is to address power supply security concerns in the French province and is both proportionate and necessary.

EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The construction of the Landivisiau power plant in Brittany will help making sure that there are no electricity blackouts in Brittany.

“At the same time competition on the electricity market is preserved. The Commission has worked closely with France to ensure that support for the construction of the power plant is in line with EU state aid rules.”

CEB had won a tender to construct the gas-fired power plant in 2012.

The tender to ensure that the concerns over the security of electricity supply in Brittany are addressed, offers a subsidy of €94,000 per megawatt per year for a 20-year period. In return, the tender seeks a commitment from the operators of the power plant to ensure electricity generation when needed by the electric network operator.

The EC said that its thorough investigation came to the conclusion that the measure is in accordance with the EU state aid rules, especially with its 2014 Guidelines for Energy and Environmental Protection.

In a separate development, the EC has ruled that the Portuguese government’s extension of hydro power concessions to Electricidade de Portugal (EDP) does not involve state aid and was in accordance with market conditions.

Image: Column of flags at the European Commission in Brussels. Image: Corentin Béchade/