Energy Policy

Dieter Helm is Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and author of Burn Out: The End Game for Fossil Fuels. Since climate change began to gain political traction in 1990, very little has been achieved. The concentration of carbon in the atmosphere has kept going up. We remain well on course for exceeding 2C warming. The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, timed to frame the Conference of the Parties in Poland in December, sets out what would have to happen to hold the line at 1.5C. The mitigations proposed are simply non-credible: nobody thinks they are actually going to happen. It’s time for a rethink. The claim that global decarbonisation can be done at little or no cost is nonsense. On the contrary, switching from an overwhelmingly carbon to a non-carbon-based economy in the space of just two or three decades is really expensive. A credible climate action plan needs several things. It needs the truth, not spin, about costs. It needs to recognise that top-down approaches like Kyoto and Paris are not going to work. Most of all, it needs to make sure that the very limited amount of money that current customers and voters are actually prepared to pay is spent wisely. The money needs to go on those things that might actually make a real difference. The world in which we have to tackle climate change is made up of robots, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and with this comes enormous flexibility in energy consumption. It is a world of batteries, fuel cells and smart systems, of new materials like graphene, and of opening up the light spectrum, using solar film and nanotechnologies. Instead of putting all the money in the conventional wind and solar panels boxes, some of it should go on research and development. It’s time to get real: climate change is a global phenomenon without much chance of the top-down solution that the UN and the Paris processes promote. Yes it is good to talk; but it is better to invest in these new technologies that might actually make a difference.

FT 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


Campaigners announce a series of exhibitions highlighting concerns about Sizewell C. A trio of campaign groups are launching a series of exhibitions to highlight the drawbacks of building a new nuclear power station in Suffolk. At the same time as the energy giant EDF embarks on its third and final public consultation on their plans to build Sizewell C, Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) B1122 Action Group and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group will launch their own series of shadow exhibitions. ‘Sizewell Concerns’, featuring videos and displays. The chairman of the group, Paul Collins, says TEAGS is not completely opposed to the project, but wants to challenge EDF to lessen the impact on those who will be directly affected by their plans to build a new nuclear plant in East Suffolk.

East Anglian Daily Times 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


Hundreds of jobs are to be created with the multi-million redevelopment of a Scots port and marine yard into a decommissioning and renewables hub. Scottish Enterprise has approved a funding offer of £10 million towards Peel Ports’ £30m proposed project to redevelop its Hunterston Port and Resource Centre site in North Ayrshire. The backing will help Peel Ports to unlock private sector investment for the site, which has been in operation since the 1970s.

Herald 27th Nov 2018 read more »

Peel Ports is preparing a £30m redevelopment of the Hunterston yard in Scotland with an eye on sectors including offshore wind. The company has secured approval for £10m in funding from Scottish Enterprise ahead of a board decision due in January. The site will support next-generation renewables as well as oil and gas decommissioning. Hundreds of jobs could be created.

RENews 28th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


Experts from the finance, nuclear, construction and manufacturing sectors assembled earlier this month at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry “to explore taking smaller nuclear reactors from concept to construction”. Around 200 delegates from across the UK discussed the commercialisation of small modular reactors that could “radically reduce the costs associated with the nuclear sector”. The first such reactors could be built as soon as 2030, with potential for exports world-wide. To help commercialise these “revolutionary reactors”, Nuclear Energy Minister Richard Harrington announced a number of crucial steps, including: inviting developers to submit design proposals to identify potential risks; reducing investment risks for potential backers; setting out a how a £32 million Advanced Manufacturing and Construction Programme would allow companies to bid for funds to test new technologies; and ironing out potential flaws before production “starts at scale”.

Machinery Market 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018

Nuclear Futures

Agneta Rising, director general of World Nuclear Association, urges policy makers gathered at COP24 – the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – to recognise the longstanding role of nuclear power in the low-carbon energy mix.

World Nuclear News 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


The European Commission has unveiled its much-anticipated plan for a “climate-neutral Europe” on Wednesday (28 November), in an effort to show EU countries how to stick to the goals of the Paris Agreement and endorse a shared long-term strategy. In the strategy, obtained by EURACTIV, EU capitals will have a choice of eight different scenarios that range from business-as-usual emission cuts to net-zero options. The Paris Agreement obligates its signatories to finalise long-term plans by the beginning of 2020. But EU climate boss Miguel Arias Cañete told EURACTIV that “climate neutrality by 2050 is, of course, the preferred option. It’s feasible and it’s necessary. We have all the tools to be ambitious.” Cañete added that “in the months ahead, these scenarios must be studied in detail, so that we achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in the most cost-effective way”. As far as the Spanish Commissioner is concerned, that rules out all but two of the proposed scenarios.

Edie 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


The start of regular electricity generation at the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) EPR has been pushed back by a further four months and is now expected to begin in January 2020, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) announced today. Last month, the plant’s supplier – the Areva-Siemens consortium – announced it wanted to update the schedule for completing the unit as commissioning tests were taking longer than planned. TVO said it has been informed by the Areva-Siemens consortium that fuel will now be loaded into the reactor core in June 2019, with grid connection to take place next October, and the start of regular electricity generation scheduled for January 2020. Under the previous schedule provided by the plant supplier in June this year, fuel loading was expected in January 2019, grid connection in May and the start of regular electricity production in September.

World Nuclear News 29th Nov 2018 read more »

YLE 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


Belgium may have breached EU law in extending the life of two nuclear reactors because it failed to carry out a full assessment of the environmental impact, an adviser to the European Union’s top court said on Thursday. However, the Belgian authorities may be able to keep the reactors running while they rectify their procedural error, the advisor said in a recommendation to judges who will eventually rule on the case. Reactors Doel 1 and 2 near Antwerp were scheduled to cease production in 2015, but the Belgian government decided in that year to extend their lives by 10 years. Two environmental groups brought an action to Belgium’s constitutional court seeking an annulment of that decision because no environmental assessment had taken place. The Belgian court sought the advice of the European Court of Justice. Juliane Kokott, an advocate general of the EU court, said there were grounds for taking the view that the Belgian law to extend the lives of the reactors had been enacted without a necessary environmental study. Opinions of the advocate general are not binding, but are followed by the EU court in most cases. Engie Electrabel, the Belgian arm of French utility Engie that operates the reactors, noted that the opinion did not rule out that the reactors could remain running.

Reuters 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


After spending billions of dollars over several decades to remove radioactive waste leaking from a plant where nuclear bombs were made, the Energy Department has come up with a new plan: leave it in the ground. The shuttered Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which produced plutonium for U.S. atomic weapons from World War II through the Cold War, is the nation’s largest nuclear cleanup site with about 56 million gallons of waste stored in leak-prone underground tanks in south-central Washington State. The Energy Department has proposed to effectively reclassify the sludge left in 16 nearly empty underground tanks from “high-level” to “low-level” radioactive waste. The re-classification would allow the department to fill the tanks with grout, cover them with an unspecified “surface barrier,” and leave them in place. But environmental groups and others say the plan amounts to a semantic sleight of hand that will leave as much as 70,000 gallons of remaining nuclear sludge — some of which could be radioactive for millions of years — in the ground.

Stripes 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018


Areva: new suspicions of corruption. Anne Lauvergeon’s former right hand man is suspected of having received money on a contract signed by the group. After ” atomic Anne ” – the nickname of Anne Lauvergeon, when she was the powerful boss of the French nuclear group – “radioactive Seb”? Sebastien de Montessus, a former executive of Areva, recently renamed Orano , and who was long the darling of Lauvergeon, is shipped as its former president in the gigantic case Uramin – the purchase by the company of paid uranium deposits a fortune, whereas they concealed essentially sand and wind.

L’express 29th Nov 2018 read more »

The French government has informed Japan it will halt joint development of advanced nuclear reactors, Nikkei has learned, dealing a blow to the fuel cycle policy underpinning much of the East Asian country’s energy plans.

Nikkei Asian Review 30th Nov 2018 read more »

Alternative power providers in France have requested 132.93 terawatt hours (TWH) of utility EDF’s nuclear power generation in 2019, energy regulator CRE said on Thursday. Under the so-called ARENH mechanism, EDF’s smaller rivals have the right to buy up to 100 TWH, about a quarter of its annual nuclear output, at 42 euros per megawatthour (MW) in a scheme aimed at giving them fair access to cheap nuclear energy. The CRE said that since demand was above the 100 TWH limit, allocation will be prorated for the 69 companies that took part in the bidding (not including EDF’s own power retail units).

Reuters 29th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2018