US

Despite the Trump administration’s ongoing attempts to prop up coal and undermine renewables—at FERC, EPA and through tariffs and the budget process—2018 should instead be remembered for the surge in momentum toward a clean energy economy. Here are nine storylines that caught my attention this past year and help illustrate the unstoppable advancement of renewable energy and other modern grid technologies. California Goes All-In for Carbon-Free Electricity; Several States Strengthen Their RES Requirements; Clean Energy Champions Win Gubernatorial Races; Record Low Prices for Renewables; Major Utilities Commit to Low-Carbon Portfolios; Corporate Renewable Energy Purchases Keep Growing; Offshore Wind Moves Forward; Storage Steps Into the Spotlight; PG&E Turns Down the Gas With Storage and Renewables.

Ecowatch 27th Dec 2018 read more »

In his year-end letter, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says his to-do list for 2019 includes persuading U.S. leaders to regain America’s leading role in nuclear energy research and embrace advanced nuclear technologies such as the concept being advanced by his own TerraPower venture. “The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change,” Gates wrote in the wide-ranging letter, released Saturday night. “Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.” Gates acknowledged that tighter U.S. export restrictions, put in place by the Trump administration, have virtually ruled out TerraPower’s grand plan to test its traveling-wave nuclear technology in China. “We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely,” Gates wrote. He said “we may be able to build it in the United States” if regulations are updated and the investment climate for nuclear power improves.

Geek Wire 29th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 December 2018

Spain

Spain’s state-owned chain of paradores, the grand hotels often housed in ancient castles and monasteries, has announced that all 97 of its establishments will use only electricity from renewable sources from the start of the new year. The 90-year-old chain said the decision to switch to green electricity had been made for both environmental and symbolic reasons. “Paradores is a company that supports sustainable tourism in every sense of the word,” said its chair, Óscar López Águeda. “What’s more, as a public company, we also want to set an example when it comes to investments that encourage energy saving and responsible consumption.”

Observer 30th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 December 2018

Renewables

Climate change: six positive news stories you probably missed this year. Renewable energy is being set up faster than ever; Chernobyl fights against climate change; A new mobilising force for climate action; Global economic growth may have peaked; Glimmer of hope in emissions reduction; Local community energy is doing well.

The Conversation 28th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 December 2018

Smart Meters

From money-saving smart meters to life-saving ideas about transport, data is revolutionising the world by helping us to better predict the future. Tech evangelist Dave Coplin explains why this is just the beginning…

Times 29th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 30 December 2018

Radwaste

The UK government has begun a new search to find a site to host a multi-billion-pound deep geological repository for higher-level radioactive waste, which is currently stored at various sites across the country. In a statement to parliament on 19 December, Richard Harrington, the parliamentary secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said a suitable site “will be determined jointly by the willingness of a community to host a disposal facility and the suitability of the geology in the area”. He said the process to find a site will be led by Radioactive Waste Management Ltd, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Local authorities will have a key role in the decision-making process and will be required to test public support in the local area for a facility being located there before construction can proceed. The repository will be a multi-billion-pound infrastructure investment and will provide skilled jobs and benefits to the community that hosts it for more than 100 years, Mr Harrington said.

Nucnet 21st Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 29 December 2018

SMRs

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has signed a memorandum of understanding on the use of two of the 12 modules of a demonstration small modular reactor project planned for Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) formally launched the Carbon Free Power Project in 2015 as part of its long-term strategy to reduce carbon emissions and replace aging coal-fired plants with a non-fossil fuel, and medium-sized, flexible power generating source. As part of the project, UAMPS plans the development of a 12-module NuScale plant at a site at the INL, with operation expected by 2027.

World Nuclear News 28th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 29 December 2018

Fukushima

Having disregarded a state instruction to kill cattle left behind in areas near the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, some local farmers have been struggling to keep about 430 cows within a 20-kilometers radius of the complex exposed to radiation.

Mainichi 26th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 29 December 2018

US

High-Paying Jobs in Nuclear Power Aren’t Looking So Safe Anymore. A wave of plant closings has workers—even highly trained engineers—on edge.

Wall St Journal 28th Dec 2018 read more »

The environmental policy centerpiece of the incoming Democratic House of Representatives is what’s now known as “The Green New Deal.” But it’s already hit deeply polarizing pushback from the old-line Democratic leadership. And it faces divisive jockeying over the future of nuclear power. The Green New Deal’s most visible public advocate, newly elected twenty-nine-year-old U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, has laid out a preliminary blueprint advocating an energy economy meant to be based entirely on “renewable” and “clean” sources. According to a report in The Hill, fossil fuels and nuclear power are “completely out” of her plan. The draft proposal has ignited tremendous grassroots enthusiasm, with massively favorable poll readings, even among some Republicans. Substantial grassroots pressure has grown on presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to form a Green New Deal Committee chaired by Ocasio-Cortez. So will the struggle over the 98 U.S. reactors still licensed to operate. As they age, they continue to deteriorate and embrittle. Opponents of nuclear power want them shut down before they explode; advocates argue that without them, more fossil fuels will be burned.

The Progressive 27th Dec 2018 read more »

Nuclear power plants in Connecticut and New Hampshire made the list of electricity producers selected Friday to generate the clean energy needed to help meet Connecticut’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Department Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the state also chose bids submitted from nine solar projects and one offshore wind project. Final regulatory approval of power contracts, which still need to be negotiated, are still required.

Daily Mail 28th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 29 December 2018

Fuel Poverty

A Northern Isles MSP has pledged to improve residents’ lives as part of a Fuel Poverty Bill making its way through the Scottish Parliament. Liam McArthur, who represents Orkney and Shetland, is calling for a Minimum Income Standard

Energy Voice 27th Dec 2018 read more »

Liam McArthur, who represents Orkney, is calling for a Minimum Income Standard – reflecting the higher costs of living in the north. As part of evidence sessions in the Scottish Parliament towards a Fuel Poverty Bill, the Liberal Democrat MSP pressed the Scottish Government to take proper account of the needs of rural and island areas. Mr McArthur reminded housing minister Kevin Stewart of the over-whelming evidence and support for the bill to include a remote rural Minimum Income Standard as part of the proposed new definition of fuel poverty. He reiterated concerns from a range of experts and organisations about the failure to account for contrasting levels of disposable income in different parts of Scotland. Mr McArthur said: “The scourge of fuel poverty affects every community, but there is no getting away from the fact that rural and island areas are disproportionately affected.

Press & Journal 27th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 29 December 2018

Energy Costs

This year has proved the worst ever for the number of price rises energy suppliers have inflicted on consumers. Energy firms announced a total of 57 price increases in 2018 compared with 15 last year, according to new analysis. Some of the challenger firms upped tariffs as many as three times across the year and several of the big six that dominate the market raised them twice. Altogether, an average of £74 was added to annual dual fuel bills. The worst offender was Economy Energy, which hit its 250,000 customers with a 38% price rise in October, equivalent to a £311 increase. The firm recently reassured households it was trading normally after it missed a deadline for paying renewable energy subsidies, which is usually a sign a firm is struggling. Eight suppliers have collapsed this year. The next four worst offenders for price rises were all small suppliers. Scottish Power was the worst of the big six, with a total increase of 9.4%, or £109 extra a year, closely followed by the market leader, British Gas.

Guardian 28th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 28 December 2018