Energy Policy – Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, commented: “We want renewable energy sources to play the major role in meeting Scotland’s energy needs. “At the moment, renewables generate almost 54% of Scotland’s electricity demand. In terms of our overall energy consumption – for electricity, heat and transport – around 15% is currently met by renewables. It’s important to point out that that figure has more than doubled since 2009. “But we want renewable sources to meet the equivalent of 50% of Scotland’s total energy needs by 2030 – this reflects the immense confidence we have in Scotland’s renewables sector, and it reflects our strengths across the range of different technologies. “Now our primary source of renewable electricity is onshore wind. In fact, our current and consented onshore capacity is enough to power the needs of Scottish households twice over. “That’s why we’re so determined to ensure that onshore wind has a viable route to market. And as part of that, we’ve called for Scotland to become the first area in the UK to host a subsidy-free onshore wind farm.

Scottish Energy News 22nd May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

Electric Vehicles

The push to go electric will not just have consequences for carmakers and transport groups. It is also driving significant changes at the multibillion-pound electricity companies — such as Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), an arm of FTSE 100 utility SSE and UK Power Networks — that manage local power grids and are on the front line as demand increases for charging points. Faced with unexpected surges in demand for electricity, such as when a fleet of electric vehicles is plugged in simultaneously, these “distribution network operators” are having to rapidly change their businesses. They need to ensure they can cope with the extra demand and prevent problems that, in the worst case, could lead to local power shortages. Electric vehicles are just one of the challenges networks operators are facing. The proliferation of solar panels on the roofs of homes and wind turbines that connect directly to local networks are also making their job more complicated, as they can create unpredictable surges in supply during particularly sunny or windy periods. Green Alliance, a think-tank, says it could take as few as six “closely-located” vehicles charging simultaneously at a time when electricity is already in high demand — such as during the evening — for there to be possible shortages. The issue is not one of overall capacity but the possibility that electric vehicles will create additional demand during peak times.

FT 21st May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

Grid Connections

A ship has arrived at Aberdeen from Sweden to lay more than 70 miles (113km) of high voltage subsea cables from Caithness to the Moray. The cable will have capacity to carry up to 1,200MW of electricity generated by renewable energy projects in the north of Scotland. In March another ship, the Siem Ruby, used a subsea boulder clearance plough to create a trench in the Moray Firth. NKT Victoria will lower cables into the trench before it is backfilled. The first section of cable will be laid from Noss Head in Caithness to a midpoint where it will be joined to a second cable to be laid from Portgordon in Moray. Led by SSE, the £1.1bn Caithness-Moray Project is to be completed next year.

BBC 20th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 May 2017

Politics

A Liberal Democrat-led government would restore support for solar PV cut by the Conservatives, the party’s election manifesto has stated. Released today (17 May), the manifesto outlines a raft of clean energy pledges that the Lib Dems have said would contribute towards the country sourcing 60% of its electricity demand from renewables sources – excluding nuclear – by 2030. Near the top of Lib Dem proposals is the restoration of support for solar PV and onshore wind, while smart grid, energy storage and hydro technologies would also receive substantial support from a Lib Dem government, with a “heavy” investment in research and development pledged as well.

Solar Power Portal 17th May 2017 read more »

The manifestos of the three leading political parties in the UK contain few direct references to nuclear power. The documents were published this week as part of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat campaigning ahead of the general election on 8 June. Their campaigns have been dominated by the prospect of two years of Brexit talks with the European Union. The Conservative Party’s manifesto does not mention the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), but its leader, Prime Minister Theresa May, has already stated that exiting the EU also entails leaving Euratom. Some lawyers have disputed this requirement, arguing that the decision is based on the party’s preference to end all ties with the European Court of Justice.

World Nuclear News 19th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 May 2017

Energy Policy – Scotland

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group: THE Scottish energy sector is poised to undergo a transformation that could, if fully realised, see it at the forefront of the global market for low carbon goods and services, which is already worth over $5.5 trillion. According to the Office for National Statistics, Scotland’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy generated a turnover of £10. 5billion in 2015 and employed some 58,500 people. Scottish businesses have strengths in a number of areas such as tower manufacturing for the wind energy industry, manufacturing of low-emission buses and batteries, cutting edge innovation in marine renewables and the provision of energy efficiency services. Importantly, some of the skills developed in the declining offshore oil and gas sector are now benefiting the renewables sector, with around one-third of marine engineers in the UK offshore wind industry coming from oil and gas. This is happening at a time when the low carbon economy is becoming globally relevant, even more so after the Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2016, some $240bn was invested worldwide in a record amount of new renewable energy capacity, with more than 40 per cent of investments coming from rapidly developing economies such as China, India, South Africa and Mexico. Whatever Brexit means for Scotland’s future, the global shift to a low carbon economy makes it essential for Scotland’s future competitiveness and the delivery of its climate targets to put ambitious, consistent and sufficiently detailed low carbon policies in place. This approach holds the key to attracting greater levels of affordable private sector investment, grow supply chains and put Scottish businesses in the best possible position to tap into the growing export opportunities of the global low carbon market. The good news is that this is essentially what the First Minister and five of her cabinet secretaries committed to doing at the Scottish National Economic Forum (NEF) in Inverness on May 12. The ambition to transform the energy sector is set out clearly in the Scottish Government’s draft Energy Strategy, which moves the agenda forward in a number of respects.

Herald 19th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 May 2017

NFLA

FERMANAGH and Omagh District Council (FODC) has officially become a Nuclear Free Local Authority (NFLA). Thanks to a proposal brought forward by Sinn Fein’s John Feely during April’s Policy and Resources committee meeting, the local council is now publicly demonstrating its “opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons”. The suggestion for FODC to consider becoming a member of the NFLA All-Ireland Forum was initially mooted during March’s full council meeting. A report was then prepared for April’s Policy and Resources committee meeting. According to the report, the NFLA was set up in 1980 by Manchester City Council who continue to provide the Secretariat for the organisation. It describes itself as the primary voice in local government in the UK and Ireland by interacting with and influencing across the national and international nuclear policy agenda.

Impartial Reporter 19th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 May 2017

Politics

The Conservatives have promised to launch an independent review into the cost of energy if re-elected, as part of their 2017 general election manifesto. The manifesto was launched earlier today by Theresa May and makes a series of commitments, including a review to “ensure UK energy costs are as low as possible”. “We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and for households,” the manifesto states. It adds the Conservative ambition is that the UK should have “the lowest energy costs in Europe”. As previously reported, the document also contains a commitment to cap energy price rises.

Utility Week 18th May 2017 read more »

The Conservatives have pledged to maintain the UK’s climate change commitments through enhanced clean technology and energy efficiency funding, but the Party’s manifesto also proposes continued support for the North Sea oil and gas industry and an additional focus on fracking. The manifesto outlines a plan to “lead international action against climate change”, citing the importance of technologies such as battery storage and offshore wind to help the country meet its 2050 climate change targets to reduce emissions by 60% from 1990 levels. Friends of the Earth (FoE) has said the commitment sends a “strong message” to both Donald Trump and opponents of climate action in the UK. “The Conservatives have comprehensively rejected the siren voices calling for the UK to walk away from its international and domestic commitments to tackle climate change,” FoE campaigner Dave Timms said. But the decision to continue support for the North Sea oil and gas industry is likely to upset environmental groups, as will the commitment to develop fracking in the country. Green businesses hoping for a timescale on the delivery of either the UK’s proposed Clean Growth Plan and 25-Year Plan for the Environment will be left disappointed, with the former failing to receive a single mention in the document. Also missing from the text is a reference to the UK’s strategy to address illegal levels of air pollution. The manifesto dismisses the commercial viability of large-scale onshore wind, but offers support for offshore turbines, along with the development of projects in the remote islands of Scotland. The Tories will look to ensure almost every vehicle to be zero-emission by 2050, reaffirming the pre-election pledge to invest £600m on low-emission transport by the end of the decade.

Edie 18th May 2017 read more »

Shares in utility companies pushed higher on the London Stock Exchange after the Tories softened a pledge to introduce a price cap on standard variable tariffs, opting instead to launch an “independent review” into the price of energy bills.

Energy Voice 19th May 2017 read more »

The Tories say they want a “diverse” energy mix for to meet UK needs in the future. The political party claim a diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation, and also to ensure that we are getting the right generation in the right place. But Theresa May’s party then adds that they do not think large-scale onshore wind power is “right for England”. Instead the part wants to push offshore wind and support projects in “the remote islands of Scotland”. Keith Anderson, ScottishPower Chief Corporate Officer, said: “Low cost onshore wind has a lot more to offer the UK, and we are hopeful that the Conservative Manifesto means that a new generation of onshore projects will be possible across Scotland. Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett expressed delight at the PM’s commitment to Scotland. He said: “As energy spokesman at Holyrood, I have met the Stornoway Trust and other stakeholders to discuss these plans and we have lobbied hard with the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy. “These projects can have real benefit for our island communities and I look forward to seeing these plans progress.” Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron, Conservative, also welcomed the plan. He added: “While the manifesto recognises the days of large-scale mainland wind farms are over, there is a place for wind power in a balanced energy approach, so long as those living in the area do not hold significant objections. “I have met many constituents, communities, and businesses, both in the Western Isles and at Holyrood, who have told me they want this to happen.

Energy Voice 19th May 2017 read more »

The Conservative party is expected to dilute the threat to energy suppliers with watered down plans to cap bills ahead of a fresh review into the rising cost of Britain’s electricity. The Tory party said its ambition is for Britain’s energy costs to be the lowest in Europe, and its manifesto included plans to reignite the shale industry by offering a bigger slice of a sovereign wealth fund to those who welcome local drilling.

Telegraph 18th May 2017 read more »

The Government needs to pick a good energy policy and stick to it, not launch another review. The Conservative manifesto has revealed that we are in for yet another review of the energy market after the election. Energy companies must feel flattered by all the attention. Competition in the industry was reviewed in 2014 and 2016. Now, thanks to Theresa May’s need to prove she is on the side of the angels, the Tories have promised “an independent review into the cost of energy”. Energy prices are rising, but the reason is no mystery. Like other Western countries, we are in the midst of a transition from highly polluting, carbon-emitting fuels to other sources of energy. This is expensive and that isn’t going to change any time soon unless the Government decides to give up on cleaner fuels, no matter how many reviews or studies it commissions.

Telegraph 18th May 2017 read more »

“A diverse energy mix We want to see a diverse range of sources for Britain’s energy production, because a diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation, and also to ensure that we are getting the right generation in the right place. For instance, while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities. Above all, we believe that energy policy should be focused on outcomes rather than the means by which we reach our objectives. So, after we have left the European Union, we will form our energy policy based not on the way energy is generated but on the ends we desire – reliable and affordable energy, seizing the industrial opportunity that new technology presents and meeting our global commitments on climate change.”

Conservative Manifesto 18th May 2017 read more »

The Liberal Democrat Party manifesto has been released, outlining a series of ambitious proposals to “build a greener economy” by establishing five new legislative pieces, including a law to deliver net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. At the heart of the Lib Dems plan to decarbonise the UK’s energy system lies a bid to pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act which sets a legally-binding target to deliver net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. To achieve this ambitious target, the Party promises to establish a Britain Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to mobilise private sector investment in low-carbon infrastructure. The Lib Dems match Labour’s pledge to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030, and promise to give the go-ahead for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. The manifesto also contains a commitment to invest in technologies such as energy storage, smart grids and carbon capture and storage (CCS). The Lib Dems oppose fracking but suggest that nuclear will play a role in the UK’s electricity supply. The Lib Dems pledge to make energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority. A new Green Buildings Act would include a plan for every home in England to achieve an energy rating of at least Band C by 2035. The manifesto also includes plans for expanded community energy schemes, and the restoration of a zero-carbon standard for new homes which would be extended to non-domestic buildings by 2022.

Edie 17th May 2017 read more »

Accept that new nuclear power stations can play a role in electricity supply provided concerns about safety, disposal of waste and cost are adequately addressed, new technology is incorporated, and there is no public subsidy for new build. Maintain membership of Euratom, ensuring continued nuclear co-operation, research funding, and access to nuclear fuels.”

Lib Dem Manifesto 17th May 2017 read more »

What the manifestos say about Climate and Energy.

Carbon Brief 18th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 May 2017

Brexit

The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has put the country’s nuclear industry at risk because its trade in radioactive materials will be forbidden under international law. In the worst case scenario, legal experts say, the lights could go out in the UK, but they think the more probable outcome is simply that the government will find itself with an expensive industrial problem and an embarrassing diplomatic mess. The unintended consequence for the British nuclear industry of last year’s referendum vote to leave the EU is that the decision will also take the UK out of the Euratom treaty that protects the EU’s nuclear industry against radioactive material falling into the hands of rogue states or terrorist groups. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industries Association, which represents 260 companies, says: “There is scope for real and considerable disruption.” Rupert Cowen, a senior nuclear energy lawyer at Prospect Law, a firm that specialises in energy legislation, has told MPs that leaving the Euratom treaty, as the government has promised, could see trade in nuclear fuel grind to a halt. He said: “Unlike other arrangements, if we don’t get this right, business stops. There will be no trade. If we can’t arrive at safeguards and other principles that allow compliance [with international nuclear standards] to be demonstrated, no nuclear trade will be able to continue.” Dame Sue Ion, chair of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, which was established by the UK government in 2013, said a whole lot of new international agreements would have to be in place before anything in the nuclear sector could be transferred between countries. “We would be crippled without other agreements in place,” she said

Climate News Network 17th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 May 2017

Europe

The PINC provides a basis for discussing how nuclear energy can help achieve the EU’s energy objectives. As nuclear safety remains the Commission’s absolute priority, it specifically includes investments related to post-Fukushima safety upgrades and those related to the longterm operation of existing nuclear power plants. In addition, with the EU nuclear industry moving into a new phase characterised by increased activities in the back-end of the lifecycle, it will contribute to an informed debate on the associated investment needs and the management of nuclear liabilities. The PINC also addresses the need for investment in research reactors and the associated fuel cycle, including the production of medical radioisotopes.

European Commission 12th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 May 2017

Transport

No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century. This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries.

Telegraph 14th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 May 2017