Public Consultation

Today, a diverse group will gather in a ‘hybrid forum’, as part of work to develop alternatives forms of public consultation on nuclear energy. This hybrid forum is the result of collaboration between The University of Manchester and National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). The approach aims to bring a diverse range of people, with differing expertise, together in a space where they can discuss and find lines of agreement and disagreement. Traditional practices of public consultation are widely seen as limited in their ability to address controversial issues, including those that arise from activities carried out across the nuclear sector. At a time of widespread public distrust of expertise and ‘technical specialists’, and when the UK Government is backing the development of new nuclear technologies in the UK, such as Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs), it is crucial that new forms of public engagement are developed. Improving engagement between the sector and civil society will allow different interested parties to play a more meaningful role in decision-making and to mobilise and motivate new interests and new expertise.

Manchester University 17th July 2018 read more »

Nuclear Energy projects are, by their nature, ‘social’ endeavours. Why? Because any industry is a reflection of the society in which it resides. The extent to which the industry can realise its aims and ambitions is undoubtedly linked to prevalent attitudes and cultures within its workforce or surrounding environment. For many policymakers and energy experts, nuclear energy represents an environmentally responsible solution to the current energy and climate crisis. Plus, in the UK alone, financial commitments to new build and decommissioning are already forecast to exceed £100 billion with this number increasing all the time. But, increasingly, fundamental policy decisions cannot be enacted without the support of all stakeholders both within and outside the sector. For example, in the UK, the successful implementation of a new nuclear build, or geological disposal facility (GDF) for nuclear waste, are both dependent on securing and maintaining public trust. This can sometimes be difficult as the general public and other influential stakeholders still have some deep misgivings or general antipathy towards the sector, meaning important debates remain unresolved. For example, current trends towards the possible future deployment of smaller reactors alongside the relaunched search for a volunteer site for GDFs will inevitably lead to new communities being exposed to the nuclear debate.

Manchester University 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Energy Policy

An economy-wide carbon tax is needed to reduce the cost of decarbonisation and level the playing field for the UK’s heavy industry, according to a new report from think-tank Policy Exchange. The study suggests that a tax paid by companies that sell fossil fuel would fund a dividend to be paid to taxpayers and help to prevent carbon leakage, which refers to a situation where businesses transfer production to other countries with laxer emission constraints. Such a tax should be structured around border so that companies which export carbon-intensive products into the UK are subject to the same level of carbon tax as domestic producers, it adds, helping industries such as the British steel sector.

Edie 17th July 2018 read more »

James Hansen frequently points out that we can only beat climate change by including nuclear technology. He wastes no time in arguing for a focus on renewables in the transition away from fossil fuels. In his piece, he states: ‘tricking the public to accept the fantasy of 100 per cent renewables means that, in reality, fossil fuels reign and climate change grows’. He continued to argue, that next-generation safe nuclear power is the principle alternative to fossil fuel electricity. Climate activists, and in general everyone concerned with action on climate change, have attacked the people denying the science of climate change, and the delay caused as these opinions have filtered into politics and business decisions. Of course, I also find the opinions of climate deniers despicable and disgraceful and think their ideas can be compared to flat-earthers. But it is crucial that, if you position yourself on the side of science, you must be true to it and not back away if its findings are at odds with your personal beliefs. In other words, you can’t pick-and-mix the science you like to agree with. If you do so, you’re just as bad as those who choose not to agree with the science of climate change. If the science says that nuclear power is needed to stave off climate change, then regardless of your own view on nuclear energy you must support it.

A Greener Life 9th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Euratom

Rebecca Harms , spokeswoman for the Greens / EFA Group in the European Parliament , comments on the European Court of Justice’s ruling that the EU Commission’s decision to grant aid to the United Kingdom for the construction of a nuclear reactor at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is legitimate . “The Euratom Treaty is a relic of the past and gives the high-risk nuclear technology with billion-dollar subsidies an unfair competitive advantage. The Euratom Treaty does not match the European requirements for clean energy and fair competition. We must end the distortion of competition in the European energy market, reform the Euratom Treaty and rely on the energy transition. ” Here you will find the report ” Pathways to a Euratom Reform ” on behalf of the Greens / EFA Group.

Rebecca Harms MEP 12th July 2018 read more »

Pathways to Euratom Reform by Dr. Dörte Fouquet.

Rebecca Harms (accessed) 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Energy Policy

A shake-up in carbon pricing policy so that UK taxpayers receive a direct annual dividend from an economy-wide carbon tax could level the playing-field for industry, help prevent carbon leakage, and boost public support for climate action, a new report from Policy Exchange will today argue. The centre-right think tank contends that taking a different approach to carbon pricing after the UK leaves the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) would help reduce the cost of decarbonisation across the economy and tackle the phenomenon of carbon leakage, whereby high carbon industries relocate to jurisdictions where carbon prices are lower or non-existent, negating any EU emissions savings.

Business Green 17th July 2018 read more »

The world’s energy watchdog has sounded the alarm over a “worrying” pause in the shift to clean energy after global investment in renewables fell 7% to $318bn (£240bn) last year. The International Energy Agency said the decline is set to continue into 2018, threatening energy security, climate change and air pollution goals. Fossil fuels increased their share of energy supply investment for the first time since 2014, to $790bn, and will play a significant role for years on current trends, the IEA said. Investment in coal power dropped sharply but was offset by an uptick in oil and gas spending, the World Energy Investment report found.

Guardian 17th July 2018 read more »

IGov Roundtable on putting people at the heart of the energy system, by Catherine Mitchell. Presentation to: putting people at the heart of the energy system, Citizens Advice, London, 10th July 2018.

IGov 17th July 2018 read more »

Putting people at the heart of the energy system, by Richard Hoggett. Presentation to: putting people at the heart of the energy system, Citizens Advice, London, 10th July 2018

IGov 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Energy Costs

Support for renewable energy is no longer the preserve of eco-warriors, nor the enemy of the sceptical pragmatist. Experts from academia and government agree that after years of heavy subsidy, renewable energy is close to paying its own way. “Few would have imagined that by 2018 we would be talking about a subsidy-free future for renewables,” admits Mateusz Wronski of Aurora Energy Research. “Yet this is where we have arrived – and our research highlights clearly the enormous prize and potential in the market, not only in Great Britain but across Europe.” Aurora broke ranks with traditional energy rhetoric earlier this year by publishing data showing that new renewable energy projects are now the cheapest source of electricity in the market and hold the promise of a multi-billion-pound investment boom for Britain. “The subsidy-free revolution is here, and it’s big. This is a £60bn investment opportunity in north-west Europe alone,” Wronski says, with Britain poised to gain far more than any other country from the coming revolution. A rapid shift in the economics of energy has brought renewables to the brink of a major tipping point only a few years away. Britain could begin to host onshore wind and solar projects without the need for subsidies from the early 2020s, to unlock about £20bn of investment between now and 2030. At the end of the next decade, offshore wind will follow suit. Last week, the renewable agenda found a fresh ally. Sir John Armitt, the chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, made the most hard-headed case for renewable energy yet. In the first ever independent assessment of Britain’s infrastructure needs, the commission dealt a blow to the Government’s nuclear ambitions by warning ministers against striking a deal for more than one follow-up to the Hinkley Point C project before 2025. Instead, government should focus its efforts on rolling out more renewable power. The pace of the zero-subsidy roll-out could become quicker if developers are allowed to enter their “zero” bids into the flurry of auctions held by National Grid throughout the year to guarantee generation and an optimal frequency for the grid. By taking part in the subsidy auctions, wind developers would soon be able to cast a bid at or below the cost of wholesale power prices, which would effectively mean zero added costs to bills. This would provide certainty to investors, lower the project’s risk and reduce the cost of capital needed to bring the projects to life. In turn, consumers would be in line for lower bills.

Telegraph 15th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 July 2018

Energy Policy

The government has shaken up the UK research system. But fossil fuels, not low-carbon technologies, still seem to be in the driving seat. I don’t want to argue against health R&D. It’s clearly a major priority. But decarbonising our energy system must also be another, especially in the rapidly-closing window of opportunity we have to avoid catastrophic global warming. Tackling climate change is, in all seriousness, the fight of our lives (the word “moonshot” doesn’t cover the half of it). Of course, dealing with climate change isn’t just about R&D. Indeed, it can feel silly to be talking about how the UK should invest more in low carbon innovation when there is currently a ban on something as basic as onshore wind (a British innovation of the 1880s). There were, for example, some wonderfully warm words from energy minister Claire Perry about the Q-Bot insulation robot at the Parliamentary Sustainable Energy Group conference last week. But it did also feel like a distraction from last month’s Committee on Climate Change report, which criticised the government’s “shocking” lack of action when it comes to simple and low cost options like onshore wind, home insulation and planting trees.

Guardian 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 July 2018

Energy Policy – Scotland

Expert group backs Scottish Government’s ‘ambitious’ new emissions target. The head of the UK independent advisory body on climate change has hailed the Scottish Government for setting an “ambitious” new target for cutting emissions. Lord Deben, chief of the Committee on Climate Change, added that Scotland is at the forefront of UK efforts to tackle climate change. He was speaking as the expert group held an open meeting in Edinburgh. Deben said the new target is a “marked increase” on the previous one. In some areas where policy is devolved we have seen Scotland go well beyond the framework set in Westminster. Energy efficiency is one example.

Energy Voice 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 July 2018

Electric Vehicles

A new generation of Scalextric-style charge points for electric cars will be installed under government plans to increase the number of green vehicles. The Department for Transport (DfT) has unveiled a £40 million plan to develop wireless charging systems that can power up vehicles in car parks, on the road or at the roadside without a plug, making it easier to run an electric car. Power would be transferred from cables buried in the road directly into car batteries to increase the speed and convenience of charging.

Times 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 July 2018

Energy Policy

Letter Donald Miller: In proposing that the UK rely on renewables for 50 per cent of electricity supplies by 2030, with no additional nuclear power, the national infrastructure committee is embracing a high-risk policy. The day their proposal was released, power output from wind turbines met only 3 per cent of supplies at time of maximum demand and solar roughly the same. This was the highest output from wind turbines over the week, output on other days being 1 per cent or less at times of maximum demand. An increase in renewable energy from 30 per cent (the present figure) to 50 per cent of the total energy system would do nothing to guarantee that electricity was always available. This requires adequate backup from gas or nuclear plant which can be relied on to generate when the wind does not blow and the sun is not shining. Further developments in battery technology can certainly be expected, but there are no grounds today for believing that this or any other energy storage technology will ever achieve the capacity and economics required to meet demand for the extended periods required. While costs are vital for electricity, reliability of supply is even more so. Experience of building Hunterston and Torness nuclear stations confirms that both objectives can be achieved with nuclear. In the 1990s, when 60 per cent of Scotland’s electricity came from nuclear, electricity prices were among the lowest in Europe. Experience suggests that it would be a mistake to base energy policy on the inflated prices agreed by the government for the new Hinkley station.

Times 14th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 14 July 2018

Energy Supplies

Britain has been powered for more than a thousand hours without coal this year, in a new milestone underscoring how the polluting fuel’s decline is accelerating. The UK’s last eight coal power plants staged a brief revival when the “beast from the east” pushed up gas prices earlier this year, causing coal plants to fire up. However, the blip proved short-lived and immaterial, figures compiled by MyGridGB show. The country passed the threshold of 1,000 coal-free hours in the early hours of Friday. The pace of coal power’s demise is speeding up. Throughout the whole of 2017 there were 624 coal-free hours, up from 210 hours in 2016.

Guardian 13th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 14 July 2018