News

Energy Policy

More than half of the British public would install solar panels and home batteries to tackle climate change if there was greater assistance from the government, polling has found. While many have already made their home more energy efficient, 62% said they wanted to fit solar and a surprisingly high 60% would buy an energy storage device such as those sold by Tesla. An even greater number – 71% – would join a local energy scheme such as a community windfarm or solar panel collective, according to the YouGov survey. The results run counter to the government’s approach to climate change and energy, which favours large-scale power generation such as nuclear plants and offshore windfarms. Community energy projects have flatlined in the face of government subsidy cuts and tax changes, while incentives for household solar will expire next year without a replacement. There is no support for people considering a home battery. James Thornton, CEO of environmental law group ClientEarth, which commissioned the research, said: “Government policy is plainly at odds with public sentiment – and its own ambition to tackle climate change – as far as our energy sources are concerned.

Guardian 20th Aug 2018 read more »

The decision by environmental law outfit ClientEarth to today publish the results of a YouGov survey covering many of the areas downgraded by last week’s Public Attitudes Tracker (PAT) – plus many more besides – was fortuitously timed (or perhaps just good planning). It means despite the PAT having been scaled back, we can still take a temperature check of what the public thinks of the green economy during a scorching summer that has seen climate change pushed up the media agenda. ClientEarth’s wide-ranging poll took in responses from more than 2,000 UK adults in July, covering climate impacts, litigation, finance, renewables, and fossil fuels. The 35-page report includes a huge amount of details on attitudes to these issues and is certainly worth an hour of any green professionals’ time. Here are BusinessGreen’s five key takeaways. Climate change is seen as a real and present danger; Strong support for national and global climate action;

Business Green 20th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

Sellafield

“Sellafield has first and last dibs on our precious fresh water” According to the former National Rivers Authority, now the Environment Agency, Sellafield used 97 MILLION litres of fresh water (25.5 MILLION gallons) a day in 1993. Compare this with the fracking industry’s shocking water use : Cuadrilla said that fracking the two wells at Preston New Road, which is now expected to take place in late August or early September, would use up to 32,500 litres of water. That is shocking. Beyond shocking is that Sellafield according the former National Rivers Authority used 97 MILLION litres of fresh water EVERY DAY in 1993! Local nuclear safety campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland were keen to find out what the freshwater situation is today for Sellafield. Sellafield no longer has nuclear reactors on site but is now the world’s most dangerous nuclear waste store and spent nuclear fuel still arrives for ‘reprocessing’.

Radiation Free Lakeland 19th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

SMRs

[Machine Translation] UK looks at small reactors. A British expert commission last week called for government investment in the sector. Cost inflation and delays in delivery of the two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point could cause the UK to reconsider its nuclear strategy. In any case, this is what a committee of experts advocates. Missioned at the end of 2017 by the government, she reported last week.

Les Echos 18th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

Energy Costs

Households are facing a further round of energy price rises despite the introduction of the government’s price cap, industry experts have warned. Ministers have promised to protect 11 million households on default tariffs with a cap by the end of 2018. Ofgem, the regulator, is due to publish further details of the ceiling early in September. However, new analysis by the energy consultancy Cornwall Insight expects cost pressures to drive up bills by 5%, about £60 a year, by next April. That would take a dual fuel bill based on typical consumption to £1,268 at a time when consumers are already under pressure from slowing wage growth and rising interest rates. While the calculations rest on expectations for the level of a price cap for 5 million vulnerable households, the increases are expected to emerge across the wider market.

Guardian 20th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

Utilities

Loyal and elderly energy customers have saved at least £261 a year each in a collective switching trial run by the industry regulator Ofgem. Some 50,000 people who had typically been on the same variable tariff for six years with one of the big six suppliers were involved in the trial. The scheme was based on the idea of “collective” switching, where a group of consumers swap supplier in one go. Although four in five did not switch, Ofgem said the trial was a success. Some 22% of people who received letters explaining how they could save money by switching deals through the scheme followed through by moving to a cheaper tariff.

BBC 20th Aug 2018 read more »

Energy giant E.ON has become the latest electricity supplier to launch a renewable energy tariff aimed at electric vehicle (EV) drivers, offering customers who charge their vehicles at home a £30 discount on their annual bill. The company claims that the rebate, which is available to anyone who owns or leases a plug-in hybrid or fully-electric vehicle that is registered by the DVLA, is equivalent to 850 free miles in a Nissan Leaf. The energy supplied under the Fix and Drive tariff is generated from 100% renewable sources. Meanwhile, customers using the new tariff will have the equivalent of the emissions they generate through their gas use offset via carbon credits from the United Nations’ (UN) Clean Development Mechanism.

Edie 17th Aug 2018 read more »

The owners of Bulb Energy are preparing to cash in on the energy firm’s meteoric ascent in what could prove to be the most lucrative sale to emerge since the energy supply market’s privatisation, according to multiple industry sources. Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka, Bulb Energy’s founders, are said to be priming Britain’s fastest growing energy start-up for a sale to tech investors, either through an acquisition or a market listing following a £60m fund raising which valued the company at close to half a billion pounds. In the wake of increasing market chatter Mr Wood insisted there was “no possibility” that the pair would “even contemplate” selling the supplier. The entrepreneur was forced to speak out after City sources confirmed that the company is up for sale and its founders are courting the attention of funds in New York and Silicon Valley following the £60m investment from investors, including Yuri Milner, the Russian-Israeli billionaire. A senior industry source said “the complicated and heavily structured deal” promises its new investors, Magnetar and Mr Milner’s DST Global, the right to 100pc of the first £60m of dividends and the equivalent of 12.8pc of the company in the event of a sale.

Telegraph 19th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

Fukushima

The government and Tokyo Electric Power Company have faced the pressing need to dispose of treated water now kept in tanks. One option is to dump it into the sea, as tritium is said to pose little risk to human health. If the plan goes ahead, tritium-tainted water from the nuclear plant is expected to be diluted so it is likely to lower the levels of other radioactive materials as well before being discharged. But locals and fishermen are worried about the water discharge and a government panel debating how to deal with it has mainly focused on tritium, not other radioactive substances. According to Tepco, a maximum 62.2 becquerels per litre of lodine 129, far higher than the 9 becquerel legal limit, was found in the water filtered by the Advanced Liquid Processing System used to remove various types of radioactive materials. Tepco, which gathered data in fiscal 2017 through March, also detected a maximum 92.5 becquerels of Ruthenium 106 – more than the 100 becquerel legal limit – and 59 becquerels of technetium 99 against the limit of 1,000 becquerels.

South China Morning Post 19th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

France

How are nuclear risks managed in France? It will take a long time to learn all the lessons from Fukushima nuclear disaster, and even longer to bring about a change in the practices and principles of nuclear risk governance. Yet several major themes are already emerging in France. March 11, 2018, marked the seven-year anniversary of Fukushima, when the Northeast coast of Japan was struck by a record magnitude 9 earthquake, followed by a tsunami. These natural disasters led to an industrial disaster, a nuclear accident rated 7, the highest level on the INES scale, at the Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima. In the aftermath of the disaster, the world was stunned at the realisation of the seriousness and suddenness of this event, which, according to Jacques Repussard, director general of the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) requires us to “imagine the unimaginable and prepare for it.” It confronts all those involved in nuclear safety with a critical challenge: how can we guarantee safety in the midst of unexpected events? Beyond its unpredictable nature, this accident served as a brutal and particularly relevant reminder that nuclear energy, more than any other technology or industry, transcends all borders, whether they be geographic, temporal, institutional or professional. The consequences of nuclear accidents extend well beyond the borders of a region or a country and remain present for hundreds or even thousands of years, thus exceeding any “human” time scale.

The Conversation 19th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

US

The US administration has drawn up proposals to replace Obama-era rules on carbon dioxide emissions with measures to support coal-fired power plants, as President Donald Trump seeks to fulfil his campaign pledge to “put our miners back to work”. Draft versions of proposed rules on carbon emissions from electricity generation, due to be announced this week, include measures that could push utilities to invest in coal-fired plants to make them more efficient and competitive. Michelle Bloodworth, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which represents coal-fired generators and mining companies, described the proposed rule as “a big step in the right direction” by the Environmental Protection Agency. She added that industry believed the regulations would “provide the flexibility to states to develop emissions guidelines that recognise the important role that our nation’s coal fleet plays”.

FT 19th Aug 2018 read more »

South Carolina’s failed nuclear plant has spawned a political storm that Moody’s analysts addressed in their Aug. 17 rating action. The debt was shouldered to build the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station, which, like Vogtle, incurred cost overruns and construction delays. Unlike Vogtle, Summer’s construction was halted. Meanwhile, published reports portray a maelstrom that involves billions of dollars in debt and no clear path forward.

Saporta Report 19th Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

Israel

Israel has never officially admitted to possessing nuclear weapons. Unofficially, Tel Aviv wants everyone to know it has them, and doesn’t hesitate to make thinly-veiled references to its willingness to use them if confronted by an existential threat. Estimates on the size of Tel Aviv’s nuclear stockpile range from 80 to 300 nuclear weapons, the latter number exceeding China’s arsenal.

National Interest 28th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018

Small-scale Renewables

SCOTTISH farming leaders do not want to see farmscale renewable energy production die with the planned demise of the feed-in tariff next year. Responding to the UK government’s publication of a series of documents detailing the proposed closure of the FiT scheme – and the associated ‘Call for Evidence’ on the future for small-scale low-carbon generation – NFU Scotland this week pledged to lobby for new measures to encourage continued take-up. “For farming businesses, renewable energy production has provided an opportunity to diversify income streams and reduce energy costs,” said the union. “There has been significant uptake of renewable energy since the Energy Act 2008 which introduced FiTs for community or locally owned renewable energy sites. The total installed capacity of renewables electricity in Scotland has trebled since 2008. Renewable electricity generation is now equivalent to 68% of Scotland’s energy consumption. Production from community and locally owned renewable energy sites are responsible for almost 20% of total Scottish renewable energy production. On Scottish farms and estates, renewable energy production has increased by 65% since 2011.”

Scottish Farmer 25th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 August 2018