Daily News Roundup

11 February 2017

Electricity Demand

They are seen as an antidote to the wave of pollution clouding Britain’s biggest cities. Within the next few years, it is hoped that a fleet of electric cars will clear the air by driving diesel and petrol engines off urban streets. However, analysis has found that the burgeoning fleet of plug-in vehicles may create a new headache of its own. Switching all cars to ultra-low emissions may place a massive strain on the power network because of the additional resources needed to recharge batteries, research suggests. Figures produced by Transport for London (TfL) suggest that switching to an all-electric vehicle fleet in the capital would demand five times the amount of power needed to run the entire London Underground network. The analysis, seen by The Times, says that moving to an electric or hydrogen vehicle fleet “has implications for London’s energy supply system”. At the maximum level of uptake in the city green cars would demand between seven and eight gigawatt-hours per year. Experts said this was equivalent to the output of more than two nuclear power stations similar to that being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Extrapolated nationally, it would require the equivalent of 20 new nuclear power stations nationwide. The conclusions will prompt new questions over Britain’s strategy to take conventional vehicles off the road in favour of a low-emission fleet, in order to drastically cut carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Times 11th Feb 2017 read more »

Cumbria

Three of Britain’s largest trade unions will put nuclear power at the heart of the run in to the Copeland by-election when they hold a special hustings next week. The debate is a chance for Gillian Troughton, Labour’s pro-nuclear candidate, to win over new supporters after the Tories used Jeremy Corbyn’s previous criticism of civil nuclear power in their campaigning in the West Cumbria seat. Around 11,000 people work at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing and decommissioning site, which is in the Copeland constituency. Troughton is defending the 2,564 majority left by Jamie Reed, the pro-nuclear Labour centrist who is retiring from the Commons to take up a job at Sellafield. The respected councillor and ambulance driver will off against Trudy Harrison, a Tory and her closest rival, as well as Lib Dem, Green and UKIP candidates at Wednesday’s hustings, which has been organised by GMB, Unite and Aslef, and takes place in Whitehaven. Last month Corbyn used a quiet visit to Copeland to tell Labour members he would give his backing for plans to develop new nuclear plants as part of Britain’s “energy mix”. “This hustings will give nuclear workers and their families the opportunity to ask vital questions to the by-election candidates on the future of the nuclear industry in Copeland”, a spokesperson for the three trade unions said today.

Labour List 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Energy Costs

Scottish Power has announced a sharp increase in energy prices. The company will raise standard tariff electricity prices by 10.8% from 31 March, while gas prices will increase by 4.7%. It means a typical dual fuel annual bill will rise by an average of 7.8%, or £86. Scottish Power said in a statement that about a third of its customers – or about 1.1 million homes – would be affected by the increases.

BBC 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Two energy suppliers have been condemned by the government as “completely unacceptable” for increasing prices while a rival keeps them frozen. Scottish Power announced yesterday that it was raising its standard tariffs by 7.8 per cent, adding about £86 to annual dual fuel bills for 1.1 million households. Npower had already announced a 9.8 per cent rise. British Gas, however, said that it was freezing its prices until August. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The British Gas price freeze is good news for 5 million households but it is completely unacceptable for other suppliers to increase their prices significantly when Ofgem has said there is no case for doing so.”

The Times 11th Feb 2017 read more »

Uranium

NARSAQ, Greenland — As principal of the primary school in this once-prosperous fishing town near the southern tip of Greenland, Ivalo Motzfeldt has a clear view of what unemployment and shrinking opportunity can do to families: Children arriving at school hungry and traumatized by domestic violence. Recurrent waves of suicides. Flagging motivation and stubbornly low rates of academic advancement. Motzfeldt knows that breaking this pattern is critical to Narsaq’s future and to Greenland’s. But she passionately opposes the government’s proposed solution: an open-pit rare earth-minerals and uranium mine near town financed by a pair of Australian and Chinese mining companies. She fears that the mine will poison South Greenland’s pristine environment with radioactive waste and open the tiny nation of 56,000 to foreign meddling. “We need money, but we can’t sacrifice the land for money,” she said.

Washington Post 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Submarines

The Ministry of Defence have denied that the Royal Navy’s fleet of attack submarines are all currently out of action. Britain’s seven ‘hunter-killer’ vessels were reported to to be ‘non-operational’ as they undergo repairs and maintenance. However, an MOD source told the Telegraph the reports were “categorically not true.”

Telegraph 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Chernobyl

Chernobyl: a byword for death, destruction and environmental devastation. But it could also become a solar power source. According to Bloomberg, the Ukraine is looking for investors to develop a solar power farm in the 1,000 square miles of ‘exclusion zone’, where human habitation or farming is forbidden.

Indy100 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewables – tidal

Atlantis Resources, the tidal energy company behind the ground-breaking MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth, has struck a partnership deal to develop a tidal scheme off the Lancashire coast. Edinburgh-headquartered Atlantis said it would partner with Natural Energy Wyre (NEW) on the Wyre tidal project planned to be built between Fleetwood and Knott End. The move follows the setting up of a new division, Atlantis Energy, earlier this year to allow the group to extend its skill base. Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Aim-quoted Atlantis Resources, said: “The Wyre project is an opportunity to develop an extremely cost effective tidal range project which represents excellent value for the consumer. The Wyre project, which has been under development for several years, will comprise a 160-megawatt tidal power plant capable of producing up to 400 gigawatt-hours of carbon free power each year, coupled with flood protection. Last month, Atlantis Resources moved a step closer to developing a large-scale floating wind farm after joining forces with a French engineering firm. It signed a memorandum of understanding with Ideol, a specialist in floating wind power technology, as it develops the non-tidal side of its renewable power business.

Scotsman 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewables – underwater kite

Underwater kite developer Minesto plans to massively increase the size of the tidal energy array off Anglesey. Minesto has today announced that it intends expand the commercial roll-out of its Deep Green technology in Holyhead Deep by increasing the planned installed capacity of its tidal energy array from 10MW to 80 MW. They said this makes the proposal more attractive to investors and bring more jobs with the future potential to develop the port into a export hub for the company.

Daily Post 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News: Seven primary schools in the Glasgow area are to be fitted with solar panels. FIFE-based Living Solutions (LS) take delivery of their new hybrid Renault Kangoo van, supplied by local company – Bright Green Hydrogen (BGH).

Microgen Scotland 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Energy Efficiency

Andrew Warren argues the UK should maintain a ‘watching brief’ during important Brussels negotiations on the next wave of energy efficiency goals. Does Brexit really mean Brexit? If so, it isn’t deterring two UK government departments from deliberately seeking to water down the proposed strengthening of two European directives.

Business Green 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Grid Connections

Construction of a new subsea power link to France that was thrown into doubt by the Brexit vote will begin in September, National Grid has said. The £590 million IFA2 interconnector is due to run 127 miles between the Normandy and Hampshire coasts, enabling 1 gigawatt of electricity to be imported and helping to bolster security of supply. It is being developed jointly by National Grid and RTE, the French grid operator, and is due to be up and running by 2020. The project suffered an unexpected setback in December when CRE, the French energy regulator, withheld approval of the project and began a new consultation on the impact of Brexit.

Times 11th Feb 2017 read more »

Transport

“WEAK” climate change plans drafted by the Scottish Government will fail to cut emissions unless they stop “ignoring” private car use, Transform Scotland claims. The sustainable transport group has slammed the government’s draft climate change plan in a submission to Holyrood committees scrutinising the strategy. The group, which includes passenger watchdog Transport Focus, Edinburgh Napier University’s Transport Research Institute and the TSSA union, has said the proposals, which include a commitment to slash greenhouse gases by 66 per cent by 2032, show a “reasonable level of ambition”. However, it claims it is “heavily dependent” on the uptake of electric cars and other technological changes, and “largely ignores” existing ways to reduce harmful emissions, including the promotion of public transport and car sharing.

The National 11th Feb 2017 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Scotland could not sustain a productive shale gas industry and would need thousands of fracking sites across the central belt rather than the 300 estimated, a top geologist has claimed. Roy Thompson, of the University of Edinburgh, said that analysis of US government figures on the American shale gas industry showed that Scotland had the wrong geology. Professor Thompson, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said that geochemical, rock-physics and production data for 25 American shale gas systems allowed a comprehensive analysis of potential in Scotland. Energy companies want to open up a shale gas field to the west of the Firth of Forth but he said that the data showed the shales were below the temperatures needed for effective gas generation and were at pressures too low for the gas to rise naturally to the surface, so would require extra pumps and compressors.

Times 11th Feb 2017 read more »

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Published: 11 February 2017