Hinkley Point protest group calls for re-think by new Tory government. Campaigners fighting the proposed expansion of Hinkley Point nuclear power station near Burnham-On-Sea have this week issued a call for a fresh approach from a new Conservative Government.
Burnham-on-sea.com 11th May 2015 read more »
Anti-nuclear protesters are to stage a demonstration on the opening day of ten weeks of consultation over plans for a major new power station in Cumbria.
Carlisle News and Star 11th May 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) calls today on Prime Minister David Cameron, new Energy Minister Amber Rudd and Defence Minister Michael Fallon to initiate a timely review of UK energy policy and UK nuclear weapons policy to take into account major changes in the international nuclear policy agenda.
NFLA 11th May 2015 read more »
At the very least, those concerned about global warming and the green economy can take heart from the fact that David Cameron has not appointed a climate change sceptic as secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (he has form). Amber Rudd says climate science is “compelling” and has spoken strongly of the need for a strong deal at a crunch UN summit in Paris in December. But there appears to be much more to be optimistic about than that, with her appointment meeting with broad approval from green business and campaigners. Firstly, she was climate change minister for almost a year before the election, meaning she can hit the ground running in the tortuous but crucial climate change negotiations. One government insider told me she is “really green and no-nonsense” and can get things done, adding that her past experience as an investment banker and businesswoman will be useful in delivering the huge investment needed in the energy sector. A looming problem is the much-delayed EDF nuclear power station that Rudd backs. Despite the promise of vast subsidies, the deal is still not finalised. Rudd’s instincts will not be to throw evenRudd’s business-centred approach will also be challenged by the need to continue to increase the energy efficiency of the Britain’s cold and leaky homes. It’s the cheapest way of all to cut carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty, but the coalition’s market-based approach, the Green Deal, was a complete flop. more billpayers’ money at the problem, but losing the station would leave a big hole in the UK’s energy plans.
Guardian 11th May 2015 read more »
Caroline Flint confirmed as Shadown Energy and Climate Change Minister.
ITV 11th May 2015 read more »
Copeland MP Jamie Reed says that he is “considering his options” after several of his parliamentary colleagues suggested he should join the contest to succeed Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Carlisle News and Star 12th May 2015 read more »
The end of the coalition government and the removal of the Liberal Democrats from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) means an end to subsidies for new onshore wind farms. This was in the Conservative manifesto and with Ed Davey now gone it will be difficult for a weakened opposition to argue the counter point, at least in England. However the Conservatives will now have to recognise the parliamentary weight of the SNP. The SNP has put renewables at the heart of its energy policy and the industry has the backing of the Scottish public as well. As a result, we expect onshore wind power development to be centred in Scotland as opposed to England from this point onwards.
Scottish Energy News 12th May 2015 read more »
Green groups and low-carbon firms have welcomed the appointment of Amber Rudd as the new head of the energy and climate department, Decc. Many will be sighing with relief that David Cameron did not choose one of the more climate-sceptic candidates at his disposal. The Conservatives are keen on nuclear – but Ms Rudd will need to persuade investors that it is worth their while funding nuclear power stations, whilst also avoiding EU conflicts over subsidies.
BBC 11th May 2015 read more »
Telegraph 11th May 2015 read more »
The appointment of Amber Rudd as the Energy and Climate Change Secretary is not simply just reward for an able and collegiate politician who has just increased her majority in a marginal seat, it is also great news for the green economy. Rudd has repeatedly put herself on record as warning that it is vital to take action on climate change, because of the “devastating impact it could have nationally and internationally” – a braver and more principled position than it should be for an ambitious Conservative politician given the manner in which this analysis is loudly rejected by some of her own colleagues. More importantly, she has a coherent sense of how environmental protection and climate action fits into modern Conservatism having previously identified herself as a “Thatcherite when it comes to climate change”, fond of quoting the Iron Lady’s famous assertion that “The core of Tory philosophy and for the case for protecting the environment are the same: No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy-with a full repairing lease”. She faces numerous daunting challenges, several of which are made harder by a manifesto that lacked sufficient ambition on environmental issues and paints the Conservatives into a contradictory corner where they hymn the virtues of low cost decarbonisation while blocking low cost onshore wind farms and offering little in the way of new thinking on low cost energy efficiency measures. Sighs of relief across the green economy have just turned to cheers with the news Eric Pickles has been replaced as Communities Secretary by Greg Clark, bringing an end to a period in which Pickles sought to undermine pretty much every environmental policy he had a hand in. In contrast, Clark has won plenty of plaudits from green groups in the past and is well regarded for his rational, evidence-based approach to policy-making. Add in confirmation Liz Truss is continuing at Defra and the climate sceptic wing of the party has been well and truly locked out of the main environmental briefs.
Business Green 11th May 2015 read more »
Energydesk twitter interview with Amber Rudd.
Energy Desk 11th May 2015 read more »
Energy systems are a growing concern for cyber security experts – countries are rolling out more and more devices such as smart meters and demand response controls that need to communicate with each other to manage changing flows of electricity, improve efficiency, and curb carbon emissions. In doing so, they are sweeping away the previously isolated energy systems that were effectively tamper-proof unless someone succeeded in breaking into the control room. This is a worry for Michael John, a senior cyber security expert at the European Network for Cyber Security (ENCS), a not for profit organisation providing advice to utilities and managers of other critical infrastructure.
Business Green 11th May 2015 read more »
An Iranian bank sanctioned by the UK for allegedly funding Tehran’s nuclear weapons programme is suing the British Government for £2.3bn – claiming it breached its human rights. Bank Mellat is demanding compensation for lost business and damage to its reputation caused by the Treasury’s decision to impose sanctions against it in 2009 which banned UK firms from dealing with the lender.
Daily Mail 11th May 2015 read more »
US – MOX
A new report, commissioned by the Department of Energy (where the MOX program still has some backers), was “released” Friday. You’ll see below why we put “released” in quotes. Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch) has reviewed the report–which finds that at current funding levels, the project can never be completed. Increasing the funding to meet the staggering costs to finish the job would be just about impossible.
Green World 11th May 2015 read more »
Canada – Radwaste
As long feared, the trigger has been pulled. The Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP), representing both the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), has issued its Environmental Assessment Report on Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for so-called “low” and “intermediate” level radioactive waste burial on the Lake Huron shore. Incredibly, despite decades of concerted grassroots opposition, and years of formal testimony and revelations to the contrary, the JRP has concluded the planned radioactive waste dump “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, taking into account the implementation of the mitigation measures committed to by OPG together with the mitigation measures recommended by the Panel.” In other words, “trust us, we’re experts,” and “if everything is done right, what could possibly go wrong?!”. But we do not trust them. And since when do accidents or attacks unfold in a predictable, scripted manner? The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico is a good case study. WIPP was not supposed to leak radioactivity to the environment for 10,000, or even hundreds of thousands of years. But it did do so, in 2014, after just 15 years of operations. Tellingly, OPG’s DGR is modelled after WIPP!
Beyond Nuclear 9th May 2015 read more »
Scientists recently determined that when humans began testing nuclear weapons on Earth’s surface, a new geological age began, the Anthropocene age. Scientists now believe that hundreds and thousands of years from now, future generations of scientists will look at sediment on Earth and be able to pinpoint the beginning of that age somewhere between the 1940s and 1960s because the use of nuclear weapons during that time left its mark on the planet’s surface.
Tech Times 11th May 2015 read more »
Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a seven-year contract by Fusion For Energy (F4E) for the development and delivery of the Natural Beam Cell Remote Handling System on the ITER fusion reactor in the South of France. The framework contract, which is worth up to €70million over the next seven years, is the largest nuclear robotics contract awarded by F4E to a UK company.
Energy Voice 11th May 2015 read more »
In the name of tackling climate change, the UK has become the largest importer of wood pellets in the world in just five years. The UK’s demand for wood pellets is set to break five million tonnes this year and perhaps 10 million within a few years, fuelling a growing global trade and vociferous debate between energy firms and NGOs. Accounting methods mandated by government show burning wood in place of coal is shaving millions of tonnes off UK emissions, yet NGOs say separate government research shows the opposite. So, does the UK’s growing use of biomass for power generation help solve climate change or not? Carbon Brief guides you through the dense thicket of debate in search of answers. Good biomass includes fine woody residues taken from forests instead of burning it at the roadside, or leaving it to rot. Burning sawdust and sawmill residues is good for the climate, too, unless rising pellet demand indirectly drives deforestation in countries like Brazil. Bad biomass includes extracting larger pieces of woody residue rather than leaving them to decompose slowly on the forest floor, which might be no better for the climate than gas. The worst biomass of all would be if the surge in UK demand for wood pellets sees US forests harvested more frequently than they would have been otherwise. Evidence from the US government suggests this is already happening, and the climate impacts could be worse than coal.
Carbon Brief 11th May 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
In its first six months of existence, the world’s first solar road is performing even better than developers thought. The road, which opened in the Netherlands in November of last year, has produced more than 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy — enough to power a single household for one year.
Climate Progress 11th May 2015 read more »
Renewables – marine
A race is on worldwide to harness the tides and waves for electrical power, with more than 100 different devices being tested by companies hoping to make a commercial breakthrough. And a new report from the European Union’s Joint Research Centre expresses confidence that the Atlantic Ocean will soon be an important contributor to the continent’s energy mix. It adds that many other countries with big tidal ranges and long coasts are also banking on this form of renewable energy to help reduce fossil fuel use. For years, it has been predicted that the vast quantities of energy available in the oceans would be harnessed by human ingenuity to provide without the need for burning fossil fuels, but progress has been slower than expected.
Climate Network 11th May 2015 read more »
If 5 per cent of UK customers buy Tesla Motors’ Powerwall battery, decentralised energy storage capacity would increase to 10.5 GWh, according to Chiltern Power director John Scott. Speaking to Utility Week, he said: “It’s easy to overlook the scaling that becomes available with mass deployment. If just 5 per cent of Britain’s 30 million customers buy a Powerwall (7 kWh), that’s a total of 10.5 GWh of storage, which is equivalent to the 9 GWh Dinorwig pumped storage station in North Wales.” “That is serious storage capacity for the British system, and could be attractive from a national perspective provided that it can be harnessed to the benefit of the householder and the power system,” he added.
Utility Week 11th May 2015 read more »
Tesla battery storage product may be a cooler and cheaper option for residential customers, but it is at the commercial and grid level where the technology could make its biggest impact. That, at least, is the estimate of Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk. Last week he told analysts that the amount of energy storage deployed at grid level may be 10 times the amount installed in homes and businesses. That makes sense for several reasons. Firstly, the grid is of a much grander scale than individual homes and businesses. Secondly, the grid-scale battery storage offering is much cheaper than that for homes and businesses. And thirdly, because of the way tariffs in the US are structured, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to install storage right now in homes in the US, but does at bigger scale because of the different ways it can be deployed, the expenditure it can avoid, and the charges that can be ducked.
Renew Economy 12th May 2015 read more »
As the hype generated by Telsa’s “Powercoffin” still echoes through the media, the reinforcement of the knowledge that affordable storage is essentially here begs the question, who will it benefit? There is one thing for sure, unit dwellers and renters are most likely to pick up the tab for reduced consumption-based revenues. Storage should reduce demand peaks on the grid at more significant times such as evening and therefore reduce network costs, but this is not likely to occur with organic take-up of battery storage. There needs to be a revolution, and retailers have the key. Retail deregulation is in place, or about to be put in place in most jurisdictions, this, in theory should allow retailers to create a perfect tariff structure for renewables and storage, and indeed off peak fossil fuels (at least in the medium term).
Renew Economy 12th May 2015 read more »
In one fell swoop, Tesla has cut the cost of stationary battery storage by more than half, delivering disruption to the doorsteps of incumbent utilities and fossil fuel generators that most did not imagine would emerge for at least another decade. What it means for the consumer – and conventional energy providers – is that the combination of rooftop solar and lithium ion battery storage is now cheaper than the grid – particularly in places with high electricity costs and good sun, and that means countries like Australia.
Renew Economy 12th May 2015 read more »
Royal Dutch Shell has moved a significant step closer to be able to drill in the Arctic seas north of Alaska this summer, after receiving conditional approval for its multiyear exploration plan from the US regulator. The decision puts Shell on course to drill two wells this year in the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska, starting on about July 15.
FT 11th May 2015 read more »
Global sea levels are rising faster than previously thought, according to new research. After researchers adjusted satellite sea level data to account for the slight rise and fall of Earth’s land masses, they found sea level rise has accelerated in recent years. The cause is likely to be increasing loss of ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, the researchers say.
Carbon Brief 11th May 2015 read more »