French state-controlled utility EDF has signed agreements with Chinese firms which will supply equipment for two nuclear reactors EDF plans to build in Hinkley Point, Britain, the company said. In October 2013, Chinese utilities CGN and CNNC signed an agreement with EDF to take a 30 to 40 percent stake in the consortium to build Hinkley Point. The new supply deal would mean that the participation of the Chinese companies would not be purely financial, French daily Les Echos said. An EDF spokeswoman said the firm had also signed a memorandum of understanding to exchange information between the companies working on the Areva-designed EPR reactors for Hinkley Point and two EPR reactors CGN is building in Taishan, China.
Reuters 12th May 2015 read more »
In 2010, the then outgoing Chief Secretary Liam Byrne famously left a note to his successor saying “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there is no money. Kind regards and good luck!” To my knowledge, the outgoing energy secretary, Ed Davey, has left no such letter. But the new Secretary of State for Energy, Amber Rudd MP, may find that the energy and climate change budget is in a similarly depleted state. The vast majority of energy and climate change policies are funded through levies on consumer bills, rather than taxes. In total these represent around seven per cent of the average dual fuel bill. Certain levies related to renewables are managed under the so-called Levy Control Framework (LCF), which was agreed between the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and HM Treasury in 2010. The LCF cap has been set at £4.3bn in 2014/15, rising to £7.6bn in 2020/21 (in 2011/12 prices). If costs look likely to exceed the cap, then DECC must take steps to bring them within budget.
Business Green 12th May 2015 read more »
Is the clean energy sector facing a subsidy budget crisis? New Policy Exchange report to warn that crucial Levy Control Framework budget may already be exceeded, but DECC insists fears are unjustified
Business Green 12th May 2015 read more »
Worries are already being expressed about how the incoming Conservative Government might perform as a steward of the environment, so let us look at some of the new administration’s options and possible moves, especially now that there are no Lib Dem hands to restrain them. The worry is more about how the carbon emissions target is achieved, as many Tories are hostile to renewable energy, especially those forms of it which they see as blighting rural landscapes such as onshore wind and solar farms. The Government will cut subsidies to them. The performance of the EAC in the last Parliament was terrific: it issued 45 reports, staying the Government’s hand on a number of issues from fracking to pesticides. Its forceful chair, the Labour MP Joan Walley, has, alas, retired; but many will hope for the reappointment to it of the two most environmentally minded MPs in the House, the Tory (but in effect, independent) Zac Goldsmith, and the only Green MP, Caroline Lucas, who is a symbol of what many people want from politics.
Independent 11th May 2015 read more »
With renewable energy now reaching households in the form of rooftop solar and battery storage (like Tesla’s new Powerwall), the chorus calling for the demise of the traditional utility has become deafening. The rise of distributed generation will cause massive load and grid defection that will lead to a loss of revenue by the utilities. As a result, utilities will be hobbled by the democratisation of electricity generation or so the narrative goes. This does not mean the traditional utility will disappear. Rather, we can expect the most progressive ones to evolve with their changed circumstances and embrace these new technologies. Simultaneously, regulators will be rewriting industry rules to correctly compensate all participants. We believe First Solar’s CEO, Jim Hughes, said it best when he recently suggested the future compensation for industry participants will be driven by what they add to system reliability. This perfectly captures the essence of the trend towards distributed generation. Ultimately the customer does not care how electricity is delivered, just that it is and when it is needed. Instead of writing off the incumbency, be ready for their response because it is coming.
Renew Economy 13th May 2015 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: Change happens and people get used to doing things differently. What we cannot imagine now, becomes normal. And Uber, Hailo, Airbnb etc is showing us just how quickly this can happen. However, I also want to be safe and so I want regulators to (1) keep up with change, and ensure that individuals (read me) know about these risks – which I did not – and (2) I want regulations to ensure that, de facto, working to lower customer standards does not lead to higher commercial benefits. ICT is changing our everyday lives. Regulation is facing similar challenges because of this across all areas. It seems to me that the regulatory role is increasingly about being flexible, adaptable, co-ordinative and self-reflexive rather than the original insurer of economic efficiency.
IGov 12th May 2015 read more »
EDF Energy has awarded a contract for its nuclear power stations in the UK. Engineering firm Jacobs will provide project management resources to EDF’s eight nuclear power stations and two technical centres in the UK. Company officials did not disclose the contract value but noted it is for five years with optional two-year extensions. The eight power stations have a combined capacity of almost 8.8 million KW.
Energy Live News 13th May 2015 read more »
A Chatteris manufacturer is celebrating after being awarded a contract potentially worth £47 million to provide waste storage containers for the Sellafield nuclear site.
Cambs Times 12th May 2015 read more »
Amec Foster Wheeler has secured a €70m contract with Fusion For Energy (F4E), to develop the neutral beam cell remote handling system for the international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) in Cadarache, France.
Energy Business Review 11th May 2015 read more »
Before being allowed to restart the Doel-3 and Tihange-2 reactors, operator Electrabel needs to submit a safety case in which it “convincingly demonstrates” that the presence of hydrogen flakes in the walls of the reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) do not compromise structural integrity, Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) said. Fanc and its technical subsidiary Bel V will review the safety case using the expertise of inspection organisation AIB Vincotte, an international review board, and an external research team. The safety case needs to look at ultrasonic inspection techniques used on the RPVs, material properties and structural integrity, Fanc said. The Doel-3 and Tihange-2 units were shut down in 2012 after the flaws were discovered in their RPVs. In June 2013 the units were restarted, but were shut down again in March 2014 after unexpected results from additional tests.
Nucnet 8th May 2015 read more »
Following the accidental fire in a transformer at the troubled Indian Point nuclear site last weekend, and the unplanned release of oil into the Hudson River, calls are growing for the two remaining power plants to be shut down, writes Karl Grossman. The NRC is likely to extend its expiring licenses for another 20 years – but New York State could still refuse it a water use permit.
Ecologist 12th May 2015 read more »
A New York nuclear plant has had a transformer fire and leaked oil into the Hudson River. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo confirmed the oil discharge at Indian Point but “exactly how much, we don’t know” he said. He revealed the initial fire which broke out over the weekend, had been put out but the heat from the transformer reignited, so it had to be extinguished again.
Energy Live News 12th May 2015 read more »
French police are investigating fires that caused minor damage near three nuclear installations, state-owned utility EDF and atomic research agency CEA said on Tuesday. Fires broke out on Monday morning at a weather station near EDF’s former Brennilis nuclear power station in Brittany and another near its Belleville nuclear plant on the Loire river, a spokeswoman said. She said the fire had damaged equipment belonging to the IRSN nuclear research institute used to measure pollution and radioactivity at the weather stations, which are each about 1.5 kilometres away from the nuclear plants.
Reuters 12th May 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
A new solar electricity generation system that developers claim is the most efficient in the world, is being tested in South Africa’s Kalahari desert. The Swedish company behind the project – which combines military technology with an idea developed by a 19th-century Scottish engineer and clergyman – says it is on the verge of building its first commercial installation. In the remote Northern Cape province, huge mirrors reflect the sun across the brown Kalahari sand. This is the test site for Swedish company Ripasso, which is using the intense South African sun and local manufacturing know-how to develop their cutting-edge kit. This is the only working small-scale concentrated solar energy system of its kind in the world. 34% of the sun’s energy hitting the mirrors is converted directly to grid-available electric power, compared to roughly half that for standard solar panels. Traditional photovoltaic panels are able to turn about 23% of the solar energy that strikes them into electricity, but this is cut to around 15% before it is usable by the grid.
Guardian 13th May 2015 read more »
Japanese scientists are developing a spacecraft that will have a square screen of solar panels measuring more than 1.2 miles along each side and use microwaves to beam energy down to Earth. Researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are working with Japan Space Systems to solve one of the enduring problems associated with the most common form of renewable energy; it does not work at night and is inefficient in bad weather. Solar panels that are not affected by weather and gathered by a Space Solar Power System (SSPS) positioned to constantly face the sun are able to generate an estimated 10 times as much power as Earth-based solar panels.
Telegraph 12th May 2015 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
Exciting developments taking place in Scotland’s energy system, where the stated national goal is to go 100% renewables for electricity supply by 2020. Achieving this goal, whether in 2020 or sometime in the decade afterwards, w ill rely heavily on Scotland’s large wind resources, both onshore and offshore. As a sparsely populated country (total population is 5.4 million) with significant renewable energy resources, Scotland “..is in a unique position to demonstrate how the transition to a low-carbon, widely distributed energy economy may be undertaken.” What is Scotland’s current energy situation? In Late November 2014 it was announced by the independent trade body Scottish Renewables that “.. with numbers from the first half of 2014, ..renewable energy was Scotland’s largest source of (electrical) power.” Specifically, for the first half of 2014, renewables provided 10.3 TWh of electrical energy, while nuclear power, previously Scotland’s main sources of electricity, provided 7.8 TWh. Coal was third with 5.6 TWh with natural gas at 1.4 TWh. This increase in renewable generation continues.
Clean Technica 11th May 2015 read more »
Climate change campaigners reacted with disappointment as Edinburgh University announced on Tuesday that it would not fully divest from fossil fuels. Students lay down in protest on the steps of the building where senior vice principal Professor Charlie Jeffery set out the unanimous decision by the university’s court. Insisting that the university was committed to a change of investment policy, Jeffery said: “Our commitment is to engage before divestment, but the expectation is that we will bring about change by engagement.”
Guardian 12th May 2015 read more »
In the past 20 years, warming temperatures have caused two ice shelves in Antarctica to collapse into the ocean. New research points to a third shelf, more than twice the size of Wales, which has thinned so much that it could now also face collapse. The loss of the shelf would allow glaciers to flow more quickly into the ocean, pushing sea levels beyond current projections for this century, the researchers say.
Carbon Brief 13th May 2015 read more »
Guardian 13th May 2015 read more »