China wants to do more business with post-Brexit Britain, the country’s ambassador to the UK said, as he praised the City of London and Britain’s financial prowess. The ambassador also hinted that China will tie its plans for Britain to the success of the Hinkley Point nuclear plant, however, indicating that it expects good treatment in major projects, following the delays to the plant’s approval over the summer.
Telegraph 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Scientists at the University of Bristol are working with the energy industry to develop an ‘early warning tool’ to predict the sudden, en masse appearance of jellyfish swarms which can cause serious problems by clogging the water intakes of coastal power plants. The University of Bristol team, led by Drs Sally Wood and Erica Hendy from the School of Earth Sciences, will be developing their ideas by working with EDF Energy at its Torness power station. Torness supplies around a third of Scotland’s electricity and was offline for a week in June 2011 following a precautionary shutdown of both reactors after a blockage of cooling filters caused by a swarm of moon jellyfish. Dr Sally Wood, said: “The aim of the project is to develop a robust tool for the rapid evaluation of the likelihood and scale of jellyfish ingress at Torness based on simulated patterns of historic bloom dispersal within the North Sea from the last 20 years. “To achieve this we will be translating previous research using a state-of-the-art marine dispersal modelling system to simulate the transport of jellyfish blooms by ocean currents, incorporating specific biological behaviours of jellyfish.”The project, which has been funded by the National Environment Research Council (NERC) and EDF Energy.
Bristol University 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Westinghouse will work with UK shipbuilder Cammell Laird as well as the country’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) on a study to explore potential design efficiencies to reduce the lead times of its small modular reactor. The reactor vendor has already worked with NAMRC on a study that concluded the reactor pressure vessels for its SMR design could be made in Britain – a potentially important element in its offer to government in hope of winning a competition towards SMR demonstration. The new study will be a continuation, said Westinghouse. New to the project is Cammell Laird, a shipbuilder based in Liverpool that has been increasing its involvement in the UK’s nuclear sector for several years. In 2010 it agreed to work with Nuvia towards manufacture of modules for decommissioning and for new build, and in 2011 the pair were joined by Ansaldo Nucleare of Italy, which is experienced in AP1000 work. This is in addition to Cammell Laird’s ongoing work in offshore oil, gas and wind.
World Nuclear News 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Unexpectedly high growth in the renewable energy market, in terms of investment, new capacity and high growth rates in developing countries have contributed to a change in the energy landscape, the latest World Energy Resources report released by the World Energy Council (WEC) today shows. However, it says nuclear energy “is increasingly seen as a means to add large scale baseload power generation while limiting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions”. The publication, updated every three years, “comprises a comprehensive and unique set of global energy resources data and related information,” according to WEC. “This information allows energy decision-makers to better understand the reality of the energy sector and the resource developments.”
World Nuclear News 12th Oct 2016 read more »
The UK’s official advisers have issued a sombre assessment of government plans to hold climate change at a safe level. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the government is not on track to meet its pledge of cutting emissions 80% by 2050. And they controversially warn ministers to park their recent ambition to tighten carbon reduction targets to protect vulnerable nations. Ministers say they are determined to tackle climate change. They say they will publish new policies soon. They support the Paris Agreement on climate which commits to holding temperature rise to 2C – preferably 1.5C. But the committee is warning the government not to run before it has proved that it can walk. They controversially advise ministers not to adopt stricter targets for the moment, even though poor nations say they are essential. The advice has infuriated campaigners. Craig Bennett from Friends of the Earth told BBC News: “The job of the committee is to offer advice on carbon budgets based on the scientific evidence, not what feels politically expedient.”What message will it send to the world for Britain, once a climate leader, to give up on one central tenets of the Paris Agreement less than 12 months after it was signed? “It’s no surprise that the government’s approach to climate policy is failing. A five-year-old could tell you building runways, allowing new open-cast coal mines, and forcing fracking on local communities while doing precious little to support renewables or energy saving isn’t going to help us limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
BBC 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Campaigners have expressed fears of a ‘bonfire’ of environmental regulations after Britain leaves the EU. The Government must not abandon the fight against global warming after Brexit – despite calls to do so from the climate-sceptic wing of the Conservative party – its official advisers have said in a report. There are fears of a “bonfire” of regulations designed to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gases after the UK leaves the European Union, which has developed world-leading standards. In the report, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said its number one “key message” was that the UK’s climate goals “have not changed”. Targets to reduce carbon emissions “must continue to be met after the UK has left the EU”, it stressed. The UK is currently on course to cut emissions by only half the amount needed by 2030 and the CCC said there was an urgent need for action – rather than more promises. A failure to switch to an energy efficient, clean and green economy could cause economic problems as British companies would struggle to sell their products in Europe, the CCC warned. In this scenario, firms on the continent might also engage in “dumping” of out-dated, polluting and expensive-to-run cars and consumer products on the UK market.
Independent 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The UK government needs to kickstart technologies to suck carbon dioxide from the air if it is to play its part in meeting the goals of the Paris climate change agreement, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s official advisers. The global climate deal, which the prime minister, Theresa May, says the UK will ratify by the end of 2016, pledges net zero emissions by the second half of the century, in order to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Given that some emissions, such as those from aviation and agriculture, will be very difficult to reduce to zero, that means removing some carbon from the atmosphere. Planting trees is the simplest solution but is limited by the land available, meaning more radical technologies need to be developed, such as chemically scrubbing CO2 from the air and burying it. “A strategy for deployment [of new carbon-removal technologies] at scale by 2050 should start now given the timescales inherent in bringing new technologies to market,” says a new CCC report. Another CCC report published on Thursday says the UK must act urgently to cut emissions from the heating of homes and other buildings, which ar e largely reliant on gas and cause 20% of the nation’s carbon emissions. UK emissions have fallen 38% since 1990, but virtually all of this drop is from greener electricity. Lord Deben, the CCC’s chairman, said a “step change” was needed in how the UK heats its homes, a problem that threatens the UK’s ability to meet its carbon targets. The CCC said the government must focus on the rollout of heat pumps and low-carbon district heating systems and the testing of hydrogen as a clean-burning replacement for natural gas. Hydrogen has the advantage of using the existing gas network, but is as yet untested. The hydrogen could be produced using spare renewable electricity, from biofuels or from fossil fuels. The latter would only be low carbon if emissions were captured and stored but ministers abruptly cancelled its flagship carbon capture and storage policy in November 2015. The CCC said hydrogen should receive similar research support to the £250m the government is already giving to small modular nuclear reactors. A third CCC report addresses the climate policy implications of Brexit for the UK. It notes that the UK’s key climate targets – cutting emissions by 57% by 2030 and by at least 80% by 2050 – are already enshrined in domestic law, under the Climate Change Act. But the CCC said EU efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances would have to be replaced to avoid the risk of manufacturers dumping inefficient products on UK consumers. “Efficiency standards cut costs for consumers, reduce emissions, and create a level playing field for competition.” the CCC report says. “If the UK has weaker standards than the EU that could lead to a dumping on the UK market of inefficient products with higher running costs and emissions.”
Guardian 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Heating and hot water for UK buildings make up one fifth of UK emissions but progress improving efficiency has stalled. A new energy efficiency programme is needed for UK homes, including 7 million insulations of walls and lofts. Efficiency measures could cut energy demand for heating by around 15% while reducing energy bills and delivering improvements in comfort, health and wellbeing. The Committee’s new report sets out principles of good policy design needed to improve delivery on efficiency and low-carbon heat. The UK’s attempts to deliver low-carbon heat have so far been unsuccessful. A proper strategy is needed so that the next Parliament can set a clear course for the UK. That must include the immediate and properly targeted roll-out of heat pumps and heat networks between now and the mid-2020s, alongside sizeable trials of hydrogen for heating. If hydrogen is to be a serious low-carbon option, carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be needed, which will only be possible if the Government urgently introduces a new strategy for its development and deployment in the UK. The CCC recommendations are broadly in line with an emerging GB-with national consensus on the need to increasingly de-carbonise heating and transport now that the ‘low hanging fruit’ of taxpayer subsidised onshore wind farms has gone.
Scottish Energy News 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The UK will have to use negative emissions to comply with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to its official climate advisers. Plans to start using greenhouse gas removal technologies by 2050 should be drawn up immediately, says the government’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC). It adds that global use of these technologies “will be central” to meeting the Paris goal of net-zero emissions. However, the CCC warns that they are not a substitute for reducing emissions now. It says the UK must “vigorously pursue” efforts “with urgency” to meet its existing carbon budgets to 2030.
Carbon Brief 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Two coal power plants will be paid a combined £77m to be on standby this winter as part of National Grid’s plan to minimise the risk of electricity blackouts. The size of the UK’s capacity margin – the buffer zone between available power supply and predicted peak demand – will be revealed on Friday when National Grid publishes its winter outlook. The margin is understood to be higher than the 5.5% predicted by National Grid earlier this year. That was itself an improvement on last year’s “tight but manageable” 5.1%. The improved position has been achieved partly by paying around £144m for tools that can be used in case of unexpected e vents, such as a shutdown at a major power plant. The largest of these tools is the supplemental balancing reserve (SBR), under which power plants are paid to be on standby for four months, ready to start up if needed. Of the eight firms to win SBR contracts, the largest is the Eggborough coal power plant in North Yorkshire, which has agreed to provide up to 681MW of power. Calculations by the climate campaign group Sandbag, and confirmed by separate industry sources, suggest Eggborough will be paid £60m to be on standby. The sum is the equivalent of more than 10% of the plant’s revenue during its last 18-month reporting period. A coal plant owned by the power firm SSE at Fiddler’s Ferry in Cheshire is understood to have been paid £17m for the same service, making 422MW available.
Guardian 12th Oct 2016 read more »
STIRLING COUNCIL has said that nuclear convoys are not welcome in a motion passed by a meeting last Thursday. Such convoys frequently pass through the city and neighbouring towns, transporting nuclear warheads to and from Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde. A recent report has shown that such convoys have seen 180 ‘mishaps’ over just a 16 year period and new analysis has mapped the potential impact that contamination from nuclear material could have in the event of any serious road accident. The motion, originally submitted by SNP councillors, resulted in a combined amendment signed by the SNP and Labour leader. All parties voted unanimously for the motion that called for Stirling to be a “nuclear free zone” except from the Conservative group.
Stirling News 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Thirteen local authority areas in Wales have been identified in a Ministry of Defence report as having nuclear weapons material passing through or over them. A Plaid Cymru MP has called on the UK Government to come clean about what is going on. But the MoD refuses to give any information about the transportation of the material, saying it never discusses such matters for security reasons. The revelation has surprised nuclear experts, who say material used in Britain’s nuclear arsenal is usually transported by road from Berkshire to a location near Glasgow. David Lowry, a Welsh nuclear specialist who has advised a number of parliamentarians including Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn and been an expert witness, came across the published MoD report called Local Authority and Emergency Services Information Edition 10 by accident. It lists 13 of Wales’ 22 local authorities, all in South Wales and Mid Wales.
Wales Online 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Oct 12 Swiss utilities Axpo, Alpiq and BKW have withdrawn their joint request to build nuclear plants, bowing to the Swiss decision to phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The three companies said on Wednesday they had asked the government to cancel the framework request submitted in 2008 that was suspended in 2011 following the disaster.
Reuters 12th Oct 2016 read more »
The UK government’s own projections expect solar and wind power to be cheaper than new nuclear power by the time Hinkley Point C is completed. Renewable energy has been a real success story over the past six years supported through the Renewables obligation, Feed in Tariff and RHI. As the renewables sector matures, the expectation has always been that the support mechanisms would taper away and renewables would stand on its own two feet. While the removal of support over the past year has been sharper than many would have wanted causing rapid change within renewables, the good news is that opportunities for energy projects remain plentiful for farmers and innovative solutions are being brought forward. Smart energy, energy storage and “behind the meter” optimisation are the new buzz words for farmers wanting to get the most from renewable energy initiatives post-referendum, say experts. This is the theme of the multi-streamed Energy Now conference on 8 and 9 February 2017 which farmers and landowners interested in exploring renewables opportunities should not miss. The event will examine the ways that savvy farmers are making renewable energy installations stack up in a reduced subsidy world, by using the latest technology to displace energy consumption, and examining new ways to add value.
Farming Life 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Star Renewable Energy has urged energy customers to invest in renewable heating technology before the Renewable Heat Incentive ceases in five years’ time. The heat pump firm said that energy users should invest in renewable heating technologies before government incentives to support their uptake ends. Star Renewable Energy (SRE) claimed that large heatpumps are the only scalable renewable heat system capable of becoming zero carbon by 2050. SRE technical engineer Nicky Cowan said: “Proven renewable heating technologies that avoid burning gas, particularly large district heat pumps, are becoming one of the most talked about topics for governments and increasingly recognised as the best way to combat climate change. “According to the Committee on Climate Change, heating may have to almost fully decarbonise if the UK is to hit its long-term goal of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050.”
Utility Week 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Radical plans to use hydrogen to heat UK homes and businesses have moved a step closer after the Government’s official climate advisers said the plan was “technically feasible” and called for major trials to be undertaken. In a report, the Committee on Climate Change identified using hydrogen in place of natural gas in the UK’s existing gas grid as one of the two “main options” for greening Britain’s heating supplies. It said the second was the use of heat pumps, which use a reverse refrigeration process to draw heat from the air, ground or a water source. The Government must decide by 2025 what role hydrogen will play in order to implement its chosen plan in time to hit its 2050 climate targets, Matthew Bell, the CCC chief executive, said. About 80pc of UK homes are currently heated using natural gas from the grid, which produces carbon dioxide when burnt. Influential voices including energy giant Centrica and the think tank Policy Exchange have recently questioned the idea of widespread use of heat pumps, which can be disruptive to install in homes and require electricity to produce heat – potentially increasing the strain and cost on the UK’s power infrastructure. Distribution grid owner Northern Gas Networks has proposed the use of hydrogen, which would require new household appliances but could be distributed in existing gas grids. It has drawn up plans to convert the city of Leeds to run on hydrogen as a precursor to a £50bn national roll-out.
Telegraph 12th Oct 2016 read more »
It was one of the stranger battlegrounds of the Brexit debate: the controversy over the EU’s plans to save energy by banning high-powered toasters and kettles. But now the Committee on Climate Change has poured cold water on Brexiteers’ hopes that leaving the EU would see Britain carry on using power-guzzling appliances with abandon. In a report on the implications of Brexit, the Government’s official climate advisers warned that retaining weaker energy efficiency standards for consumer goods in the UK would jeopardise emissions-reduction plans and be bad for consumers and manufacturers alike. In order to hit the UK’s own climate change targets, it said “some policy previously set at EU level should be preserved and strengthened in future”, including “product and efficiency standards” on household appliances and vehicles.
Telegraph 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Professor Turner is director and Dr Riddoch is senior knowledge exchange fellow in the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde. NICOLA Sturgeon has announced a stimulus package to support the Scottish economy following the EU referendum result, including a welcome £20 million investment to improve the energy efficiency of the country’s buildings. The inclusion of energy efficiency in the Scottish Government’s stimulus plan reflects a new perspective. Economic thinking around energy efficiency is changing. As the wider impacts are explored, multiple potential benefits emerge, from job creation to reduced pressure on the NHS. Our research highlights the benefits of the lasting economic stimulus triggered by such investments. Insulating, upgrading and renovating buildings creates work and jobs during the upgrade process. By putting money into building projects, this investment stimulates new work in the construction sector. The new thinking does not stop there. There is mounting evidence of links between warm dry homes and mental and physical health. A well refurbished, energy efficient house keeps people more healthy meaning the NHS will also benefit from reduced pressure on resources. There are several organisations working to promote a strong energy efficiency policy that advocate the new energy efficiency thinking for Scottish policy makers. The Existing Homes Alliance (EXHA) and Energy Action Scotland realise that there are many reasons to improve all inefficient homes. Our research highlights the benefits of the lasting economic stimulus triggered by improving energy efficiency. EXHA. calls for all homes to be brought up to at least an energy performance certificate rating of C by 2025, an ambition it says would eradicate fuel poverty and achieve Scotland’s climate targets.
Herald 13th October 2016 http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/14798226.Making_buildings_energy_efficient_will_bring_so_many_added_benefits/
Smart Energy GB has called for digitalisation of the energy market to be “intensely scrutinised” by government to ensure it goes in the right direction. Smart Energy GB also called for issues around serving vulnerable customers are addressed and solved quickly. The chief executive of Smart Energy GB, which is behind the national campaign for the smart meter rollout, was speaking at a meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) on the energy revolution. Also on the panel was the Centre for Sustainable Energy chief executive Simon Roberts, who expressed his concerns about an “issue of understanding” in the energy sector that could result in unintended consequences from the revolution. He added: “There are issues around the absolute need to decrease demand, the absolute need to increase the ability to map demand and deal with variable sources but also the opportunity to use data and techniques to support more vulnerable households better. Those are the things we think we can achieve through this disruption and revolution but they are not inevitable. “I think there is an assumption that is built into a lot of the discourse that progress is always positive and markets will do right by consumers. We are not in a world where government yet understand how those rules affect the types of disruption that comes forward. Unless we get underneath the skin of that we won’t get the benefits and may end up with something that wasn’t quite intended.”
Utility Week 12th Oct 2016 read more »
The British public’s support for fracking has fallen sharply in the last year and is now at the lowest level ever, according to a long-running poll published as the industry gears up to begin drilling. New polling by YouGov for the University of Nottingham, which has been tracking attitudes towards shale gas extraction for more than four years, shows support for fracking in the UK is now at 37.3%, down from 46.5% a year ago and 58% in the summer of 2013. Opposition has hardened too, up at 41% from 36.1% one year ago, meaning more people oppose than support the controversial technology for the first time.
Guardian 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Fracking will not be safely regulated in Scotland, according to an expert report. Professor Andrew Watterson and Dr Will Dinan from the University of Stirling argue that regulatory agencies lack the staff and resources to protect the public from pollution risks. No-one has worked out how to make sure that regulation is effective, they say. They warn that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) will not have the capacity to oversee the thousands of fracking wells that could be drilled across the central belt to extract underground shale gas. There are fears that the wells could leak, causing groundwater contamination and climate pollution.
The Ferret 12th Oct 2016 read more »