SELLAFIELD’S unions have criticised the site’s management after two £50 million contracts were awarded to non-local firms. In an open letter to MPs and local politicians, the joint Sellafield unions – the GMB, Prospect and Unite – say the site’s workforce and the community are “outraged” that contracts to manufacture metal storage containers have gone to firms in Cambridgeshire and Durham, despite bids from West Cumbrian companies.
Whitehaven News 11th June 2015 read more »
A senior Sellafield worker and leading Girlguiding volunteer from Asby has been made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Debbie Keighley, who is head of technical capability at the plant, has been recognised for services to the nuclear industry and young people in Cumbria.
Whitehaven News 12th June 2015 read more »
COPELAND Council’s former leader, Elaine Wooburn, has been awarded an MBE in the honours. She was the youngest ever leader of Copeland Council at 36 and was also the longest serving leader. Elaine stood down from local politics this year after serving over 20 years on the council. Elaine, who will receive the honour for services to local government, was registered disabled in 2007 following the amputation of her lower leg and is now vice president of Copeland Disability Forum.
Whitehaven News 12th June 2015 read more »
A trade union has written to the government warning of the impact a new nuclear pwer station in Bradwell would bring. GMB fear that the Bradwell site, currently going through the decommissioning process, will be “handed over lock, stock and barrel” to Chinese investors interested in reviving nuclear energy in the area. The letter, addressed to Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, reads: “We are concerned at the prospect of the Bradwell nuclear site being handed over lock, stock and barrel to the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). “The idea that a Chinese state company will be given a site in the UK not far from London where they can use Chinese labour to construct a reactor to be made in China and using Chinese components would in our view constitute economic madness and raises serious safety issues.
Essex Chronicle 12th June 2015 read more »
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said a final nuclear deal was “within reach” as Iran and world powers face a 30 June deadline for an agreement. The Iranian leader also said he was following the case of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who has been detained in the Islamic Republic for nearly 11 months.
Guardian 13th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Subsidies for new wind farms should be scrapped as rural parts of the country have “had enough” of developments, the Scottish Conservatives have said. The party said the move would save money for businesses and consumers and reduce the number of sites across Scotland. The end of onshore wind subsidies was part of the Tory election manifesto. The Scotttish government said it was “important we continue to support this vital industry”. It previously set a target of around 16GW to be generated by wind farms by 2020. The Conservatives said figures showed the target had been “effectively surpassed” with 7.1GWs currently produced, while around 9GWs-worth schemes have been given the green light and other projects said to generate 4GWs are already in the planning system.
BBC 14th June 2015 read more »
UP to 30 onshore wind farms planned across Scotland could be scrapped as a result of Conservative plans to axe subsidies. The renewables industry in Scotland has reacted angrily to last week’s announcement by UK energy secretary Amber Rudd that the Westminster government is to implement its manifesto pledge to end financial incentives for new projects, although there are signs the plans could be delayed. Some industry insiders say the move could put at risk 30 planned Scottish projects that would deliver about 2 gigawatts of green power. Niall Stuart, chief executive of industry representative body Scottish Renewables, said: “Cutting financial support for onshore wind would be bad for jobs, bad for investment and can only hinder Scotland and the UK’s efforts to meet their climate change targets.
Sunday Times 14th June 2015 read more »
When it was reported two weeks ago that the UK Government would fulfil its manifesto promise to curtail subsidies for onshore wind farms by bringing forward the closure of a generous subsidy scheme, green energy firms threatened to sue and the Scottish Government responded that it was being “frozen out” of a decision that would have its greatest impact in Scotland. Barring a last minute U-turn as a result of the lobbying backlash, the new UK energy secretary Amber Rudd is widely expected to announce the shutting down of the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) subsidy system (see panel) a year earlier than expected: bringing forward the cut-off date for qualifying projects to be constructed from March 2017 to March 2016. Niall Stuart, the chief executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, told the Sunday Herald that, if Rudd confirms the early clos ure of the ROC scheme it would have a “disastrous” impact on investor confidence as developers would instead have to bid for subsidies under the more strictly rationed Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme. According to Scottish Renewables around 850 onshore wind turbines spread across 37 projects representing 2,129 megawatts of generation capacity already have planning permission in Scotland and are now under threat.
Herald 14th June 2015 read more »
THE Scottish Tories have been accused of gross hypocrisy after denouncing windfarms while one of their own MSPs plans a massive windfarm on his Highland estate. Declaring “rural Scotland has had enough”, energy spokesman Murdo Fraser yesterday urged the SNP to back a Tory election pledge to “end any new public subsidy” for onshore turbines. “The Scottish Government has rolled out the red carpet for windfarms for too long,” he said. “We can see the visual damage that has caused, and it makes no financial sense for so much money to be ploughed into a form of energy that is unreliable and intermittent. “The Conservatives in Westminster have pledged to end subsidies. Communities who’ve had their landscapes blighted by turbines will no doubt agree.” However one community potentially ” blighted by turbines” owes its fate directly to Fraser’s Holyrood colleague, the Tory environment spokesman Sir Jamie McGrigor.
Herald 14th June 2015 read more »
Onshore wind energy in the UK is bracing itself for the enaction of promises made in the Conservative manifesto. It’s possible that the Conservatives are bracing themselves, too, having conceivably not expected to have to follow through on them. There were three relevant pledges: one was to end the renewable obligation subsidy scheme a year early, with the intention of putting a stop to any new turbines; another was to have more local say in the planning of renewable energy; and a third was to prioritise renewables at the lowest possible cost. Those first and last promises are explicitly contradictory, since onshore wind is the cheapest renewable. It’s impossible to prioritise and shut it down at the same time. But the middle promise is a little vexed also, since it was made with the apparent conviction that people don’t like windfarms, especially the people who live near them.
Guardian 12th June 2015 read more »
The UK-wide rollout of smart meters needs to be run by someone outside of government, the company set up to promote the project has said. By 2020 every home should have a digital meter, which communicates directly with energy suppliers and can allow more efficient energy usage. Smart Energy GB said government was “not good” at such projects and warned it it could cost more than the budgeted £11bn without private sector input. The government has rejected the call.
BBC 13th June 2015 read more »
An energy company behind controversial plans to extract gas from coal off the Scottish coast lobbied a minister to endorse the scheme. But at the same time he attacked civil servants who questioned the project and called them “supine”, official documents obtained by The Independent on Sunday reveal. Algy Cluff, a former Army officer and gold miner whose company is driving the proposals to produce gas by partially igniting vast submarine coal seams, wrote last year to Matthew Hancock, then a minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), saying an endorsement was vital to raise money for the project. In the correspondence, released under Freedom of Information rules, Mr Cluff lambasted the DECC for having a “bland and, indeed, cynical” attitude towards the extraction technique, known as underground coal gasification (UCG). One official was singled out as being “entirely supine” because he had appeared to use “environmental literature” as a source of information on UCG.
Independent 13th June 2015 read more »
UN climate talks in Bonn ended today without the progress needed to secure agreement at the Paris COP in December – shortly after the G7 issued aspirational climate promises devoid of action, and heedless of warnings that Germany is already suffering the impacts of climate change.
Ecologist 11th June 2015 read more »