Simon Jenkins: When David Cameron departed Downing Street, he left three white elephants grazing the Whitehall grasslands. They had been awaiting their fate for years, kept going with fodder slipped them by their kindly keeper, George Osborne. Cameron never made up his mind what to do with them and so left them to his successor. Their names were Hinkley, HS2 and Heathrow. Last month she gave Hinkley, the sickest of the beasts, a loving hug. Hinkley Point C was always a blind alley in the vexed world of nuclear power generation, a giant reactor that has never worked and may never. Such is the financial state of its French builder, EDF, that doubt still consumes its future. When announced by the government last month, the reasons given for proceeding were entirely political. It would help the French, please the Chinese, create jobs. For taxpayers and consumers who must pay for it, it is a dreadful deal. But like all such projects, as economics deflates, politics inflates. We have been given a worrying insight into the performance of the prime minister’s policy team. As in decisions on obesity, grammar schools and immigrant registers, there is a sense that May’s staff are out of their depth, unable to scrutinise policies passing across their desks. It is always easier to take the quickest route to a headline. As a result, we are saddled with three of the worst and most extravagant projects inflicted on British taxpayers in a generation.
Guardian 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Energy Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe believes the approval of Hinkley Point C signals “the start of a nuclear renaissance”. Speaking at an event this week, she said the decision is a vital demonstration to the rest of the world that the UK is open for business in the aftermath of Brexit. She told the audience the delayed and over-budget project remains a good deal for taxpayers and consumers and stressed the importance of the site in providing a secure baseload in case of intermittent renewable generation. She said: “There are other advantages to the deal. EDF expects around 64% of the value of construction to be spent in the UK and Hinkley will deliver 26,000 high quality jobs and apprenticeships for people in Somerset and across the UK.
Energy Live News 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Kirsty Gogan: Hinkley already, it looks like an antique. Will it be possible to standardise and duplicate such a behemoth reactor design, making it scalable to solve our national energy security needs (beyond the seven per cent it will deliver), let alone contribute towards the global challenges of clean energy access within urgent timescales? The EPR is a high cost outlier compared to new build elsewhere, and a world apart from projects in South Korea or China. Many people have a feeling of dread with the prospect of delays, cost increases and who knows what difficulties for a project of this complexity, not to mention the associated impact on communities around the Olympic scale construction site suffering years of dust and disruption. It seems like a heavy price to pay. All the same, had the decision gone the other way, it would have been devastating for overall confidence in the nuclear new build programme and investors more generally in the UK. Hinkley now needs to move forward as fast and successfully as possible, pumping investment into regions outside the South East, rebooting the skills and supply chain. The UK then must accelerate as soon as possible into a new era of modern nuclear development.Strategic priorities for the nuclear sector, beyond Hinkley, are to tackle construction delay; cost over-runs; slow build rate; and high financing costs. The future lies in modular build and shipyard assembly of mass-produced units that can be manufactured and shipped to sites for installation rather than custom-built, thereby speeding up construction times and lowering direct and financing costs. This has less to do with science or technology and more to do new business models designed to accelerate commercialization of climate solutions, at scale, within mid-century timescales.
Business Green 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Invasions of jellyfish have proved adept at shutting down power plants in recent years. But an early warning tool is now in development to alert power stations to incoming swarms which block the cooling water intakes of coastal plants. EDF’s Torness nuclear power plant in Scotland was closed for a week in 2011 after a mass of moon jellyfish invaded and the company is now working with researchers from the University of Bristol to tackle the problem. Jellyfish swarms have also closed nuclear and coal power plants in Sweden, the US and Japan in recent years, and the new forecast tool is being designed to work in all oceans. Israeli power stations have also had jellyfish problems, while the Philippines suffered a massive blackout in 1999 after 50 truck loads of jellyfish had to be removed, and a US nuclear-powered warship, the USS Ronald Reagan, was incapacitated when visiting Australia in 2006. Using data from recent invasions, the researchers will backtrack to identify the hotspots where the blooms are likely to have developed and where monitoring should be put in place to spot them early. EDF is already researching whether satellite imaging or drones could be used as lookouts. The 18-month project will build on work developed to study the dispersal of coral larvae and has £160,000 of government funding from the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council. It could also be adapted to analyse flows of seaweed, which closed the Torness nuclear plant in 2013.
Guardian 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The iconic attack aircraft was part of the huge training operation at Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station. An Apache helicopter was soaring through the sky in Gwynedd as part of a simulated strike at Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power station. Soldiers from three different continents joined forces on Wednesday to imitate a battle for Llanbedr airfield and the power station in North Wales. The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) was taking part in the most ambitious exercise they have ever conducted.
Daily Post 13th Oct 2016 read more »
FIREFIGHTERS at Urenco, the uranium enrichment plant, are being balloted over strike action after being told they will be made redundant.
Chester Standard 13th Oct 2016 read more »
French state-controlled utility EDF will have enough margin to meet power demand during peak consumption periods this winter, and expects more reactors to resume production by January following scheduled maintenance outages, a spokesman said on Tuesday. “Based on our current analysis as of today, we have enough margin of manoeuvre to meet demand this winter, even if we were to have extended outages at some plants,” the spokesman said. He added that the start date for EDF’s third-generation EPR pressurized water reactor in Flamanville was unchanged at end-2018, denying a media report that it could be delayed. French spot and forward electricity prices have hit new highs over the past two weeks following reports that France could face tight supplies after nuclear safety authority ASN asked EDF to carry out more tests on some reactors.
Reuters 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Future Gas research meeting, Copenhagen, 12-13th October 2016. Gas supply and future outlook; Demand by sector and potential across sectors; Increasing reliance on imports; Carbon reduction implies little natural gas used for heat by 2050 and some for power; Limited biomass resource for biogas and big questions over hydrogen; Questions about reducing total energy use via energy efficiency measures.
IGov 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Jim Ratcliffe (Ineos): The present situation is exacerbated by the fact that the UK has had no coherent energy policy for decades. As we see out the last days of coal-fired power stations which are simply too “dirty” for modern environmental standards, we are well into the twilight years of North Sea gas and are sitting on an ageing fleet of nuclear power stations. The Government has appeared to bet the bank in the last 20 years on windmills, despite the head of the renewables lobby recently admitting England just isn’t windy enough for them to work. If we take the country’s total energy requirements, minus transport fuel, then we see that gas and nuclear completely dominate our supply at around 60pc. Wind, which fluctuates widely from day to day, sits at only 3pc. If we assume that coal will be phased out in the next few years then the burden on gas and nuclear only increases. We are totally dependent today as a country on gas and nuclear. There are no viable alternatives on any sensible time horizon. But, and it’s a big but, we are fast running out of gas in the North Sea and our nuclear fleet is ageing. North Sea gas production peaked in the year 2000, and is now running at less than 50pc of its peak; in 10 years’ time it will be at less than 20pc. So we must choose between Russian imports and expensive LNG imports, or developing a shale industry of our own, in which Ineos has a vested interest. Rather than the current financing agreement in place with EDF and their Chinese counterparts, the Government should consider paying for it up front and put it on the UK’s balance sheet, because once the capital has been spent the variable costs of producing electricity are very low and it can provide highly competitive power to manufacturing for many years to come. For the foreseeable future, the UK is dependent on gas and nuclear for its primary energy needs to serve the general public and industry/commerce. Our energy policy for the next 10 years should give priority to exploiting shale gas safely and to building “tried and tested” new nuclear. It really is not so complicated.
Telegraph 14th Oct 2016 read more »
UK heating must be virtually zero-carbon by 2050, says the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Options to reach this goal include district heating schemes, low-carbon hydrogen in the gas grid and electric heat pumps, the CCC says, in a new report on decarbonising heat. Each option poses problems and will take time to develop. Yet deployment cannot wait until the 2030s, the committee says. It must start now in order lay the groundwork for roll-out later on. The UK also needs a new approach to improving energy efficiency, the CCC says, which could include direct regulation of home performance.
Carbon Brief 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The government has admitted it needs to do more to ensure the UK meets its emissions targets from the early 2020s onwards. Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s annual progress report published in June, it recognised that as things stand Britain is on course to breach the fourth carbon budget running between 2023 and 2027 by 10 per cent. “We know we need to do more to meet our targets from the early 2020s,” it said. “We have always been clear that options would be developed in this parliament. This work is underway and will be set out in the emissions reduction plan.”
Utility Week 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The government is “taking its time” to prepare a critical new emissions reductions plan, which it accepts is vital to getting the UK back on track to meeting its carbon targets beyond 2022. In a new report released today, Climate Change Minister Nick Hurd said the plan – now widely expected to be released early next year – will pursue emissions reductions “fairly and cost effectively”, covering energy, industry, transport and buildings.
Business Green 13th Oct 2016 read more »
As the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) releases three new reports on the UK meeting its climate commitments, edie rounds up the key green policy calls made by the Committee surrounding low-carbon heat, Brexit and the Paris Agreement.
Edie 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The government’s climate advisors, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), today provided a green data blitz, releasing a series of reports on three key policy areas pertinent to the UK’s climate goals: Brexit, the Paris Agreement and heat policy. BusinessGreen highlights the key takeaways from the reports: Heat is the major climate policy gap; The government needs to take action on heat now to reduce emissions; The role of hydrogen as low carbon heat option needs to be established; The upcoming Emissions Reduction Plan must include all of the above; Despite the Paris Agreement, Britain should wait to enshrine new carbon targets into law; Brexit won’t affect climate targets – but there are areas of concern for the green economy; The CCC is confident the new government is engaged with climate risks and opportunities.
Business Green 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom is one of the world’s largest nuclear companies, with operations not only in Russia, but in many countries around the world. The last years, Rosatom has been very active in trying to expand its operations, proposing and building nuclear power plants all around the world. In the first week of October this year, Alexei Likachev was appointed as the new CEO of Rosatom, replacing Sergey Kiriyenko. In light of these developments some commentators have foreseen that Rosatom will further increase their activities abroad in the near future, seeing as Likachevs expertise lies in international relations. Therefore, we have compiled a list of Rosatoms planned projects abroad as of October 2016 for further reference. Planned reactors: 19; Reactors under construction: 5
Bellona 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Alexey Likhachov, the new director general of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, has told the country’s prime minister that Rosatom’s portfolio of foreign orders is expected to reach $137 billion by the end of this year, up from $110 billion at the end of 2015. Likhachov spoke with Dmitry Medvedev on 11 October, according to a statement on the Russian government’s website.
World Nuclear News 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Banning construction of nuclear power plants and limiting to 45 years the use of existing ones: that’s what a people’s initiative from the Green Party, to be voted on in November, proposes. It has not been endorsed by the cabinet or by parliament.
Swiss Info 13th Oct 2016 read more »
THE Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s largest, is a hub of activity. Its 6,619 employees dutifully clock on and off every day. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), its owner, spent ¥606 billion ($5.8 billion) last year maintaining it and its other nuclear plants. Yet Kashiwazaki-Kariwa has not generated a single watt of electricity since 2011, when it was shut down along with the rest of Japan’s nuclear reactors after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear accident. TEPCO has applied to Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) to restart two of the plant’s seven reactors. But even if the regulators approve the request, politics may stymie it. On October 16th voters in Niigata, the prefecture in which Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is located, will elect a new governor. The two leading candidates have not been as vocally opposed to the restart as Hirohiko Izumida, the outgoing governor, but public opinion is strongly against. Before the disaster, Japan had 54 working reactors. The six at Fukushima Dai-Ichi (pictured) are to be decommissioned. Of the remaining 48, the NRA has received applications to restart 26. It has approved only eight of them so far, and just two reactors are currently operating (see map). A third is closed for maintenance. Local officials—who have some say over restarts—adverse court rulings and other glitches have held up the others. Meanwhile, an anti-nuclear governor is suing to get one of the two working reactors shut down again.
Economist 15th Oct 2016 read more »
The head of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has confirmed the importance of fast breeder reactor (FBR) development in Japan at a meeting of public and private sector representatives. Japanese governmental policy on FBRs – including the future of the Monju prototype fast breeder reactor – is to be finalized by the end of the year.
World Nuclear News 13th Oct 2016 read more »
WORKERS at two of Britain’s nuclear weapons plants where Trident missiles are manufactured are to ballot on strike action to defend their pensions. The government’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) is the most recent employer to propose scrapping the “defined benefit” scheme based on workers’ final earnings and replace it with ones that rely on the performance of the stock exchange. Around 600 members of union Unite at Aldermaston and Burghfield firms in Berkshire — which has total of 4,000 employees — will vote next week in a bid to prevent AWE cutting their pensions.
Morning Star 14th Oct 2016 read more »
Labour’s new Shadow Defence Secretary backs Trident nuclear deterrent.
Daily Mirror 13th Oct 2016 read more »
In a motion passed last week, Stirling Council agreed it was “unacceptable” vehicles transporting the weapons to the Faslane naval base passed through the city and surrounding towns. The motion declared the council’s commitment to have Stirling and its surroundings designated a nuclear-free zone and its opposition, on “moral and safety grounds” to the transportation of nuclear weapons by road or rail. It was supported unanimously by all parties apart from the Conservatives. Councillor Scott Farmer, SNP group leader, said: “This sends out a strong message from Stirling that our local authority will no longer accept our city, towns and villages being used as transport ground for weapons of mass destruction.”
STV 13th Oct 2016 read more »
APSE Energy is delighted to have linked up with Robin Hood Energy, in a new partnership arrangement, to help promote the work they are doing to provide lower energy tariffs and directly tackle fuel poverty. The model that Robin Hood Energy has pioneered has grabbed the imagination of many local authorities across the UK and there is massive interest from other councils who are looking to follow a similar approach. APSE Energy will provide capacity to deal with the inquiries being received and will support those local authorities that are taking forward work with Robin Hood Energy. They will also have a role in ensuring the Robin Hood Energy message gets out to all local authorities, ALMOs, housing associations and other public sector providers. ‘APSE Energy and Robin Hood Energy have similar values and are pursuing similar objectives to realise the municipalisation of energy’ said Phil Brennan, Head of APSE Energy. ‘We are excited about supporting RHE to meet their goals over the foreseeable future, as our combined efforts will help to push the message that local authorities can successfully intervene in local energy markets – and the proof lies with Robin Hood Energy!’ Gail Scholes, Energy Services Director with Robin Hood Energy said ‘Nottingham City Council have a strong relationship with APSE and we intend to forge similar links with APSE Energy. We have made great strides over the past year in the East Midlands, we are helping thousands of local people with their energy bills, and we have a great product to promote to other local authorities. With APSE Energy’s help it is a message we can spread across the whole UK’
APSE 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Solar panels have been installed on 24 City of Edinburgh Council buildings, in partnership with the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative. The initiative is believed to be the largest community-owned urban renewable energy project in the UK, and there are calls for other Scottish local authorities to establish similar approaches.
Keep Scotland Beautiful 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Some solar developers maintain well located solar arrays where the power can be used onsite still offer attractive returns to businesses and investors, while hopes remain that the falling cost of solar technologies and the emergence of energy storage systems mean the sector will be able to rebound strongly from the steep cuts to subsidies in the coming years. Now a new initiative it is hoping to speed up this recovery, with the launch of a new smartphone app from climate action charity 10:10. Launched late last month and drawing on the success of the wildly popular Pokémon GO app, the Look Up app gamifies the search for buildings which could provide good locations for rooftop solar panels.
Business Green 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Millions of solar panels installed with a public subsidy produce no power most of the time and have to be backed up by conventional power stations to prevent blackouts, a report says. Solar power produced more electricity than coal in the past six months after a rapid rise in the number of solar farms but over the year they still account for less than 2.5 per cent of power generation, according to the report by the Adam Smith Institute, the free-market think tank. Britain’s 32 million solar panels are highly productive, generating at more than half of their capacity, for only 210 hours, the equivalent of nine days, over an entire year, the report says. Capell Aris, the author of Solar Power in Britain and a former senior manager in the electricity industry, used ten years of weather data to analyse levels of solar power production in the UK. Leonie Greene, of the Solar Trade Association, said that the report had understated the contribution of solar power, which generated 3.4 per cent of the UK’s power. She added that the report “seriously misrepresents solar power, and it is clearly deliberately designed to do so”. She said: “Overall, even including back-up costs, solar appears likely to be the cheapest form of power generation in the 2020s. So if we want the cheapest power for our homes and if we want to maintain our international competitiveness, we need solar power.” Dr Aris said that solar power could make a much greater contribution to the UK’s needs if the power could be stored in giant batteries or by pumping water uphill to new hydroelectric plants. He said, however, that such solutions were highly expensive and could be environmentally damaging.
Times 14th Sept 2016 read more »
The National 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The world’s largest tidal turbine has been installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. The SR2000 is more than 200ft long, weighs more than 500 tonnes and is expected to generate enough electricity to power about 1000 homes a year. It was towed out to sea from Haston Pier in Kirkwall and secured to its moorings at the EMEC on Wednesday. Trials are expected to begin on the two megawatt turbine later this month after it is connected to the grid.
STV 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Daily Record 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The National 14th Oct 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy News 14th Oct 2016 read more »
Sunamp are an amazing company, they produce batteries that store heat, charged by solar panels.
Fully Charged Show 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Opposition to fracking in the UK has hit a record high just as the controversial process finally gets the go-ahead, new research suggests. The University of Nottingham, which has been monitoring UK attitudes to shale gas exploration since 2012, said its latest polling showed that 41.1pc of those who knew what shale gas was were opposed to it, with only 37.3pc in favour.
Telegraph 13th Oct 2016 read more »