Under new planning rules, energy companies pay local authorities to assess their planning applications, but some councils do not have the resources or expertise. Local authorities are concerned that relying on cash hand-outs from companies to assess applications to build nuclear reactors and other major projects “creates a sense of bias”, the head of the government’s new planning quango has told the Guardian. Sir Michael Pitt, chairman of the Infrastructure Planning Commission, which came into operation this month, also admitted that some local authorities are struggling to secure the funds they need to do the work.
Guardian 15th Mar 2010 more >>
As concerns continue to rise about electricity demand and clean air initiatives, utilities around the world are realizing the great promise of new nuclear power plants and making investments today. The build-out of nuclear power plants represents a major enhancement to the national grid modernization efforts that are taking place throughout the country and national priorities on carbon replacement and reduction of fossil fuel dependence. But challenges and risks still remain and because it’s been so long since nuclear facilities have last been built, there will be a significant learning curve within the business community. Price Waterhouse Cooper Report.
PWC 15th March 2010 more >>
Low Level Waste
Councillors in an area at the centre of a scandal linking toxic materials with birth defects are expected to approve the use of a local landfill site for dumping nuclear waste, in response to an application from a company with a blemished environmental record. The planning committee at Northamptonshire county council is to rule on Tuesday in a landmark case in which Augean, a waste management company, is seeking to use a repository in the village of King’s Cliffe to store as much as 250,000 tonnes of radioactive debris a year. If the local authority agrees to the request, it is likely to influence planning decisions in other areas, such as Cumbria, where waste companies want to extend landfill facilities for the disposal of nuclear materials. King’s Cliffe residents, who have formed a pressure group called Waste Watchers, are furious about the proposal, which has been given a green light by planning officers and the Environment Agency.
Guardian 15th Mar 2010 more >>
More than three months late, Obama and Medvedev dive for the finish line in a bid to maintain momentum on disarmament.
Guardian 14th Mar 2010 more >>
The assembly government is expected to say that Wales has the potential to generate twice its electricity needs from renewable sources within 15 years. Environment Minister Jane Davidson will make a statement on energy later. The assembly has previously set a target of seven terawatt-hours (TWh) of green energy by 2020, but Ms Davidson will say the potential is far greater.
BBC 15th Mar 2010 more >>
The Scottish Government is hoping to set up a European infrastructure fund worth hundreds of millions of pounds to fully realise the countrys potential in offshore wind and marine energy. First Minister Alex Salmond told the Sunday Herald the Government intended to seek talks with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the coming weeks in an attempt to create a fund for offshore wind farms, support infrastructure and seed funding for marine energy start-ups. The bank, whose senior delegates recently visited Mr Salmond and other ministers last month, will present its renewable investment strategy in September in Edinburgh at a conference on green financing being jointly organised by the Government, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Scottish Enterprise and construction group Arup. It is understood the Government would like to announce substantial funding agreements at the same time.
Sunday Herald 14th Mar 2010 more >>
SCOTLAND’S wave and tidal power revolution will get under way this week when ten projects involving hundreds of devices are granted permission to start work off the north coast. Companies across the globe will find out if they are winners in a fierce competition for leases to install marine renewable energy devices in the Pentland Firth. Experts say it heralds the “dawn of a new era” when Scotland becomes a world-leader in the fledgling industry, which has huge potential for growth. The stretch of sea between Caithness and Orkney is the first around the UK to be opened up for the development of marine renewables and almost 40 companies applied for leases. The Crown Estate, which owns the seabed, will reveal on Tuesday which bidders have been successful in a process that began in November 2008.
Scotland on Sunday 14th Mar 2010 more >>
A DRIVE to increase energy efficiency in UK homes is the best way to solve long-term fuel poverty, according to a study to be released today. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report said fuel poverty increased over the past five years, despite government targets to eradicate the problem by 2016. Current moves to tackle fuel poverty were “out of date”, with a review of the strategy and the setting up of an independent fuel poverty commission required as part of a longer term solution, it said. The IPPR said the government’s Home Energy Management Strategy, published last week, did not go far enough to improve the energy efficiency of homes or give enough consideration to the issue of fuel poverty.
Scotsman 15th March 2010 more >>
Energy bills will rise but thousands of jobs could be created in green industries under a European plan to impose the world’s most stringent restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. The Government will today support a proposal tabled in Brussels for a new, much more onerous EU target for cutting carbon dioxide even though other nations with higher emissions have failed to commit to reciprocal action. Ministers have abandoned their previous condition that the world must agree a legally binding treaty on emissions before the EU commits to a tougher target. The EU has already gone farther than the rest of the world by making a legally binding commitment to cut emissions by 20 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020. It is now preparing to raise the target to 30 per cent despite the failure of December’s climate change summit in Copenhagen.
Times 15th Mar 2010 more >>
The £250bn cost of developing Canada’s controversial tar sands between now and 2025 could be used to decarbonise the western economy by funding ambitious solar power schemes in the Sahara or a European wide shift to electric vehicles, according to a new report released today.
Guardian 15th Mar 2010 more >>