Shares in Toshiba fell as much as 13.3 per cent after reports the company told lenders that the loss in its US nuclear business would be larger than the previously estimated ¥500bn ($4.4 billion). The share price tumble came after Nikkei reported the company was asking for financial support from Development Bank of Japan and other lenders. Toshiba said at the end of December it would make writedowns of “several billions of dollars” to cover cost overruns linked to nuclear construction company Stone & Webster in the US. While the company failed to give a figure, analysts expected the writedown to be between $5bn and $8bn. Shares in the company have fallen 42.3 per cent since the December announcement. Toshiba’s US nuclear power subsidiary Westinghouse bought S&W in 2015 under a promise of $2bn in annual revenues. Toshiba’s potential writedowns from its nuclear operations, estimated by some to be as high as $8bn, look close to unbearable. Its lenders look nervous. Its options, including a partial fire sale of noncore assets that could raise as much as $5bn, look humiliating for a group that in its earliest incarnations gave Japan its first electric streetlamps, power stations, lightbulbs, refrigerators and colour televisions. Shares in Toshiba were traded as low as ¥250 a share during the morning session, while the benchmark Topix index was up 1.1 per cent.
FT 19th Jan 2017 read more »
In 2015, when the company confessed to falsifying it s profits to the tune of more than $1bn, many felt Toshiba had hit a nadir. But late last month, the company revealed that its problems went far deeper and that it faced a multibillion-dollar writedown on its US nuclear business. Credit rating agencies downgraded the company. The market no longer saw a dependable hero lumbering out of trouble, but an accident-prone scoundrel up to its old tricks. In the three days that followed the December 27 bombshell, Toshiba’s shares plunged nearly 42 per cent. Even under the harshest scrutiny of its corporate life, Westinghouse, Toshiba’s US nuclear power subsidiary, had managed to get past Toshiba’s board a dismally bad deal in late 2015 to buy nuclear construction company Stone & Webster from Chicago Bridge & Iron. For an acquisition that was supposed to deliver $2bn in annual revenues, Toshiba’s disclosure at the time was “surprisingly minimal”, say investors. Perhaps with good reason. Exactly a year after that deal was signed, Toshiba admitted on December 27 that it would have to make writedowns of “several billion dollars” to reflect big cost overruns and delays on S & W’s nuclear projects in the US. The numerical vagueness of that statement has left analysts speculating that the total writedown, to be announced by mid-February, could be between $5bn and $8bn. Even the low end of that range would largely wipe out Toshiba’s ¥363bn of shareholder equity and leave it scrambling for options. Analysts say Toshiba was struggling to recoup its Westinghouse investment even before Fukushima. It paid 37 times Westinghouse’s operating profit, twice the amount that some of its peers bid. After long denying such a risk, Toshiba took a $2.3bn writedown on the value of Westinghouse’s goodwill in April last year.
FT 19th Jan 2017 read more »
Toshiba Corp’s (6502.T) financial crisis deepened on Thursday as media reported it may book a bigger-than-expected $6 billion writedown on its U.S. nuclear business, sending its shares sliding 15 percent. The reports cast doubt on whether measures the beleaguered industrial conglomerate is expected to take to bolster its finances – including the sale of a stake in its chip business – will be sufficient to address any shortfall. Toshiba has also approached government-backed Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) for assistance, said a source with knowledge of the matter, who was not authorized to speak on the matter and declined to be identified.
Reuters 19th Jan 2017 read more »
Letter to Jeremy Corbyn: Following your appearance on the Andrew Marr show the North West Evening Mail ran a poll. Unlike the actual government and industry consultations this poll has the option to say NO and 85% of the 2308 people voting so far have done just that. There is also an ongoing 38 Degrees petition to: Stop Moorside the “biggest nuclear development in Europe.” Despite the virtual media black on the resistance to Moorside (all media attention has been on the pylon route) this poll to Stop Moorside has attracted 11,769 signatures and rising. Campaigners have raised funds to commission reports independent of government and industry. A report by the Edinburgh Energy and Environment Consultancy makes shocking reading Construction has so far commenced on ten AP1000s, six in the US and four in China, and another three are scheduled to begin soon. However two of the ten have been suspended, presumed abandoned, and the other eight are all running several years late and hugely over cost. Not one has ever been completed. But the report by the EEEC (enclosed) highlights a completely separate problem: the design is intrinsically unsafe.
Radiation Free Lakeland 18th Jan 2017 read more »
Park and ride proposals linked with Suffolk’s new nuclear power station are anticipated to more than double traffic volumes through parts of a village – causing “extreme concern” for residents. Wickham Market Parish Council is calling on EDF Energy to lessen the impact of using a site near the village to ferry workers during the construction of Sizewell C.
East Anglian Daily Times 19th Jan 2017 read more »
MP Damian Collins tried to claim £6,000 in expenses to pay his wife’s company for work to press the case for a new nuclear power station at Dungeness. But the claim was rejected by IPSA (The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) because it breached parliamentary rules. Mr Collins has now confirmed the work looking at the future of nuclear power on Romney Marsh “will continue” but is now being done “in house” by his office staff in Westminster.
Kent Online 19th Jan 2017 read more »
With Construction News revealing this week that work at Hinkley Point C will boost the South West construction market by £500m over the next two years, we are delighted to announce that David Sutton, Delivery Director at EDF, will be discussing the economic value of Hinkley Point C at the South West Construction Summit on the 09 June at Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol. The Somerset site will help the South West to become the UK’s fastest-growing region in terms of construction activity in 2018, with output set to grow by 2 per cent in 2017 and 1.3 per cent in 2018, according to forecasts. Hewes & Associates predicts that work at Hinkley will add between £400m and £500m to industry activity in the region during 2017 and 2018.
Building Design & Construction 18th Han 2017 read more »
The European Commission has approved the restructuring of France’s Areva group, ruling that the French government’s plan to grant a capital injection of €4.5 billion ($4.8 billion) into Areva does not breech European Union (EU) state aid rules.
World Nuclear News 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Chris Goodall: Reasons to be cheerful: a full switch to low-carbon energy is in sight. Climate change optimism is justified – a complete transition from carbon to solar and wind power looks practical and affordable within a generation. At first it seemed that renewable electricity would always be more expensive and solar power would languish unless it was heavily subsidised. Using alternative energy sources seemed difficult, expensive and inconvenient. I now think I was completely wrong. In fact, optimism about successfully tackling climate change has never been more justified because 2016 was the year in which it finally became obvious that the world had the technology to solve the problem. Even as the political environment has darkened, the reasons have strengthened for believing that a complete transition to low-carbon energy is practical and affordable within one generation.Solar power costs around the world fell by an average of another 15% in 2016, meaning that electricity from the sun became the cheapest form of energy generation in places as diverse as Chile, parts of the Middle East and the south-west of the US. The world saw the lowest-ever auction price for solar electricity in Abu Dhabi. China committed to adding about 40 gigawatts annually of solar panels in the next few years, more than half the new capacity installed across the entire world in 2016. India made similarly ambitious plans, meaning that these two countries will put more solar on the ground than the entire world did a couple of years ago. As more photovoltaics are installed, costs fall in a predictable way, so that the drive towards using solar energy in Asia and elsewhere will feed through to lower prices across the whole world, including the UK. Even in gloomy Britain, the government now sees solar photovoltaics delivering electricity at less than 2% more than a new gas-fired power station in 2020, with costs continuing to fall thereafter. In sunny places around the world, solar may fall to less than half the price of fossil electricity within a decade. Radically new approaches to solar technologies also saw major progress in 2016. The Dresden company Heliatek raised the money to build a new factory producing solar film that is printed on plastic backing and which can be simply pinned to the walls of buildings. Investors backed Oxford PV’s plans to start production of double-layer photovoltaic panels, using cheap and widely available “perovskite” materials originating in the university’s laboratories. Both companies demonstrated unexpected advances in the efficiency of their products at converting light to electricity. Wind turbine costs declined as well, falling to levels not expected for at least another decade in the case of offshore installations in the North Sea. In a particularly good location off the Netherlands, one consortium promised to build a large wind farm for less than £48 a megawatt hour, less than half the UK government’s target for offshore wind in 2020. According to the investment bank Lazard, onshore wind in the best locations in the US is now two-thirds the cost of the cheapest new gas-fired power stations. Even with sceptical politicians in charge of major democracies, the end of the era of fossil fuels is within view. And this is not just a renewables enthusiast talking; the CEO of Shell said that solar will eventually become the “dominant backbone” of the energy system.
Guardian 19th Jan 2017 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
The Scottish government is due to set out plans to meet ambitious new targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Ministers committed last year to cut harmful CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, with a new interim target of 50% by 2020. The previous interim target of 42% was met in 2014 – six years early. But the Committee on Climate Change said the decrease was largely down to a warmer than average winter reducing the demand for heating. The independent committee monitors the government’s progress on climate change targets. Reduction targets are measured against a baseline set of figures from 1990. Figures published last year – covering emissions from 2014 – showed a reduction of 45.8%. The sectors responsible for the most emissions are energy, transport and agriculture. Significant progress has been made in decarbonising the energy sector with the closure of Scotland’s last coal-fired power station at Longannet. But the climate change committee said “stronger policies” would be needed in the new Climate Change Plan and that “little progress” has been made in reducing emissions from transport and agriculture. BBC Scotland has highlighted some policies which ministers have been urged to consider, including heat-pump district heating and a workplace parking levy. Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), said: “The publication of the Climate Change Plan will make clear how serious the Scottish government really is about tackling the effects of climate change and creating a fairer, healthier country for us all. “In order for Scotland to truly be a world leader, bold, ambitious policies are needed in areas such as housing, transport and renewable energy. “SCCS are calling for a plan that delivers credible policies to ensure that commitments made, including those undertaken as part of the Paris climate change agreement, are met.”
BBC 19th Jan 2017 read more »
SCOTTISH Power has been rated amongst the worst energy suppliers for consumer satisfaction in a major study for the fifth year running. The latest annual Which? energy company satisfaction survey of 23 suppliers rates the Glasgow-based firm in the bottom three once again. It was warned in September by the energy services regulator Ofgem over its “unacceptable” consumer care record.
Herald 19th Jan 2017 read more »
Leading climate change experts have urged Donald Trump not to turn his back on the biggest global challenge facing mankind, arguing that he can make America great again – and the world safer – by standing up to global warming and embracing the trillion-dollar green tech revolution. As new data showed that 2016 was the hottest year on record, scientists, government advisers and people closely involved with global climate talks said it would be self-defeating for Trump to pull the US out of the global Paris climate change deal as he has threatened. Reversing action on climate change would mean the US gets left behind in the fast-growing, trillion-dollar market for clean energy, transport and infrastructure, experts told the Guardian, with one warning that this course of action would instead “make China great again”. “The best way to make America great again is by owning the clean technologies of the future,” said Michael Liebreich, who has advised the UN and World Economic Forum on energy. “Not only will this create countless well-paid, fulfilling jobs for Americans, but it will also lock in the US’s geopolitical leadership for another generation.” “I would say to [Trump], if you want to make China great again, you have to stay the course you have promised,” said John Schellnhuber, a climate expert who has advised Angela Merkel, the pope and the EU. Lord Stern, a former UK government adviser, added: “If you want to make America great again, building modern, clean and smart infrastructure makes tremendous commercial and national sense. In the longer term, the low-carbon growth story is the only growth story on offer. There is no long-term, high-carbon growth story, because destruction of the environment would reverse growth.”
Guardian 18th Jan 2017 read more »
Donald Trump’s choice for Energy Secretary did not realise the job puts him charge of America’s nuclear weapons, it has been claimed. Former Texas governor Ricky Perry believed the post would allow him to champion the oil and gas industry – something of which he has plenty of experience. He has since learned the role is primarily about making highly important decisions on the future of America’s vast nuclear arsenal, the New York Times reports.
Mirror 19th Jan 2017 read more »
The lack of alternative low-carbon energy sources that are as reliable as nuclear means France’s “ambitious” plans to reduce its share of nuclear from 78% in 2015 to 50% by 2025 might not be achievable, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today. The Paris-based agency said France – which has the world’s highest share of nuclear in its electricity mix – must assess possible changes in energy demand and supply and to guarantee “continuous security of electricity supply” as it pushes ahead with its plans for an “energy transition” up to 2050.
Nucnet 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – solar
A village in the heart of one of Britain’s former coalfields is to host a groundbreaking trial that could pave the way for tens of thousands more homes to run off solar power. People in 40 council homes in Oxspring, South Yorkshire, are being given batteries that can store electricity from rooftop solar panels, in the latest sign of interest in energy storage systems. The batteries, which normally have a starting price of about £2,000, will be hooked up to a “virtual power plant” that will aim to smooth out how much solar power is exported to the grid, enabling more homes to have solar panels. The growth of solar power has been held back in many parts of the country, including the borough of Barnsley, which takes in Oxspring, because of the extra strain it puts on local grids. Operators have to keep voltage levels within strict limits but this is difficult if solar panels are generating a lot of power on a bright day but dip sharply as clouds pass by. “We can do all sorts of things to address this,” said Jim Cardwell, head of trading and innovation at Northern Powergrid, a distribution network operator taking part in the £250,000 Oxspring trial. The Oxspring trial is the latest in a growing number of efforts to see if batteries can help ease pressure on power grids as renewable energy spreads. Centrica, the UK’s largest retail energy supplier, is testing another scheme in Cornwall that will see if a mix of batteries and green energy systems can turn nearly 160 homes and businesses into a new independent power market.
FT 19th Jan 2017 read more »
U.S. solar employs more workers than any other energy industry, including coal, oil and natural gas combined, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report. 6.4 million Americans now work in the traditional energy and the energy efficiency sector, which added more than 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, or 14 percent of the nation’s job growth.
Ecowatch 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – floating wind
ABU Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar has bought a stake in Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in the North Sea. The announcement came at an official ceremony during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017, and was immediately welcomed by Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Fair Work. He said: “Having met with representatives of Masdar at the Adipec conference late last year, I am greatly encouraged by this substantial international investment in Hywind Scotland and look forward to the further development of this world-leading 30 MW project, which will be situated 15 miles from Scotland’s north-east coast.
The National 19th Jan 2017 read more »
Prospectus for Affordable Warmth: The All Party Parliamentary Fuel Poverty & Energy Efficiency Group works to stimulate debate across all sides of the House about how to address the trilemma of fuel poverty: rising energy prices, low incomes and poor energy efficiency of the housing stock. Although fuel poverty is now measured differently across the UK, there remain significant similarities between the characteristics of households at risk of living in a cold home. The main drivers are the price of energy, the level of household income, the physical quality and energy efficiency characteristics of the dwelling and the degree of vulnerability of the occupants. The physical impacts of living in a cold home cause unnecessary suffering and premature mortality and are a bigger killer than smoking, lack of exercise and alcohol abuse. Impacts on health are significant and can cost health services around £3.6 million per day. The UK Government and each of the UK nations formally recognise the need for citizens to adequately heat and power their homes. However, since the level of assistance provided for the fuel poor varies across nations, localities, agencies and government programmes, and is dependent upon different funding streams, FPEEG agreed to produce a prospectus in order to summarise the benefits of current local and national schemes which do, or can, provide affordable warmth across the UK. The report includes information directed to all MPs and agencies delivering affordable warmth by: championing existing best practice fuel poverty-alleviating schemes; outlining measures that help everyone better heat their homes while revising how present success can be expanded; guiding MPs of benefits they can bring to reduce fuel poverty, and drawing ways alleviation can be expanded to any constituency; recommending changes to government that supports best practice scheme expansion; The report highlights a number of recommendations that should be taken forward to ensure that we can tackle the cold homes crisis in the UK.
NEA 18th Jan 2017 read more »
Last year was the hottest year on record globally, beating 2015’s exceptionally high temperatures, the World Meteorological Organisation said today. The global average temperature in 2016 was 1.1°C higher than pre-industrial levels and about 0.07°C higher than the previous record set in 2015, the organisation said. Along with record temperatures, other long-term indicators humans are changing the climate reached new heights in 2016, including levels of greenhouse gases and melting ice, the WMO said. The analysis is based on data from the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
New Scientist 18th Jan 2017 read more »
Carbon Brief 18th Jan 2017 read more »