Subsidies for new wind farms and solar power plants are set to be cut as ministers move to protect millions of families from rising energy bills. The government is expected to announce the decision this week, after official figures revealed that so-called “green” energy schemes will require £1.5 billion more in subsidies – paid for by customers – than originally planned. If left unchecked, the rising costs would mean every household in the country would be forced to pay an estimated £160 to £170 a year by 2020 to support renewable electricity developments. However, Whitehall sources said the subsidies – under the so-called Levy Control Framework – could be reduced, or the scheme closed early. Details of the how the subsidies will be curbed are still being finalised. The public is in favour of action to cut carbon, but not at any cost and the bottom line is that subsidies should help industries get off the ground, not be relied on indefinitely. We’ll continue to meet our environmental commitments and power our economy with clean energy, but in a way that keeps costs under control and doesn’t leave consumers paying over the odds for green projects
Telegraph 19th July 2015 read more »
Protestors have been demonstrating outside the Kingmoor Rail Depot in Carlisle. Direct Rail Services is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but campaigners are concerned about the company’s role in transporting nuclear waste.
ITV 18th July 2015 read more »
The alleged shooter who killed four Marines in Chattanooga briefly worked at a nuclear power plant prior to the shooting, according to a spokesman for the plant.Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez was a conditional employee at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Ohio but the job only lasted 10 days. Abdulazeez, who graduated from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with an engineering degree in 2012, worked at the plant in late May 2013.
ABC News 17th July 2015 read more »
In April this year, Areva, the French multinational which is listed as the world’s largest nuclear company, enjoyed a moment of exhilaration when India signed an agreement for licensing the company’s nuclear reactors for the Jaitapur project in Maharashtra. Inked by the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India, under the benign gaze of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his official visit to France, the agreement came in the midst of deepening gloom in Areva over mounting losses and poor performance. Once the world’s largest nuclear company, Areva is deeply in the red and is under attack for the defective quality of its reactor parts. Areva’s debacle features in a reputed nuclear industry report released on Wednesday. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 noted that the French state-controlled integrated nuclear company “is technically bankrupt after a cumulated four-year loss of €8 billion and €5.8 billion current debt on an annual turnover of €8.3 billion”. According to the report, it has “few credible prospects for EPR orders other than a long-delayed project in India”. EPR is a Generation III reactor. Worse still, “serious defects found in several French pressure-vessel forgings could scuttle the entire EPR enterprise,” the report warned.
Scroll-in 17th July 2015 read more »
It has gone so fast – and so far, so good. It’s already the third anniversary of work starting on the UAE’s first nuclear power plant at Barakah, near the border with Saudi Arabia. And it is still on budget and set to go live in late 2017, ultimately providing a quarter of the Emirates’ energy needs. But becoming the first new member to the global nuclear power club since the mid-1980s was never going to be straightforward, and the next 18 months will be the toughest so far. Yet one huge challenge will remain even if the Barakah project is a triumphant success. It is the same one that has faced every member of the club since its first members signed up in the 1950s: what to do with radioactive waste.
The National 19th July 2015 read more »
A quarter-century after the collapse of communism, Central Europe faces a new divide: irreconcilable visions of nuclear power that pit nations once on the opposite sides of the Iron Curtain against one another. Germany and Austria, stalwarts of the rich West, have long decided to go strictly nuclear free, while new EU members of the East — hungry for energy to fuel economic growth — are avidly increasingly reliance on nuclear power. The Czech government’s decision last month to launch a vast, long-term expansion of nuclear power production has deepened the divide. Part of the plan is to build a new nuclear reactor near the border with Austria, outraging the wealthier Alpine nation. Slovakia and Hungary, former communist EU nations, have also been building new nuclear reactors, and Poland is considering launching its own nuclear energy program. These countries see atomic energy as a cheap and clean way to power the economy — and say it’s unfair for rich EU countries to tell them what to do.
Star Tribune 19th July 2015 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News. Solar close to grid parity.
Microgen Scotland 17th July 2015 read more »
A “supergrid” across the North Sea that could bring thousands of jobs to Scotland appeared a step closer last week after the EU energy commissioner said that European funds will be used to pump prime the project. In what is Brussels’ strongest statement of intention on the North Sea Electricity Grid project to date, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete has told the Scottish Tory MEP Ian Duncan, a member of the European Parliament’s energy committee, that the building of the grid – which would be the world’s largest sub-sea electricity system – is now a “top priority” for the European Commission and that “it was now for member states and devolved administrations to work with the EU to make the grid a reality”. In 2009, nine countries bordering the North Sea committed to building the grid but the project has been effectively on the back burner since then pending negotiations between EU mem ber states on new emissions targets for 2030. With the 2030 target of a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions agreed last October, the Commission last week announced a consultation on its plans for an EU-wide energy union which aims to create a single European market for energy supplies, purchases and consumption in an attempt to loosen Russia’s grip on Europe’s energy needs. The Netherlands, which takes over the revolving six-month presidency of the EU in January, has said that the grid project would be one of its presidency priorities, which makes Duncan hopeful that construction work on parts of the project could get under way within the next 18 months or so. As Scotland’s renewable electricity generation industry continues to grow (half of the country’s electricity usage in 2014 came from renewable energy, according to figures published last month), the need to tackle the intermittency of production – caused by the variability of wind or solar strength – also grows and could lead to energy being wasted unless a commercially viable storage means can be found. A North Sea grid would allow green energy produced in Scotland to be stored in Scandinavian pump storage hydro schemes until demand peaked elsewhere in Europe.
Herald 19th July 2015 read more »
NEW round of onshore oil and gas exploration licences will be granted within weeks after energy secretary Amber Rudd decided to award them in two stages to speed up the development of fracking. The fledgling industry has suffered a series of setbacks, including Lancashire county council’s rejection last month of a fracking application by Cuadrilla Resources. The government wants to give renewed impetus to the technology, which it says could generate billions in tax revenues, create thousands of jobs and stoke a new era of cheap domestic energy.
Sunday Times 19th July 2015 read more »
Ineos’s network of plants, which turn crude oil and natural gas into everything from petrol to PVC, are slowly being strangled by falling North Sea output and high fuel prices. The key to Ratcliffe’s solution is fracking, the drilling technique that has unleashed supplies of super-cheap shale gas in America. Ineos has signed a 15-year contract to import the fuel from a port near Philadelphia, where it sells for between a half and one-third of the price in Britain. Ratcliffe said: “There is quite a negative attitude toward shale gas in E urope, which I don’t fully understand because it has had such a remarkable impact on the US economy.” To drive home the point, the Mancunian tycoon, who revels in sticking up two fingers to opponents, is using each ship as a floating protest banner. The hulls will be emblazoned with different slogans on the same, unequivocal theme. The Insight proclaims “Shale Gas for Manufacturing” in letters running half the length of the 570ft ship. Others will declare “Shale Gas for Jobs” and “Shale Gas for Europe”. Given the fervent, and up to now successful, opposition to fracking in Britain, they might as well read: Eat this, Greenpeace.
Sunday Times 19th July 2015 read more »
The petrochemical giant, Ineos, is being accused of planning to flout the Scottish Government’s fracking moratorium by test drilling for shale gas in central Scotland. The company has revealed that it is going to apply for planning permission to sink four or five wells to find out how much gas is trapped in underground rocks. This will not involve hydraulic fracturing, it says, and will be consistent with the government’s desire for further research. But community and environmental groups angrily insist that test drilling would breach the moratorium and destroy public trust. They are demanding that ministers block Ineos’s applications.
Herald 19th July 2015 read more »