Electricite de France SA may lose its credibility as one of the world’s top nuclear-power developers if it fails to build two new reactors on England’s southwest coast, a U.K. energy minister said. EDF has delayed until September its final investment decision on Hinkley Point C, the world’s most expensive power station, marking a setback for a project that was originally due to be completed in 2017. The latest date for commissioning is 2025, at which point it may provide 7 percent of the country’s power. “A huge amount of EDF’s credibility as a nuclear developer will rely on this deal getting done,” Andrea Leadsom, a junior minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, told reporters at an event in London on Tuesday where she was campaigning for the U.K. to leave the European Union. The U.K. will have to “fight quite hard” to ensure the 24.5 billion pound ($35.5 billion) power plant isn’t blocked by a legal challenge from Austria, which objects to the U.K. government’s proposed subsidies for Hinkley, she said. “Being a member of the EU could scupper the deal because of the state aid challenge from Austria.”
Bloomberg 17th May 2016 read more »
The UK government is confident “there is a deal to be done” with EDF Energy on Hinkley Point C, but notes that it would not and could not influence the speed at which the utility makes a final investment decision (FID) on the project. “We recognise that the matter now rests with the equity. That’s a commercial matter and we have to allow that to play out,” said Jeremy Allen, head of procurement and investor relations at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
World Nuclear News 18th May 2016 read more »
A project to build a nuclear power station near Sellafield in Cumbria could begin generating electricity in 2025, a year earlier than the scheme proposed for Hinkley Point by EDF. NuGen, a venture between Toshiba, of Japan, and France’s Engie – formerly GDF Suez – plans to have three reactors up and running within nine years. If the schedule is correct, NuGen would overtake EDF, which has repeatedly delayed plans for its £18 billion plant in Somerset. If built, the project would be the first nuclear plant in Britain since Sizewell B, which entered service in 1995. NuGen plans three AP1000 pressurised water reactors at the site in Cumbria, using an established nuclear technology. The project could supply up to 3.8 gigawatts, about 7 per cent of UK electricity.
Times 19th May 2016 read more »
NuGen expects electricity generation to start at its new nuclear project in Cumbria, Britain in 2025, the company said on Wednesday. The time frame means NuGen’s project could over-take EDF’s Hinkley C as the first new nuclear plant operating in the country in a generation. “These projects are coming up together at roughly the same time,” Robert Armour, Deputy chairman of NuGen said on the sidelines of a Platts nuclear conference. Paul Spence, director of strategy at EDF’s British subsidiary EDF Energy, said at the event the company still expects generation to start at Hinkley C in 2025. EDF last week said the project would take 9.5 years to build once a decision has been taken. This means if the decision is taken in September, as suggested by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, Hinkley C would start up at the earliest in spring 2026. NuGen still has to secure approval for its AP1000 reactor under the country’s Generic Design Assessment approval process, which Armour said should be complete by the first quarter of 2017. A final investment decision will then be taken on the project in 2018, he said. A third new nuclear plant, Hitachi’s Horizon, is also slated to start production in Britain in the 2020s.
Reuters 18th May 2016 read more »
Concerns over the influx of new nuclear workers and sufficient health care facilities were raised during a public consultation day in Egremont. The town is one of three areas – including Mirehouse and Whitehaven – where land has been earmarked to house contractors building the new Moorside nuclear power plant. There was a mixed reaction to the developments with people praising the potential employment opportunities while others expressed worries over health care the number of workers arriving and roads.
Whitehaven News 18th May 2016 read more »
Nugen has denied claims around 2,000 Eastern Europeans will be employed to build the planned nuclear power station at Moorside. The rumours, published on a website, claimed a NuGen employee had confirmed the statement. However, NuGen said this was “incorrect” stating the rumour had been “put out to cause an issue”. However, they recognised that 4,000 outside workers coming into the area is “of concern to some residents”. John McNamara, head of corporate communications at Nugen, said: “NuGen’s focus is to employ as many local people as possible through all phases of the Moorside project.
Whitehaven News 18th May 2016 read more »
Building a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast could bring the area’s tourism industry tens of millions pounds when the construction workforce floods into the county. But while the £18billion plant will generate a cash boost for a range of businesses – especially accommodation providers, catering outlets and recreation facilities – there are fears the massive construction project could easily deter visitors, too. The tourist industry fears increased traffic could put off travellers – especially those coming on short breaks – while the impact on the landscape, particularly the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and wildlife sites such as Minsmere, could be severe.
Ipswich Star 19th May 2016 read more »
EDF is bidding to become the government’s design partner for the UK’s first mini-nuclear reactor plant, Construction News has learned. The French energy giant has entered a Department of Energy and Climate Change design competition for small modular reactors (SMRs), in partnership with nuclear reactor specialist Areva. The competition, launched in March, aims to identify a preferred technology for SMRs that could be rolled out in a series of power plants over the next 20 years.
Construction News 19th May 2016 read more »
Some highlights from the NDA Higher Activity Waste Strategy.
Dr David Lowry 18th May 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Dr Sam Gardner head of policy at WWF Scotland: Seven years after the Climate Change Act was passed and just months after the historic climate deal in Paris, the newly elected Scottish Government now needs to seize the moment and put in place the policies to deliver that future. Policies that decarbonise how we heat our buildings and homes, policies which finally drive down transport emissions that remain stuck at the same level they were over 25 years ago and policies that ensure that no one should live in a cold home. The SNP’s manifesto committed to introducing a new Climate Change Bill to reset the 2020 ambition following the Paris Agreement. The Bill will provide a welcome focus on the importance of tackling climate change and is an opportunity for all parties to pursue new low carbon policies. However, we should remember that it was the SNP’s first Climate Change Delivery Plan in 2009 that said very clearly that “legislation alone won’t deliver the targets”. If the new Climate Bill is to take us forward it’s critical that it not only secures the same unanimous political support that the 2009 Climate Change Act enjoyed but that it also doesn’t divert attention away from the pressing need for action. A failure to take sufficient steps to cut emissions has meant that Scotland has overshot its carbon budget by 8 per cent. More than anything the message out of Paris was that the window of opportunity to prevent dangerous climate change is closing very fast and we all must redouble our efforts now if we’re to secure the rewards of a zero carbon future.
Scotsman 19th May 2016 read more »
Scotland boasts the biggest percentage of companies active in the low carbon sector, with 5.2% of non-financial Scottish businesses involved in clean tech, energy efficiency and renewables and providing the equivalent of 21,500 full time jobs. WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “These figures underline the importance of low-carbon businesses to Scotland and the rest of the UK, by helping grow our economy and creating jobs. “However, if we are to enjoy the multiple benefits of the transition to a zero-carbon future, we need our political leaders to commit to a renewable energy future by bringing forward the policies to realise our potential.” He said Scotland could become the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030, but only if Scottish ministers committed to the shift and ensured their forthcoming energy strategy focused on renewables, reducing demand and developing energy storage.
Business Quarter 18th May 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy News 19th May 2016 read more »
An alleged European Commission plan for nuclear power has set off an unforeseen chain reaction in Germany. Upon closer inspection, however, it appears to be nothing more than a waste of energy, says DW’s Bernd Riegert. German Federal Minister of the Environment Barbara Hendricks laid it on thick right out of the gate. She called the European Commission’s alleged ideas for the expansion of nuclear energy insane and irresponsible. Then German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, who just happened to be in Brussels, enthusiastically belted out the same, wrong, note. He voiced his strict opposition to using European taxpayer money for the resuscitation of a dying technology and said he felt blind-sided by the EU proposal. Both ministers are on the wrong track, misinformed or breathlessly chasing after an article that gained much attention in Germany for a few hours ahead of its official presentation Wednesday. Nevertheless, one must refrain from joining in on the berating of Brussels, because, despite the fact that it probably plays well at home, the facts just don’t add up. The European Commission did not prepare a strategy paper as Germany’s “Spiegel Online” suggested, but rather it presented a discussion paper that is to be assessed by experts. The paper outlines possible research projects in the nuclear technology sector. It’s a sector that, despite Germany’s decision to phase out the use of nuclear energy, still represents an enormous global market. Not to mention that nuclear power plants are still being built in Europe. Whether the high cost of such power plants makes sense is a decision that operators and individual nations make – not the European Commission and not “Brussels.” The EU is not even responsible for energy policy, so the accusation that the Commission wants to build new nuclear reactors is simply wrong. It is fair to question whether EU taxpayer money should be used to promote a new type of reactors as the paper suggests. It is a point that will have to be discussed. And that is exactly what the supposedly explosive document was about, my artificially agitated German ministers – discussions not decisions.
Deutsche Welle 18th May 2016 read more »
S&D MEPs today (18 May) warned that it would be nonsense to put money from the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) into the nuclear energy sector. “Such a plan would be in breach with the spirit of EFSI. The Commission and the European Investment Bank need to honour what was agreed in the Regulation,” they reacted, in response to press reports.
EU Reporter 18th May 2016 read more »
The Environment Minister has assured Tuesday consider a priority the closure of the border including nuclear power plants Fessenheim (Bas-Rhin), also citing Bugey (Ain) and Cattenom (Moselle). Valls and Hollande had however rejected this track. Ségolène Royal has assured Tuesday morning at a meeting with foreign ambassadors that the priority for France is to close nuclear reactors installed along the borders of Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland, reported the Luxembourg Ambassador to France on Twitter social network. “Priority will be given to the closure of border reactors: Fessenheim, Bugey and Cattenom” Ms. Royal said, according to the ambassador who attended the meeting.
LorActu 17th May 2016 read more »
Portugal kept its lights on with renewable energy alone for four consecutive days last week in a clean energy milestone revealed by data analysis of national energy network figures. Electricity consumption in the country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power in an extraordinary 107-hour run that lasted from 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm the following Wednesday, the analysis says. News of the zero emissions landmark comes just days after Germany announced that clean energy had powered almost all its electricity needs on Sunday 15 May, with power prices turning negative at several times in the day – effectively paying consumers to use it .James Watson, the CEO of SolarPower Europe said: “This is a significant achievement for a European country, but what seems extraordinary today will be commonplace in Europe in just a few years. The energy transition process is gathering momentum and records such as this will continue to be set and broken across Europe.” As recently as 2013, Portugal generated half its electricity from combustible fuels, with 27% coming from nuclear, 13% from hydro, 7.5% from wind and 3% from solar, according to Eurostat figures. By last year the figure had flipped, with wind providing 22% of electricity and all renewable sources together providing 48%, according to the Portuguese renewable energy association. Watson said: “The age of inflexible and polluting technologies is drawing to an end and power will increasingly be provided from clean, renewable sources.”
Guardian 18th May 2016 read more »
Clean power supplied almost all of Germany’s power demand for the first time on Sunday, marking a milestone for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Energiewende” policy to boost renewables while phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels. Solar and wind power peaked at 2 p.m. local time on Sunday, allowing renewables to supply 45.5 gigawatts as demand was 45.8 gigawatts, according to provisional data by Agora Energiewende, a research institute in Berlin. Power prices turned negative during several 15-minute periods yesterday, dropping as low as minus 50 euros ($57) a megawatt-hour, according to data from Epex Spot.
Bloomberg 16th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
A London council is unveiling a vast installation of 6,000 solar panels on a wholesale market rooftop, which it says is the largest such array put up by a local authority. The London Borough of Hounslow says its £2m investment in solar, which has been installed on the roof of Western International Market, is also the first by a council to adopt battery storage to maximise the power from the panels. The 1.73 megawatt (MW) array of 6,069 panels and four 60kW lithium batteries system now generates half the site’s required electricity. The site is west London’s largest wholesale market for fresh produce and flowers, and use s around 3.5 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to provide climate controlled facilities to around 80 wholesalers and buyers – the equivalent of 1,750 homes a year. Hounslow council, which owns the market near Heathrow Airport, says the solar system will contribute 2% of its carbon reduction target, cutting emissions by more than 780 tonnes a year. LG Electronics, on e of Hounslow’s partners in the scheme, said it was the company’s largest solar panel installation in Europe and would deliver significant costs savings to the borough. LG Solar’s UK senior solar sales manager Bob Mills said: “What’s more, the project has set the wheels in motion for further investment and research into the potential of battery storage, which is set to revolutionise the solar industry.”
Guardian 19th May 2016 read more »
Letter Nicholas Holtam: The Church of England’s Shrinking the Footprint campaign is encouraging dioceses, cathedrals and parishes to reduce energy bills and lower carbon emissions through practical steps, from installing energy-efficient lightbulbs to switching to renewable energy (Blessed be the solar roof installers, Letters, 17 May). More than 400 churches, church buildings and vicarages already have solar panels installed, with other developments including the first carbon-neutral churches. Other measures adopted have included the installation of ground source heat pumps in some churches.
Guardian 18th May 2016 read more »
With prices dropping rapidly for both renewables and battery storage, the economics of decarbonizing the grid are changing faster than most policymakers, journalists, and others realize. So, as part of my ongoing series, “Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions Is Outdated,” I will highlight individual case studies of this real-time revolution. We already know there are a number of ways to greatly increase the penetration of renewable energy using existing hardware and software. What we are now witnessing is the dawn of a revolution that will enable lithium-ion batteries to play a larger and larger role in that increased penetration. Renewables are more unstoppable than ever. The only questions that remain now are 1) will we embrace the kind of aggressive deployment programs needed to avoid catastrophic global warming, and 2) will we nurture a domestic market that will maintain U.S. leadership in key job-creating low carbon technologies, or will we outsource more jobs to China and Europe.
Climate Progress 18th May 2016 read more »
2.35 million households in England living in poor quality, energy inefficient housing have to decide each winter whether to ‘eat or heat’. They live in cold homes because they can’t afford to pay their fuel bills and then suffer from respiratory illnesses which have long-term effects on their health and wellbeing, and sometimes fatal consequences. Last year, England and Wales experienced the highest number of ‘excess winter deaths’ in fifteen years, with 43,900 dying – 27% more than during the non-winter months. It’s an urgent issue that needs solutions. A workshop on Community Solutions to Fuel Poverty was held on 13th May in Hastings – an area badly affected by fuel poverty – and was attended by a mix of stakeholders, including local government, community groups, academics, energy utilities, as well as the local MP, RT Hon Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The aim of the workshop was to bring together a range of expertise in fuel poverty work and present concrete policy recommendations to the Secretary of State. A key policy recommendation made to the Secretary of State was the need to invest in better quality, energy efficient housing across all housing tenures, including owner-occupied as well as the private and social rented sectors. An area-based, street-by-street approach was suggested to address the energy efficiency of housing.
SPRU 18th May 2016 read more »
FRACKING opponents have welcomed Fergus Ewing’s removal from the Scottish Government’s energy brief and called on his successor Keith Brown to ban the gas extraction technology. Ewing, who was yesterday promoted from energy minister to Rural Affairs Secretary, angered environmentalists including some SNP members when he announced a moratorium on fracking last year with the caveat “we should never close our minds to the potential opportunities of new technologies”.
The National 19th May 2016 read more »
Dundee Courier 18th May 2016 read more »
Our figures suggest that just five years of CO2 emissions at current levels would be enough to use up the carbon budget for a good chance – a 66% probability – of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C.
Carbon Brief 19th May 2016 read more »