Britain’s flagship energy project, Hinkley Point C, is hanging by a thread as critics inside key backer EDF use the political turmoil from the Brexit vote to try to derail the already delayed £18bn scheme. Jean Bernard Levy, the EDF group chief executive, and the French and British governments, have in recent days insisted they are as committed as ever to a positive final investment decision being taken as soon as possible. But well-placed sources in Paris have told the Guardian that the already divided EDF board, which must make that decision, is in danger of fracturing further as former supporters of the project worry about Brexit. “The situation for Levy was already very delicate,” said one source. “But it has become a lot more difficult because there is so little certainty around the British government,” they added. “No one could know today which way a vote [of the board on Hinkley] would go.” Those arguing against the project say it is impossible to make any decisions when it is unclear who will be the future prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer and energy and climate change secretary. Highly critical EDF unions in France, which have six representatives on the main board, are pressing waiverers among the five independent board members who have previously supported Levy to change their minds. Growing concern has led to four British trade unions urging EDF to press ahead with Hinkley.
Guardian 1st July 2016 read more »
Britain’s vote to leave the EU makes it “more necessary than ever” for EDF to delay making a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in the UK, said three powerful trade unions representing thousands of workers at the company. The CGT, CFE-CGC and the FO unions issued a joint statement on Thursday saying the Brexit vote added “new elements of uncertainty” to the £18bn project that is due be built in south-west England by the French state-controlled utility. A majority of the EDF unions – which have considerable influence at the company by having six seats on the 18-member board – want to delay any binding commitment to Hinkley Point. The unions are also concerned that the EPR reactor technology that will be used is still untested, with no working example in the world. The EDF workers’ committee – an official body within the company made up largely of union members – is legally obliged to give its official opinion on whether Hinkley Point should go ahead on July 4. Last week the committee filed a legal claim to try to delay that decision. It alleged that EDF has “refused” to give the body key documents about Hinkley Point C. EDF has rejected the allegations. A court hearing about the workers’ committee claim is scheduled for September 22. On Thursday, the CGT, CFE-CGC and the FO urged the EDF board not to make the final investment decision at least until after this legal hearing. Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, on Tuesday insisted that the UK vote to leave the EU would have “no consequences” for the Hinkley Point project, urging EDF to press ahead with its final investment decision. But in a BBC interview on Wednesday, Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, said the project had become “more difficult” following the Brexit vote.
FT 30th June 2016 read more »
British Unions have stepped up their support for the delayed Hinkley Point nuclear power station, saying that confirming the financial go-ahead will be the first big “litmus test” for infrastructure projects following the EU referendum result. The GMB, Unite, Ucatt, and Prospect unions have written to the chief executive of EDF Energy, Vincent de Rivaz, saying it is “vital” that a final investment decision is made. The letter said: “UK trade unions are 100% in support of Hinkley Point C and believe that it is vital to make a final investment decision in a timely fashion soon after the consultation process (between EDF and the French unions) is completed (on 4 July). “Nuclear new build is already behind the curve. We cannot afford further delay and it is vital for EDF to make a final investment decision now.”
Energy Voice 1st July 2016 read more »
Four powerful labor unions in Britain are calling the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant construction project the first major “litmus test” for the country in the wake of its landmark vote last week for the country to quit its membership in the European Union.
Nuclear Street 1st July 2016 read more »
Morning Star 2nd July 2016 read more »
Bridgwater Mercury 1st July 2016 read more »
NuGen, the UK nuclear new build developer, today (1 July) announced that Takeshi Yokota will take over as Chairman of the company developing Europe’s largest new nuclear power station, at Moorside, West Cumbria.
Yahoo 1st July 2016 read more »
Utility Week 1st July 2016 read more »
Japan’s Toshiba Corporation has withdrawn its application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to renew the design certification for its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), saying it does not expect any new opportunities to build the reactor in the USA.
World Nuclear News 1st July 2016 read more »
The UK government has adopted targets that will require a 57 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The reduction will help the UK on its way to reaching the legally binding target of an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, using the emissions in 1990 as a baseline. The move comes amid concerns that Brexit could affect both energy industry investors and the UK’s efforts to control climate change. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd issued assurances that the government would continue to prioritise clean energy. “Setting long-term targets to reduce our emissions is a fundamental part of building a secure, affordable and clean energy infrastructure system that our families and business can rely on, and that is fit for the 21st century,” she said. “The UK remains committed to playing its part in tackling climate change to ensure our long-term economic security and prosperity. Hugh McNeal, chief executive of industry body RenewableUK, said: “Today’s announcement is especially welcome given the uncertainty caused by last week’s referendum. It’s a clear signal the UK will continue to show bold leadership on carbon reduction. This will allow investment to continue to flow into renewable energy projects throughout the UK.”
Independent 30th June 2016 read more »
The UK agreed on Thursday to set a legally binding goal committing the country to steep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions designed to help ward off climate change. But in a sign of the uncertainties triggered by Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the move was dismissed as potentially “unlawful” by the think-tank founded by Nigel Lawson, the former Tory Chancellor and a member of the Leave campaign’s strategy committee. Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation said it was wrong for the government to set in law a fifth “carbon budget” committing the UK to cut emissions 57 per cent by 2032 from the levels of 1990. The goal was “based on the now incorrect assumption that the UK will still be in the EU by 2030”, the foundation said. It also assumed the UK would remain in the EU emissions trading scheme, the world’s largest carbon market, and be “covered by the EU’s Paris agreement terms”, it said. The EU has collectively agreed to cut emissions 40 per cent by 2030 as part of its commitment to the Paris climate change accord agreed in December.
FT 30th June 2016 read more »
Lawrence, Sovacool & Stirling. Since its initial adoption, the EU’s 2020 Strategy – to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of consumption, and achieve energy savings of 20% or more by 2020 – has witnessed substantial albeit uneven progress. This article addresses the question of what role nuclear power generation has played, and can or should play in future, towards attaining the EU 2020 Strategy, particularly with reference to decreasing emissions and increasing renewables. It also explores the persistent diversity in energy strategies among member states. To do so, it first surveys the current landscape of nuclear energy use and then presents the interrelated concepts of path dependency, momentum, and lock-in. The article proceeds to examine five factors that help explain national nuclear divergence: technological capacity and consumption; economic cost; security and materiality; national perceptions; and political, ideological and institutional factors. This divergence reveals a more general weakness in the 2020 Strategy’s underlying assumptions. Although energy security – defined as energy availability, reliability, affordability, and sustainability – remains a vital concern for all member states, the 2020 Strategy does not explicitly address questions of political participation, control, and power. The inverse relationship identified here – between intensity of nuclear commitments, and emissions mitigation and uptake of renewable sources – underscores the importance of increasing citizens’ levels of energy policy awareness and participation in policy design.
Climate Policy 1st July 2016 read more »
In November 2015, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised Government to set the fifth carbon budget to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 57% relative to 1990 levels. Today, the Government has accepted that advice. The Committee welcomes the clear signal this sends about UK ambition to continue reducing emissions into the 2030s across the economy, including from power, transport and buildings. This is particularly important given the uncertainty following the recent vote to leave the EU. The announcement shows that the UK remains committed to its climate targets and is open for low-carbon business. The Committee has also laid its annual progress report before Parliament today. That report emphasised the need to now bring forward policies and proposals that will achieve the levels of reduction set out in the fifth carbon budget. The Government has recognised that new policies are required and has committed to set out how it will strengthen efforts to meet the carbon budgets by the end of the year.
Climate Change Committee 30th June 2016 read more »
The list of main setbacks for the global energy transition in June includes a potentially big one: Brexit. But when you view that vote in the light of the month’s long list of main advances, and the other such long lists for January through May 2016, plus the three years before, dots join to tell a story. If the British are collectively ill advised enough to go ahead with their exit from the EU, they risk creating an isolated island that will be a stark outlier on an increasingly clear and positive direction of travel in the rest of the world.
Jeremy Leggett 1st July 2016 read more »
British Gas is offering free daytime electricity for one day each weekend to more than 2 million customers in what the UK’s biggest energy supplier says is the first deal of its kind. Customers with smart meters will pay nothing for electricity between 9am and 5pm on either Saturday or Sunday, and British Gas’s standard rate at other times. British Gas has 2.4 million smart-meter users out of about 11 million residential customers. British Gas said the FreeTime tariff would be its cheapest dual-fuel deal and give customers more control over when and how they consume energy. The tariff, the first to offer smart-meter customers free electricity, will be fixed until March 2018 but analysts said there were cheaper deals on the market.
Guardian 1st July 2016 read more »
Times 2nd July 2016 read more »
America, Japan and China are racing to be the first nation to make nuclear energy completely renewable. The hurdle is making it economic to extract uranium from seawater, because the amount of uranium in seawater is truly inexhaustible. And it seems America is in the lead. New technological breakthroughs from DOE’s Pacific Northwest (PNNL) and Oak Ridge (ORNL) national laboratories have made removing uranium from seawater within economic reach and the only question is – when will the source of uranium for our nuclear power plants change from mined ore to seawater extraction?
Forbes 1st July 2016 read more »
Australia’s nuclear industry has a shameful history of ‘radioactive racism’ that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes persist today with plans to dump over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land, and open new uranium mines. But now Aboriginal peoples and traditional land owners are fighting back!
Ecologist 1st July 2016 read more »
The decision by Japan’s Environment Ministry to allow the re-use of contaminated soil from the Fukushima disaster has come under fire amid a broader debate on nuclear power, with critics saying Tokyo needs to remember the devastating lessons of the past. An Environment Ministry panel has approved the recycling of soil generated from Fukushima decontamination work despite a worrying estimate that it will take some 170 years for radioactivity concentrations in the contaminated soil to return to legal safety standards, Japan’s Mainichi newspaper reported.
Russia Today 1st July 2016 read more »
ANTI-NUCLEAR weapons campaigners claimed yesterday they had exposed the lie that the controversial renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent would safeguard jobs. In a report published yesterday, CND set out the employment implications of cancelling Trident replacement. The report, written by economist Michael Burke, suggested that there was significant potential for industrial development and jobs creation throughout Britain if the £205 billion planned for Trident is invested elsewhere in the economy. Mr Burke said that the highly skilled workforce could be used in a large-scale industrial investment programme. He said that a host of industries were in need of investment, from wind and wave power, to nuclear decommissioning, to aerospace technology to marine industries and others.
Morning Star 1st July 2016 read more »
The SMART Fintry project, funded through the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund, aims to test and prove a new way to purchase electricity that’s cheaper and greener. How? It will do this by enabling the residents of Fintry to buy their power directly from nearby renewable energy generators – without the need to change supplier or add any additional cables or wires. We’re working on the project with Fintry Development Trust (FDT), which was formed to help make Fintry a sustainable rural community. Since 2007, FDT have encouraged and helped hundreds of homes and businesses to install renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. We’ve been designing community tariffs for a long time, so it makes sense for Good Energy to be the supplier for SMART at Fintry. We’ll be offering a low-cost, local renewable energy tariff to the residents of the village, worked out through the virtual linkage of their energy consumption to the electricity produced by nearby renewable generators.
Good Energy 30th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
A wind energy project in Moray Firth could be delayed after Portugal’s Energias de Portugal (EDP) reconsiders its plans following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. The company is one of a number with investors worried about future government incentives, exchange rates and export duties. Siemens also said it was reconsidering plans for an expansion of its planned manufacturing plant in the port of Hull. The result of the vote has made it more difficult for offshore wind investors, who are mainly international, to predict foreign exchange rates, an important factor as many of them buy equipment in euros. EDP Chief Executive Antonio Mexia said that a delay to the auction would have a knock-on effect for its Scottish project.
Energy Voice 2nd July 2016 read more »