Carbon Floor Price
Wind farm owners across Britain will earn tens of millions of pounds less than expected because of plans by the Government to freeze the carbon tax. Solar farm, biomass and nuclear plant owners will also see future earnings cut by the change, widely expected to be announced in the Budget later this month. The carbon tax was announced in the 2011 Budget and came into effect last year, with the aim of encouraging new green power plants. It sets a “floor” for the price of burning carbon each year. The tax has the effect of pushing up the wholesale market price for electricity — increasing profits for renewable and nuclear generators who do not have to pay it.
Telegraph 1st March 2014 read more »
THE German owner of Npower is set to write off hundreds of millions of pounds on the value of its British power plants in the latest sign of a deepening crisis among the big six energy suppliers. RWE, one of Europe’s largest power companies, will reveal the British loss as part of an expected €4.8bn (£4bn) writedown of the value of its fleet of power stations. The loss arises from pollution taxes that are forcing the closure of old coal-fired plants. Big subsidies for renewable energy, meanwhile, have made even gas-burning plants, which are much cleaner than coal stations, loss-making. The hit will alarm Whitehall, which is increasingly worried about the lights going out. Companies have stopped building new power stations amid a political and regulatory backlash, sparked last year by Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices.
Sunday Times 2nd March 2014 read more »
Greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland’s power stations have fallen by more than a third in five years, figures have revealed. Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse said emissions had dropped from the equivalent of 18.484 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006 to the equivalent of 12.147 million tonnes in 2011. The fall was revealed in an answer to parliamentary question from SNP MSP Rob Gibson, the convener of Holyrood’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. Mr Gibson said the figures provided “welcome confirmation of the important role our renewable energy sector is playing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a greener Scotland”. A report last month showed there were 11,695 people in Scotland working full-time in the renewables industry, with the sector providing 40.3% of gross electricity consumption in 2012.
STV 2nd March 2014 read more »
Reply to Bruce Yardley by the two professors. (December 2013). Professor Bruce Yardley criticised David Smythe and Stuart Haszeldine in a Geological Society magazine article in April 2013, claiming that we were mere campaigners and not proper scientists. A response was published in December 2013 in the same magazine. There are also references and supplementary comments from Profs Smythe and Haszeldine.
David Smythe (accessed) 1st March 2014 read more »
Professor Bruce Yardley of Leeds University gave evidence to a select committee of Cumbrian MPs, a month before the vote at which Cumbria County Council decided to pull out of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely process. Bruce Yardley went on to write a rather insulting piece for the Soapbox column of Geoscientist, the house magazine of the Geological Society of London.
David Smythe (accessed) 1st March 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
Most of the youngest and sturdiest of the giant tanks that the Energy Department uses to store high-level radioactive waste at its Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington State show some of the same construction problems as a tank that began leaking in late 2012, according to documents released by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, whose state is across the Columbia River from the site. The Energy Department is counting on the tanks, built in the 1960s and 1970s, to last for decades more, and has pumped into them thousands of gallons of radioactive liquids scavenged from older tanks that leaked or were at risk of leaking.
New York Times 1st March 2014 read more »
Iran’s president said on Saturday the Islamic Republic has decided not to develop nuclear weapons out of principle, not only because it is prevented from doing so by treaties.
Guardian 1st March 2014 read more »
BINYAMIN NETANYAHU, the Israeli prime minister, is planning to offer President Barack Obama a ground- breaking deal in which Israel would agree to an accord with the Palestinians in return for a tougher US stance on Iran’s nuclear programme. The proposed “Palestine for Iran” deal is due to be tabled by Netanyahu during meetings at the White House tomorrow.
Sunday Times 2nd March 2014 read more »
Nuclear Information Service Update March 2014: UK and France extend warhead research collaboration into new areas; Nuclear weapons factory under investigation by safety watchdog for failing to comply with radioactive waste management orders; Shortlist of potential storage sites for submarine radioactive waste published; Round-the-clock deployment not necessary for Britain’s nuclear forces to remain credible; Deeper debate needed on Trident replacement and defence needs, says new report; ‘Point of no return’ reached in international campaign to ban nuclear weapons; Ministry of Defence equipment procurement performance improving – but risks remain; Over fifty British universities funded by the Atomic Weapons Establishment.
NIS 1st March 2014 read more »
The Marshall Islands are marking 60 years since the devastating US hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, with exiled islanders saying they are too fearful to ever go back because of nuclear contamination. Part of the intense cold war nuclear arms race, the 15-megatonne Bravo test on 1 March 1954 was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It exposed thousands in the surrounding area to radioactive fallout. Bikini islanders and their descendants have lived in exile since they were moved for the first weapons tests in 1946. When US government scientists declared Bikini safe for resettlement some residents were allowed to return in the early 1970s. But they were removed again in 1978 after ingesting high levels of radiation from eating foods grown on the former nuclear test site.
Guardian 2nd March 2014 read more »
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report in which it concludes that the integration of large amounts of renewable energy can be achieved by any country at only a small increase on whole system costs, compared with the current fossil-fuel heavy electricity systems. Making the conclusion even more startling is that the IEA used present-day costs for solar PV and wind, with the two most widely-deployed renewable energy technologies set to provide the bulk of the generating capacity in these transformed electricity systems. The report is remarkable not only for its findings but also for the fact that the often conservative energy agency has come out in strong support of renewables. The challenge, the report sets out, is not the variable nature of renewables, but that current electricity systems in established economies must be transformed rather than renewables being simply tacked on.
Renewables International 27th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Materials researchers in Oxford, led by Dr Henry Snaith, have recently shown that they can make simple perovskite solar cells with efficiencies pushing 20%. This is big news, because 20% makes them competitive with existing commercial silicon solar cells while being much cheaper to make in high volumes. They are also more suitable for incorporating into roofing materials and glass panels than silicon and so have the clear potential of being as fundamental to our city architecture as steel, concrete and asphalt. In other words, they could well be the materials that will make it possible to collect the 1% of solar energy we need as a nation, at a cost that can compete with fossil fuels. We might look back in 10 years and pinpoint this as the time the solar energy revolution really ignited. One of my industry colleagues believes so; after the talk he immediately Skyped his research group, told them to stop what they were doing and get working on perovskite solar cells. The race to commercialise them is on.
Observer 2nd March 2014 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 28th Feb 2014 read more »
A UNITED States energy expert who has advised three White House administrations has warned that there is still much to be learned about fracking, the controversial technique used to extract gas from shale rock underground. The widespread adoption of hydraulic fracturing by states across the US has significantly reduced the price of natural gas across the Atlantic since 2008, tapping into a resource feared to be close to running out in the early 1990s. But Dan Reicher, executive director of Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, insists its impact on the environment and its future as a long-term energy source for the US is still unknown. Speaking after delivering a low carbon masterclass, sponsored by The Herald and Scottish Enterprise, Reicher said: “Not too many years ago, we did not think this resource was there; we didn’t think we were going to develop it. Now it is being developed in a fairly aggressive way. “The environmental questions remain significant. Carbon emissions is one of them, also methane emission – a very potent greenhouse gas whereas some carbon emissions questions are fairly well understood, the science of this one isn’t.
Sunday Herald 2nd March 2014 read more »