EDF will make a positive return on its proposed £12bn investment in Hinkley Point even if the nuclear plant is completed four years late and 25pc over budget, leading analysts have said. The assessment of the controversial project by experts at Barclays was seized upon by critics as fresh evidence that the subsidy deal offered to EDF by the UK Government is too generous. The new analysis from Barclays suggests the market is underestimating the benefits to EDF of the project. In a report, its analysts say that in their “base case” scenario for Hinkley, first power would be delayed until 2029 and costs would overrun by 25pc, but it would nevertheless add value to EDF. Barclays analysis suggested that even with delays and overruns Hinkley would generate a return of 7.2pc, above EDFs estimated 6.9pc cost of capital and so “still creates some value for EDF shareholders”. The analysts said that while Hinkley was a “large and risky project”, EDF’s current share price did not reflect this value it was likely to create. Separately, analysis from consultancy Aurora Energy suggests that building new gas power plants instead of Hinkley and other nuclear plants could reduce UK energy costs by £1.2bn a year by 2035, saving households about £15 a year in today’s money.
Telegraph 20th Aug 2016 read more »
Opinion poll among the traditionally conservative Institute of Directors finds barely 9% support for Hinkley nuclear plant, with solar power earning the backing of more than three-quarters of members.
PV Magazine 19th Aug 2016 read more »
Cancelling the planned new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point will be a huge victory for the offshore wind industry. The word from inside No 10 is not clear yet, but there are so many Tories, including the prime minister, unsettled by the prospect of the Chinese building a plant in Britain to an untested French design that the prospects of it going ahead appear slim. As if to emphasise the continuing success of Britain’s elegant turbines in the sea, the government cleared the way for a new array off the Yorkshire coast earlier this week. The multibillion-pound Hornsea Project Two would see 300 turbines – each taller than the Gherkin – span more than 480 sq km of the North Sea. This comes after Dong Energy, the biggest operator of offshore windfarms in Britain, said it was planning to spend a further £6bn in the UK by 2020, convinced that the government is serious about supporting wind power. Offshore wind has proved expensive, but is working hard to get its price per megawatt hour below Hinkley’s £92.50. Some schemes claim to generate electricity at £85.
The question now, Hinkley or no Hinkley, must be whether May can overcome the neoliberal free-market tendencies of some cabinet colleagues and push through an industrial strategy worth the name – one that embraces renewable energy and extracts business and employment for the UK from the dominant overseas firms that currently make the majority of the renewables kit.
Guardian 20th Aug 2016 read more »
Should Theresa May take the axe to the troubled Hinkley Point nuclear project, it will propel wind and solar power further into the limelight. And for renewable technologies to become really effective, Britain and the rest of the world need breakthroughs in electricity storage to allow intermittent power to be on tap 24/7, on a large scale and for the right price. RBC Capital Markets says no current minister starting from scratch today would ever agree to the deal George Osborne oversaw with EDF: a 35-year index-linked contract paying £92.50 per megawatt hour in 2012 money – double the current wholesale price of electricity. But, more ominously for government, it adds: “We question whether such large-scale generation is needed in a rapidly changing and decentralising electricity market where the costs of renewables and storage are coming down.” That is traditionally a message that has come from the leaders of the wind and solar sector – such as Jeremy Leggett, the founder of solar panel maker Solarcentury and a figurehead for the wider green industry. He is delighted that others are picking up on arguments he has been making for years. “Finally the message is getting through that Hinkley, and indeed nuclear, make no sense today simply because wind and solar are cheaper. If we accelerate renewables in the UK, we can get to 100% renewable power well before 2050,” he says. “The message is getting through on the feasibility of this too. One thousand cities around the world are committed to 100% renewable supply, some as soon as 2030. More than 60 giant corporations are committed to 100% [low carbon] supply, some as soon as 2020.” The Economist believes improved electricity storage is a key answer to the frequently repeated criticism of wind and solar that it is intermittent, and points out that battery technology is fast improving. The magazine also champions interconnectors, which can link energy-hungry Britain with northern Europe, where there is a wind-energy surplus, or with a country such as Iceland – a centre of geothermal power due to its volcanoes. The Economist concludes: “All of these options would be cheaper than Hinkley, which would take 10 years to get going and represent a huge, continuing cost to bill payers, if it ever worked at all. Such a strategy would also buy time to see what new technologies emerge.”
Observer 20th Aug 2016 read more »
Mike Starkie – elected Mayor of Copeland: AT the end of July Copeland Borough Council submitted its response to the second stage of the NuGen Consultation. The response document is very detailed and a huge amount of work has gone in to producing an extensive report which can be viewed in full on the CBC website or through a link on the Elected Mayor Facebook page. Copeland remains supportive of the NuGen project but we are determined that as it progresses it delivers the community benefits to which we are entitled and that potential impacts are minimised, at the moment we feel there is a significant lack of detail and it is something we will work hard with NuGen to address. Socio-economics and community benefits is and has been a topic of much conversation in this borough as we are host to Sellafield Ltd and the highest hazard site in Europe. The recent national press about financial compensation being offered to those living in proximity to fracking sites has brought this to the fore again. We have been working extremely hard with all our nuclear partners to establish a new relationship based on openness and trust and will endeavour to continue to work in partnership to ensure all of Copeland benefits from having the Nuclear Industry on our doorstep.
NW Evening Mail 19th Aug 2016 read more »
Secret US diplomatic cables scoffing at the SNP’s commitment to ditch Trident after independence have been attacked by former first minister Alex Salmond. Internal memos from the US Embassy in London to the State Department in Washington in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014 dismiss the Scottish Government’s plan to ban nuclear weapons. The cables, just declassified under US freedom of information law and released exclusively to the Sunday Herald, label SNP nuclear policy as “rhetoric” and “a marquee issue”. An anti-Trident motion in the Scottish Parliament is described as “largely symbolic” and “a campaign tactic”. The revelations have prompted an angry response from Salmond, who headed Holyrood at the time.
Sunday Herald 21st Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – Offshore Wind
Simon Watson, Prof of Wind Energy at Loughborough University: Britain is only just beginning to exploit its vast resources of offshore wind.
The Conversation 18th Aug 2016 read more »
In Europe, there are currently 84 projects to construct off-shore windfarms in 11 countries. Dong was formed out of a number of oil, coal and gas companies but now focuses on renewables. The United States lags behind Europe in investing in wind farms: cheap alternatives, lack of regulation and local/political opposition make them impractical. A $2.6 billion project to construct turbines off the coast of Nantucket had to be canceled due to strong objections from locals upset that their views would be impeded. But that is beginning to change. The first off-shore turbines in the US were recently installed three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island by Deepwater Wind. On August 1 the Massachusetts state legislature passed a resolution committing the state to contracting 1600 MW of off-shore wind power. Last year Dong leased an area of land off the coast of Massachusetts and now plans to construct a wind farm that will generate an estimated 1000 MW of power.
Oil Price 19th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
A new venture spearheaded by Elon Musk will create house roofs made entirely of solar panels, in a sweeping expansion of Tesla’s clean energy ambitions. Tesla has finalized a $2.6bn deal to buy solar power company SolarCity to produce solar “shingles” – photovoltaic material that would be fashioned into the shape of a house roof. “I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof,” Musk said. “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof.”
Guardian 19th Aug 2016 read more »
The Scottish entrepreneur behind one of Britain’s fastest-growing energy companies could be in line for a £175m payday after putting his business up for sale. Jim Clarke, founder of renewable power specialist Clarke Energy, has hired KPMG to find new investors next month, City sources said. Clarke is considering selling his majority stake, with private equity backer ECI weighing its options. The company employs more than 1,000 people in 17 countries. It sells clean-energy generators to sites including Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals and the Shard in London.
Sunday Times 21st Aug 2016 read more »