Scotland has accused the UK government of being “hell-bent on ploughing billions of pounds” into nuclear power stations but restricting support for renewables, after three of its offshore wind farms were left off a list for fast-tracked funding yesterday. The new contract for difference (CfD) regime is due to open fully for applications in autumn next year, but the government yesterday unveiled a list of renewable energy projects that will be eligible for early support from March. However, no Scottish offshore wind farms were on the final list, despite three passing the initial application round, potentially putting 2.45GW of new capacity at risk. Four English offshore wind farms made the top ten, but Mainstream Renewable Power’s Neart na Gaoithe near Fife, SSE’s Beatrice in the Outer Moray Firth and the Inch Cape wind farm developed by Repsol Nuevas Energias UK and EDPR off the Angus coast were all left off the list.
Business Green 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Energy Live News 20th Dec 2013 read more »
A bid by the National Trust of Ireland to quash a decision giving permission for a new nuclear power station on the west coast of England has failed. An Taisce had challenged the legality of planning permission granted for Hinkley Point, Somerset in March. The proposed site lies 150 miles (240km) from the Irish coast. Dismissing the case at the High Court, Mrs Justice Patterson said the government had acted correctly. Lawyers for An Taisce had argued that there was a failure to undertake transboundary consultation with the Irish people beforehand as required by the European Commission’s Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. In granting permission, the government had said such consultation was not necessary as it had already dealt with the potentially very severe impact that nuclear accidents could have, were they to happen.
BBC 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Irish Times 21st Dec 2013 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Western Morning News 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Planners have approved a proposed ‘multi-million’ pound innovation centre linked to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station’s development. Sedgemoor District Council has approved plans submitted by Somerset County Council for a low-carbon focused hub that it says could generate up to 1,000 jobs. The county council says the Hinkley Innovation Centre at Bridgwater Gateway would provide 24,000sq ft of office space dedicated to the low-carbon energy sector. It said it would also provide a space for businesses and specialist organisations to work together during the construction of Hinkley Point C and provide a base to help businesses tap into other low-carbon energy projects across the UK.
Western Daily Press 19th Dec 2013 read more »
An MEP from the South West has welcomed an EU investigation into the construction of the Hinkley Point Nuclear site in Somerset. Conservative Julie Girling says the public need to be ensured they’re getting a good deal for their money. The Commission will check whether the development conforms with EU rules. The 16 billion pound investment will create 25 thousand jobs in the local area.
ITV News 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Seven of the armed officers have resigned without facing disciplinary charges amid claims they ignored key duties at the AWE site
Get Reading 20th Dec 2013 read more »
US – Weapons Complex
The Obama administration’s plans for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including modernization of bombs, delivery systems and laboratories, will cost the country about $355 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Friday. That is nearly $150 billion more than administration’s $208.5 billion estimate in a report to Congress last year, an analyst at an arms control group said, and since the modernization effort is just beginning, costs are expected to greatly increase after 2023.
Reuters 20th Dec 2013 read more »
The US-Japanese company Westinghouse is going to submit to energy group ČEZ on Friday a final version of the technology part of its bid for the construction of unit three and four of nuclear power plant Temelín, Westinghouse told ČTK today. The Czech-Russian Consortium MIR.1200 presented a consolidated bid for Temelín on Friday, December 13, the consortium’s PR agent Monika Matyastikova told CTK today.
Prague 19th Dec 2013 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
A new entity is being established to focus solely on the cleanup activity at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced today. The move had been recommended by a group of international advisers, and was embraced by TEPCO, as a means to concentrate expertise and focus attention and accountability on the Fukushima cleanup.
TEPCO 20th Dec 2013 read more »
The number of U.S. sailors who claim to have been poisoned by radiation while serving during the 2011 tsunami in Japan – resulting in cases of leukemia, thyroid and testicular cancers, chronic bronchitis and brain tumors – has jumped to 51, as the group continue to fight the company they say didn’t report the contamination when it happened.
Daily Mail 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Russia has allocated RUB80.6 billion ($2.4 billion) as ‘in-kind’ contributions to the growth of its nuclear industry with a large portion of this assigned to foreign projects, including the Akkuyu plant in Turkey. Rosatom is the state corporation that includes every significant commercial enterprise in the country’s nuclear power industry. It actually drafted the directive which was yesterday approved by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.
World Nuclear News 20th Dec 2013 read more »
OIL and gas exploration could begin off the west coast of Scotland after independence when the Trident nuclear submarines are removed the Clyde, the Scottish Government has indicated. Energy minister Fergus Ewing yesterday insisted Scotland would not have any “no-go areas” for drilling, after it emerged the Ministry of Defence had blocked the prospect of a second oil boom in the Firth of Clyde post-independence. BP undertook seismic surveys south of Arran and east of Kintyre in the early 1980s, but concerns emerged that these could interfere with naval operations in the area, notably by the Trident nuclear-armed submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde. The Scottish Government has said it is committed to removing Trident within two years of a Yes vote.
Scotsman 21st Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
Renewable energy use is at a record high in Scotland, according to new government figures. In 2012, Scotland got 40.3 percent of its electricity from renewable sources — up from 36.3 percent in 2011 and just 24.1 percent in 2010. The Scottish government plans to get half of its electricity from renewable energy by 2015 — a target it said it was on track to meet — and 100 percent of its electricity by 2020. Scotland’s renewable energy numbers are much higher than many other U.K. countries — renewables produced only 8.2 percent of England’s electricity in 2012, and in Wales, 8.7 percent of electricity comes from renewable sources.
Climate Progress 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Denmark
Renewable electricity records are being broken every day. In early October, Germany hit a 59 percent renewable peak, Colorado utility Xcel Energy peaked at 60 percent wind at the beginning of the year and Spain got its top power supply from wind for three months leading into 2013. But that’s chump change compared with Denmark. According to data from Energinet, the national grid operator, wind power has produced 30 percent of gross power consumption to date in 2013. This includes more than 90 hours where wind produced more than all of Denmark’s electricity needs, peaking at 122 percent on Oct. 28, at 2 a.m.
Eco Business 13th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Solar
Established policy in HM Treasury and DECC is based on outdated thinking and needs to be revisited to reduce the cost to consumers of hitting the 2020 targets. It has been argued that offshore wind is the only way to generate sufficient TWh for the UK. The EMR delivery plan suggests that only 2.4-4GW of large scale solar will be deployed. However, the 2009 Element Energy Report suggested the technical resource for solar is much greater: 22 TWhpa for domestic roofs; 30 TWhpa for commercial & industrial roofs. Even in Britain, with 1MWp DC of solar requiring two hectares of land, generating 500MWh pa/Ha, (ie it’s up to 25 times better than the next best crop). If you put solar farms just on the land currently planted with biofuels (around 1.1m acres) then you could generate 190TWh pa and displace no food production. Farmers Weekly suggests two-thirds of the biofuel land will be cut by new EU biofuels regulations. DECC’s own 2020 pathway calculator puts rooftop output potential from south-facing domestic roofs alone at 140TWh of power per annum, and an equivalent number from solar farms. There is clearly some work to do to reconcile these numbers, but even if you’re massively conservative, solar (balanced with gas) can still do the heavy lifting that offshore wind can do (balanced with gas), and at a cheaper cost. Arguably, the roll out of solar is faster and also less risky than offshore wind, so more likely to deliver in time.
Solar Portal 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Leonie Greene says the bottom-up solar revolution is a global story but worries DECC is still ignoring its potential. When the government unveiled its electricity market reform (EMR) delivery plan yesterday to drive billions of pounds of investment in low carbon power generation, it was shocking to discover it foresees a future with little utility solar power capacity installed for the next 16 years. As 2013 draws to a close the UK sits on the fringes of the global top 10 for solar power production. In just three years half a million British homes (or other small roofs) have gone solar. However, conspicuous by its absence in the UK is the mid/large solar roof market covering schemes upwards of 100kW right up to 5MW – the size of the Bentley car factory scheme, which is currently the largest roof scheme in the UK. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker often says we could deliver his entire 22GW solar aspiration from a fraction of commercial and industrial roof space and the industry was delighted when last week he announced that 2014 would be the year to unlock this market.
Business Green 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Will 2013 be remembered as the year that crowd funding and community ownership of renewable energy in the UK finally began to go mainstream? There are a lot of reasons to think it will. In autumn Climate Minister Greg Barker called for a decentralised energy revolution, arguing the Big Six energy firms could be replaced by the ‘Big 60,000’. A few weeks later, a company announced that it had raised £400,000 for a rooftop solar scheme in just one month. All over the country energy co-ops established over the last couple of years have been finding their feet and expanding their membership. The media has begun to take notice, with articles and blogs on the subject of community or crowd-funded renewables proliferating as fast as rooftop solar panels.
Business Green 20th Dec 2013 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Growing concerns about a future power generating capacity crunch were highlighted on Friday when SSE unveiled plans to close two coal-fired power stations, one of them the huge Ferrybridge complex in West Yorkshire. The move comes just 24 hours after the energy regulator, Ofgem, announced businesses would be paid to cut their power supplies on weekday evenings in a bid to keep the lights on elsewhere. Half of the 2,000 megawatts are to be taken offline by SSE in March at Ferrybridge, with the remaining units taken out of service in 2023 at the latest alongside the 215MW at Uskmouth facility in Gwent, south Wales. SSE has already announced that it is slashing capacity at its gas-fired power station at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. SSE could have chosen to fit them with new technology to make them cleaner under EU environmental legislation but said it had been forced to take a difficult decision while continuing to invest in new wind farms and other forms of generation.
Guardian 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Peterhead power station is to have a Â£15m refit to improve its flexibility and extend its operating life. Owner SSE said it planned to modify the facility’s steam turbines, control systems and ancillary plant connected with Unit 1 at Peterhead. The work is expected to be completed within two years. Earlier this year, the Perth-based company announced plans to scale back output from Peterhead, from 1.1GW to 400MW. It blamed the move in part on uncertainty around planned reforms to the UK electricity market. In a statement released on Friday, SSE said the refit would allow the power station to deliver “efficient generation output over a much wider range” and down to a minimum output of 200MW.
BBC 20th Dec 2013 read more »
David Cameron has called on European leaders to press ahead with fracking after seeing off the threat of new EU restrictions on the industry. The Prime Minister had feared that Europe would fall farther behind the US in exploiting the energy source if the European Commission imposed new legal rules on the drilling. He urged European companies to start fracking in earnest after EU officials confirmed that there would be no new legislation.
Times 21st Dec 2013 read more »
Council chiefs warn shale gas explorers could be denied planning permission unless communities are guaranteed a 10 per cent share of revenues – but energy minister says this is too high.
Telegraph 20th Dec 2013 read more »