A single newspaper report about German energy policy managed to cause a stir – but only in Germany. Was it a case of media hype – or did the EU backpedal after an unexpectedly strong reaction from Germany? German daily paper, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Friday reported that the European Commission was working on plans that would mean a turning point in its energy policy. According to the paper, the Commission was planning to allow state subsidies for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. There was no official Commission paper, but the newspaper insisted it had a copy and the Commission would present its plans after the political summer break.
Deutsche Welle 20th July 2013 read more »
In advance of official publication, Germany’s government has rebuffed draft plans by the European Commission to allow European Union member states to directly subsidise nuclear power. Several European governments, such as Britain and France, plan to build new nuclear power stations. However many prospective developers are shying away from investing in the expensive and financially uncertain technology without the safeguard of government support. The European Commission, reputedly under pressure from Britain and France, has prepared a draft paper titled “Paper of the Commission Services containing draft guidelines on environmental and energy aid for 2O14-2O20”, which proposes to allow governments to provide direct state aid for nuclear power. The paper is not scheduled to come before legislators until later in the summer, and is still a ‘work in progress’ but a draft has been leaked to the Greens-European Free Alliance bloc in the European parliament, which strongly opposes its pro-nuclear measures. The paper says that aid may be compatible with EU rules and that “these guidelines apply to state aid for environmental protection, including CO2 capture, transport and storage (CCS), energy infrastructure, capacity mechanisms and nuclear energy”. But Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has said in response that she is opposed to nuclear subsidies.
Modern Power Systems 20th July 2013 read more »
The Government’s Electricity Market Reform, a central pillar of the Energy Bill currently progressing through Parliament designed to encourage new, much-needed sources of low-carbon power generation to be built, is gathering pace. But, despite a slew of recent announcements providing some further detail on how the reforms will work, investment in renewables is slowing down dramatically, as this recent graph from Bloomberg, showing clean energy investment decisions (in US$bn), clearly demonstrates.
SSE 19th July 2013 read more »
A comprehensive survey published by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) of attitudes of the British public has found low support for nuclear power as a solution to the UK’s problems compared to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Indeed, when ranked as a solution to the problems of energy security, climate change and affordability, nuclear power was perceived as being less preferable than reducing the heating temperature inside the home.
Dave Tok’es Blog 20th June 2013 read more »
The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) this week strongly criticised the cost estimates in the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap and 2030 Green Paper. According to DIW, the Commission systematically overestimates the financial requirements of renewables and underestimates the requirements of nuclear and carbon capture and storage. They conclude that, “In contrast to renewable energies, neither nuclear energy nor carbon capture, transport, and storage are cost efficient enough to play a central role in the future European electricity mix. It is therefore vital for Europe to continue to focus on the further development of renewable energies in future. This requires the setting of ambitious renewables targets for 2030 as well as clear emissions reduction and energy efficiency targets.”
Scrapbook of a Climate Hawk 21st July 2013 read more »
Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, the operator of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said Friday that about 2,000 people — 10 percent of those who were part of the emergency crew involved in the cleanup after the plant’s meltdown in 2011 — face an increased risk of thyroid cancer due to exposure to nuclear radiation.
IB Times 20th July 2013 read more »
Danny Alexander: Britain’s nuclear deterrent does not require 24-hour patrols. The UK does not need a hair-trigger nuclear weapons system to keep it safe. To suggest otherwise is Cold War thinking at its most outdated – and last week it was a shame to see both the Conservative and Labour parties in denial. This debate is too important to be dictated by the political ghosts of Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock. We need to move on from old Cold War assumptions and consider the facts. To help open the debate, on Tuesday the Government published the Trident Alternatives Review. It is a detailed and forensic analysis, the most thorough for decades. It clearly shows there are credible and viable alternatives to the UK’s current approach to nuclear deterrence. For the first time in a generation, the British people can see for themselves that 24-hour nuclear patrols against no adversary in particular are unnecessary. The review demonstrates that there is a ladder of nuclear capability and readiness and that there exist a number of options for taking steps down its rungs without getting off altogether.
Independent 21st July 2013 read more »
LAST Thursday night I nearly choked on my glass of Blue Nun (favourite tipple of BBC’s This Week) when Michael Portillo, the former Tory defence secretary, told the presenter Andrew Neil, not only that he thought Trident was a nuclear anachronism, but that more than half of the army chiefs of staff agreed with him that it should not be renewed. It wasn’t the only nuclear shock. Speaking on the LBC radio station, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg compared Trident to pre-World War One Dreadnought battleships, and questioned the wisdom of a weapons system designed to obliterate Russia when the threat from the former Soviet Union had evaporated. Never before has an acting Deputy PM posed the question in this way. Britain could seize the moral high ground as the first Western country to honour the spirit, and not just the letter, of the Non Proliferation Treaty, which obliges all signatories to remove weapons of mass destruction from the planet. If we want to stop countries like Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, someone has to set an example. Even the defence chiefs would be happy because they would have more money to equip the British army.
Herald 21st July 2013 read more »
Maria McCaffery, 54, is the chief executive of Renewable UK, Britain’s leading trade body for wind, marine and tidal energy. Born in Liverpool, she now lives in Warwickshire. In 1998, she was awarded an MBE for her services to international trade.
Independent 20th July 2013 read more »
The water company United Utilities is in talks with shale gas explorer Cuadrilla over locations for fracking and is interested in letting the company explore on its land. The utility supplies water across the North West, including the Bowland shale licence area where Cuadrilla hopes to resume fracking next year. It is also a major landowner, with 141,000 acres (57,000 hectares) stretching from Cumbria to Crewe. United Utilities’ business development manager began talks with Cuadrilla within the last couple of months and the companies are “looking at potential opportunities for working together”, a spokeswoman for the water giant confirmed. Fracking involves pumping large quantities of water along with chemicals and sand into the ground at high pressure to hydraulically fracture the rocks and extract gas trapped within them.
Telegraph 20th July 2013 read more »