22 February 2016

Hinkley

Nuclear giant EDF can’t afford to write off the £2 billion sunk into the Hinkley C nuclear plant, write Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell. So its cunning plan is to turn it into a ‘nuclear zombie’ – officially a live project, but actually stone cold dead – until EDF can find a way out of the hole it has dug itself into.

Ecologist 20th Feb 2016 read more »

Utilities

New figures published today by UK energy regulator OFGEM show that 6.1 million domestic energy supply accounts were switched in 2015 – a 15% increase on 2014. This is the highest number of switches since 2011, with over 40% of these (2.44 million) moving away from the Big Six to independent suppliers.

Scottish Energy News 22nd Feb 2016 read more »

Fukushima

In July 2015, the Fukushima prefectural government announced its plan to terminate housing assistance for nuclear evacuees who fled areas outside of the restricted zone at the end of March 2017. It has absolutely no intention to change this policy as of this moment in February 2016. In addition, by March 2017, the Fukushima Prefectural Office will lift evacuation orders for the entire prefecture, except for the immediate vicinity of the power plant designated the “difficult-to-return zone,” that has “equal to or greater than the external exposure dose of 50mSv/year.”

Japan – Fissure in the Planetary Apparatus 21st Feb 2016 read more »

Five years ago this month a devastating tsunami engulfed Japan’s northeastern coast, triggering the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Washing over a 10-meter-high seawall, the waves knocked out electricity at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing cooling systems to fail and half of the facility’s uranium cores to overheat and melt through their steel containers. Hydrogen explosions in the next few days damaged three of the reactor buildings, venting radioactive materials into the air. That plume of airborne contamination forced some 160,000 people to evacuate from their homes. Today the disaster site remains in crisis mode. Former residents will not likely return anytime soon, because levels of radioactivity near their abodes remain high. Even more troublesome, the plant has yet to stop producing dangerous nuclear waste: its operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), currently circulates water through the three melted units to keep them cool—generating a relentless supply of radioactive water. To make matters worse, groundwater flowing from a hill behind the crippled plant now mingles with radioactive materials before heading into the sea.

Scientific American 1st March 2016 read more »

Renewables – Onshore Wind

Dozens of new onshore wind turbines could be built on picturesque Scottish islands at bill-payer expense, after ministers confirmed the islands may be excluded from their manifesto pledge to end subsidies for the technology. Controversial projects on Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles could yet qualify for even higher subsidies than those that have been offered to projects elsewhere in the UK, under the plan. Ministers last night faced fresh accusations of reneging on their manifesto commitment, which made no mention of any exemption for Scottish islands and simply vowed to “halt the spread of onshore windfarms” and to “end any new public subsidy for them”.

Telegraph 20th Feb 2016 read more »

Renewables – solar

What will be the biggest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) array in Europe once completed — a 6.3 megawatt (MW) array on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in London — is now under construction. The developer — Lightsource Renewable Energy — has revealed that the project will be composed of 23,000 solar PV panels and will generate enough electricity to provide for the need of around 1800 local households once finished.

Renew Economy 22nd Feb 2016 read more »

Zero Carbon Homes

The Government will create ‘future misery’ for homeowners if it doesn’t reverse its decision to scrap the zero-carbon homes requirement and Code for Sustainable Homes, the National Policy for the Built Environment Committee has said.

Edie 19th Feb 2016 read more »

CCS

Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead has renewed his calls for a national carbon capture and storage (CCS) strategy, following the government’s last minute decision in November to axe a £1 billion competition for CCS pilot projects.

Utility Week 19th Feb 2016 read more »

Gas Grid

Pension funds and sovereign wealth funds are in talks to form a “super-consortium” to bid for a majority stake in National Grid’s gas distribution arm, valued at up to £11bn. Wren House, the infrastructure arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority, and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), one of Britain’s biggest pension funds, are understood to be eyeing the stake that National Grid announced it would sell last November. National Grid’s distribution arm is a key piece of infrastructure covering the Midlands, the North West and eastern England, as well as north London, and supplies 10.9m gas customers. National Grid Transco, as the FTSE 100 company used to be called, sold half of its distribution networks 12 years ago. During this sell-off, OTPP and Borealis teamed up with SSE to buy networks in the South and Scotland.

Telegraph 21st Feb 2016 read more »

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Published: 22 February 2016