EDF is in talks to sell a near-30% stake in the £14 billion project to build Britain’s first nuclear reactors for more than 20 years. The French energy group wants to spread the cost of the huge scheme at Hinkley Point, Somerset. EDF is thought to be negotiating with a handful of Chinese state giants, including China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation. It has hired Credit Suisse, the investment bank, as adviser. The Department of Energy & Climate Change is in the final stages of crunch talks with EDF over the subsidies for Hinkley Point. Sources say the government is likely to guarantee wholesale power prices of at least £100 per megawatt hour – nearly twice the current market rate. Final offers for Horizon are due on Friday. Toshiba Westinghouse, the Japanese-owned nuclear technology company, has joined China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation and Exelon, the American energy company, in one team. There is a rival offer from Areva, the French nuclear developer, and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, and a third from Hitachi, the Japanese giant. The outcome could affect the result of the EDF sale. Industry sources say if one of the Chinese groups is chosen for Hinkley, it is likely to withdraw from the Horizon race.
Sunday Times 23rd Sept 2012 more >>
An anti-green movement within the Tory party is threatening tens of billions of pounds of investment, Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey has warned. He told the Observer that a “Tea Party tendency” among Tory MPs could deter low-carbon energy projects. And Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned of a “populist backlash against everything green”.
BBC 23rd Sept 2012 more >>
Davey says, however, that there are huge opportunities for the British economy from investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure projects, including wind and solar energy, carbon capture storage and new nuclear power, all of which make up a large part of projected spending of £118bn in the sector over the next decade. Last year alone £12.7bn was invested in this country by the renewable energy industry, creating 20,000 jobs.
Observer 23rd Sept 2012 more >>
For environmentalists such as Green, using demand management makes more sense than cranking up another gas-fired power station. But he does not just want big factories switching off – he wants to see thousands, maybe millions, of homes volunteering to cut consumption at times of need in exchange for a cash incentive. “On October 17, we are going to start with a small number of houses and businesses,” said Green, “but we want to get it to about 15,000 houses.” When the full scheme gets under way, participants could see savings of up to 25% on their energy bills. Some of that will come from changes in their behaviour as they learn more about their energy use. Some will come from the “remote control” switch-off of appliances and the dimming of lights. “And they also get a share of the money that comes back because they are providing this balancing service. That could be another 10 per cent off their bills,” said Green. The curtailment experiment will be launched at the Ecoislands Global Summit 2012, an event on the Isle of Wight bringing together 500 delegates to share information on sustainable communities. It will use a wireless “mesh” of linked boxes and controllers being created on the island by Cable & Wireless Worldwide and Silver Spring Networks. Houses will get a home energy management system, or HEMS – a black box half the size of a shoebox that sits alongside the meter. The box talks to appliances around the home via wi-fi or by sending signals through the mains electricity. The homeowner can choose the appli ances to be controlled.
Sunday Times 23rd Sept 2012 more >>
ON the toe of Cornwall, where the last of England disappears into the Atlantic Ocean, there is excitement in the air. Its source is a place called Hayle, a sleepy little enclave just a few minutes’ drive from the restaurants and amusement arcades of the resort of St Ives. This is the headquarters of the south-west’s ambitions for marine energy, centred around Wave Hub, a site for testing wave-powered turbines. It is styling itself as the most advanced stop in the long road towards developing devices that will finally realise all the years of promises about the potential for getting electricity from sea water. According to the Wave Hub pitch, once you have done your research and development and then developed a commercially viable device with testing in the world-leading Orkneys, you should then come to Cornwall to test an array of devices. This i s widely seen as the final step that would give big utilities the confidence to commission wave farms on a full commercial scale. Several years before anyone is at that point, Wave Hub is currently competing to offer testing facilities to designers at earlier stages. It has announced two agreements, and the first will see a device in the water before January. The brainchild of an Irish company, Ocean Energy, it is a buoy that works by allowing water into a central chamber. That squeezes air up to create pressure to turn a turbine. The unspoken message is that Scotland needs to watch out. Orkney might be years ahead as the world’s number one venue for testing wave and tidal devices, but Cornwall is competing on waves. This is at a time of disquiet in the Scottish marine energy industry, as was evident at the Scottish Renewables Marine Energy Conference in Inverness last week. No-one is worried about resources, of course. Scotland has 25% of Europe’s tidal power and 10% of its wave power – considerably more than the south of England. But industry leaders are concerned Scotland is being held back by the UK system that charges electricity producers and consumers to use the transmission network. Unless someone comes up with an answer, they claim, the industry could collapse before it is properly under way.
Sunday Herald 23rd Sept 2012 more >>