25 January 2017

Energy Policy – Scotland

Scottish Renewable has described the publication of a draft strategy on the future of energy in Scotland as a “landmark moment”. Earlier today, Minster for Business, Innovation and Strategy outlined the government’s plans for a low carbon future. It includes £50million of funding which will be made available to support 13 projects which demonstrate low carbon or renewable electricity, heating or storage solutions across Scotland. Jenny Hogan, director of policy, said: “This is a landmark moment in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy. “The new draft strategy shows that Scotland is serious about building on the fantastic progress made in renewable power over the past decade and maintaining our position as a global leader in green energy. “Setting a new target for renewables to deliver half of our energy needs by 2030 sends a strong signal that renewable energy will be at the heart of Scotland’s economy and is key to meeting our climate change targets at lowest cost. “While ambitious, the target is achievable but absolutely depends on the right support from both the UK and Scottish Governments.”

Energy Voice 24th Jan 2017 read more »

A new target to deliver the equivalent of 50 per cent of the energy required for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030 was unveiled today, as part of a key consultation on Scotland’s first energy strategy. The draft Scottish Energy Strategy, published today, sets out a vision for 2050 for Scotland to have a modern, integrated energy system that delivers reliable, low carbon energy at affordable prices to consumers in all parts of Scotland. The Strategy will build upon the existing economic strengths of the energy sector in Scotland, while protecting energy security and setting out our approach to tackling fuel poverty. This vision will be supported next month when we will announce details of up to £50 million in funding to be awarded to 13 projects, at sites across Scotland, which will demonstrate low carbon or renewable electricity, heating or storage solutions.

Scottish Government 24th Jan 2017 read more »

A Scottish government-owned energy company that would potentially go head-to-head with “big six” utility companies has been proposed by ministers at Holyrood. The Scottish Government is proposing to create a taxpayer-owned energy company that could supply power on a not-for-profit basis as part of its latest energy strategy, published on Tuesday. A government-owned energy company could also potentially act as an issuer of “renewable energy bonds”, similar to green bonds used to finance low carbon schemes, according to the strategy which will be put out for consultation.

FT 24th Jan 2017 read more »

The Scottish government has taken the first steps to heavily cutting the country’s reliance on North Sea oil and gas after calling for 50% of Scotland’s entire energy needs to come from renewables. In a subtle but significant shift of emphasis for the Scottish National party after decades championing North Sea production, ministers unveiled a new energy strategy intended to push motorists, homeowners and businesses into using low- or zero-carbon green energy sources for half their energy needs by 2030. Currently, 47% of Scotland’s total energy use comes from petroleum products largely extracted from Scotland’s North Sea oil platforms, and 27% from domestic and imported natural gas needed for home heating. With opposition parties and environment groups expressing scepticism about a lack of detail in the new strategy, Scottish ministers privately admit cutting oil use is their biggest challenge in hitting far tougher targets unveiled last week to reduce Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032.

Guardian 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Half of Scotland’s heat transport and electricity energy needs will be met by renewables by 2030 under plans published by the Scottish government. The draft Scottish Energy Strategy sets out a vision for the transition away from oil and gas dependency and towards a low-carbon economy by 2050. Only 13% of Scotland’s total final energy consumption came from renewable sources in 2013.

BBC 24th Jan 2017 read more »

STV 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Herald 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Scotsman 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Environmental groups welcomed the document, with Gina Hanrahan, from WWF Scotland, saying “it sends a strong message to business and industry, both here and globally, that Scotland plans to build on its amazing progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors”. She added: “A transformation in how we heat our homes and offices, how we travel to work and school, and how we power our industries will generate many social and economic benefits. “Research shows that generating half of our energy from renewables by 2030 is both necessary and achievable.” Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, welcomed the strategy, and added: “With 50 per cent of all energy to come from renewables by 2030 and 100 per cent of our electricity well before then, this plan sets us firmly on course to becoming one of the leading low-carbon nations in the world.” Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said the document was “a landmark moment in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy”. She said: “Setting a new target for renewables to deliver half of our energy needs by 2030 sends a strong signal that renewable energy will be at the heart of Scotland’s economy and is key to meeting our climate change targets at lowest cost.” The strategy set out a “renewed focus” on energy efficiency, and pledged to make Scotland’s buildings almost zero carbon by 2050.

The National 25th Jan 2017 read more »

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, raised doubts over the credibility of the plan. He said that Scotland’s nuclear power stations offered a reliable baseload that renewables could not match, and attacked SNP ministers’ refusal to countenance a new Scottish nuclear power station as being based on an “article of faith” rather than logic. Although energy is a reserved matter, Scottish ministers can block new plants using their powers over planning. Mr Greatrex, a former MP who served as Ed Miliband’s shadow energy minister, added: “All this strategy is doing is delaying a decision over a serious problem which will become more and more difficult, and expensive, to solve.”

Times 25th Jan 2017 read more »

Roseanna Cunningham: We must all be energised to build a country that is fairer and greener. The publication of our new draft Climate Change Plan represents an opportunity to build on the ambitious approach that has seen Scotland gain recognition in the international community for its work reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Seven years ago the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the most ambitious climate change legislation in the world and, more recently, by exceeding our 2020 climate change targets and achieving a 42 per cent reduction in emissions six years early, we cemented our reputation as world leaders.

Herald 25th Jan 2017 read more »

The Solar Trade Association Scotland has welcomed the draft new Scottish energy strategy – which includes many of its ‘asks’, for example, the pledge to further the role of solar in the review of building regulations and a planned action to address grid constraints will also encourage solar developers. John Forster, Chairman, STA Scotland, said: “We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to help deliver their ambitious targets. “Scotland’s solar potential has yet to be tapped so there is a large scope for growth in the industry, creating local jobs and business opportunities as well as environmental benefits.” “There is strong evidence that large growth of solar will have significant benefits for Scotland. It will help meet the Scottish Government’s fuel poverty and community energy targets, as one of the most versatile renewable sources. It also complements the existing renewable energy mix; research shows that solar helps reduce the cost of intermittency associated with wind.

Scottish Energy News 24th Jan 2017 read more »

A new Govt. target to deliver the equivalent of 50 per cent of the energy required for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030 was published today for public consultation in the draft Scottish Energy Strategy. Additionally, the Scot-Govt. will announce details next week of up to £50 million in funding to be awarded to 13 renewable energy projects, including low-carbon projects, and heating and energy storage solutions. Just like the UK government, the Scottish energy strategy sets out a vision for 2050 for Scotland to have an integrated energy system that delivers reliable, low carbon energy at affordable prices to consumers in all parts of the nation, while building upon existing economic strengths of the energy sector in Scotland, while protecting energy security and tackling fuel poverty. Earlier, the Offshore Wind Programme Board announced that the cost of energy from offshore wind has fallen by 32% since 2012.

Scottish Energy News 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, the Scottish Energy Minister, said the aim of the energy strategy is to create a long-term vision for the Scottish energy system, identifying three priority areas; –Securing energy supplies to meet our needs; Transforming energy demand and use, and Creating smart local energy systems. In doing so, it introduces consideration of some of the potential ‘game changers’, such as hydrogen fuel and CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), that do not yet exist at any scale in Scotland and were absent from the Climate Change Plan. In this respect it links to the Scottish Energy Efficiency Plan (also published today) and other key existing plans and statements, such as the Electricity Generation Policy Statement (published in 2013) and Heat Policy Statement (2015). Professor Karen Turner, Director of the Centre for Energy Policy at Strathclyde University’s International Public PoIicy Institute, commented: “The ambitious and ‘whole system’ approach to the new Scottish Energy Strategy, particularly with a strong focus on demand and local level energy system issues, is to be welcomed. “However, building from this initial strategy, there will be challenges in developing a set of plans and policies that are actually do-able.

Scottish Energy News 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Sizewell

EDF Energy has been told to reconsider its designs for the new Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk. The French energy giant wants to build the plant next to existing power stations near Leiston. It says it will create 25,000 “employment opportunities” and is currently consulting on the proposals. But, in a joint statement, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council said a “greater level of detail” on the plans was needed. The councils said while they support the principal of new power station, they feel there is a “lack of information” more than four years on from the initial consultation. Concerns raised relate to the impact on traffic, transport and the environment and the plant’s design.

BBC 24th Jan 2017 read more »

A leading heritage charity says the current proposals for the Sizewell C nuclear power station “threaten environmental damage on an unprecedented scale” in east Suffolk. The Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) believes that the project will have major implications for the special qualities of the AONB and and a permanent road crossing over the Sizewell Marshes and the workers’ campus will destroy the tranquillity and remote character of the area. SPS director Fiona Cairns believes that “on balance what is being proposed during the construction phase of Sizewell C would threaten environmental damage on an unprecedented scale across a wide range of highly sensitive locations”. She added: “We must ensure that a lasting legacy for Suffolk is delivered in return for hosting this Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. “It is time for EDF to deliver a lasting solution and avert environmental desecration.”

East Anglian Daily Times 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Hunterson

Nuclear industry denies it is gambling with safety over bid to change rules on radioactive core cracks.

Herald 23rd Jan 2017 read more »

Hinkley

Major road works begin in Bridgwater today ahead of building work ramping up at Hinkley Point. A temporary one-way system will be introduced in Wylds Road. Improvements include widening the width of the right-turn lane from Bristol Road into The Drove and the junction made safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Traffic lights will also be upgraded at the Wylds Road junction with The Drove and a left-turn slip road created from Western Way into Wylds Road, together with safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. David Hall, Deputy leader of Somerset County Council said: “The works will improve the junction in the long term especially with the increase in EDF Energy traffic in the coming years.

Breeze 23rd Jan 2017 read more »

The new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station faces delays and higher costs as a result of Brexit, the project’s developer EDF has told a committee of MPs. EDF said that the government must ensure businesses can continue to draw on the European Union (EU) skills base in written evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee. The Committee has been holding an inquiry called “Leaving the EU: negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy”.

New Civil Engineer 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Building 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Cumbria

The Green Party has selected Jack Lenox as its Copeland by-election candidate, opposing nuclear power and instead offering a safe energy future with increased investment in renewables. The announcement from the Greens comes just one day after Labour said its candidate, Gillian Troughton, has been “quite clear of her support for the nuclear industry, no ifs and no buts”. Jack will also be campaigning for Britain to maintain a close relationship with Europe and to stop the creeping marketisation of the NHS, as well as vowing action to protect West Cumbrian homes from flooding. Jack has lived in Copeland for four years and works as a software engineer. An active member of the community, Jack performs with and serves on the committee of the Keswick Amateur Operatic Society. In 2015, he helped organise the first web conference in Cumbria, bringing industry experts from across the world to Keswick.

Green Party 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Moorside

A campaign group is calling on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to publicly oppose nuclear new-build plans in west Cumbria. Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) has written to Mr Corbyn to urge him to lodge his “firm and outspoken” opposition to plans for a three-reactor station at Moorside, on land next to Sellafield. By doing so, adds RFL, Mr Corbyn would “galvanise and inspire nuclear opponents, and give them a compelling reason to vote Labour”.

Carlisle News and Star 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Toshiba

Japan’s Toshiba Corp said it will unveil the extent of the writedown on its U.S. nuclear business on Feb. 14 when it reports its results for the quarter ended Dec. 31. The laptops-to-engineering conglomerate, still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal two years ago, shocked investors in December by announcing major cost overruns at the U.S. nuclear business it bought in 2015.

Reuters 24th Jan 2017 read more »

SMRs

Terrestrial Energy USA announced today it had informed the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of its plans to license a small modular reactor (SMR) in the USA. Terrestrial said it intends to start “pre-application interactions” with the regulator this year and to make its licensing application in late 2019.

World Nuclear News 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Energy Policy

Scores of small power plants planned for the UK are at risk of being scrapped because of an overhaul of energy subsidies – an outcome that threatens to increase electricity shortages in coming winters. More than 2,000 megawatts of generating capacity – the equivalent of two nuclear reactors – could be thrown into doubt if the subsidies which incentivised them are withdrawn, according to investors behind some of the projects. Small gas and diesel-fired plants – each generating up to 20MW of electricity – have become an important part of the UK energy mix as old coal and nuclear plants shut down. Their growth has been aided by lucrative payments for generating at times of peak demand without the hefty transmission charges faced by large power stations. Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, announced a review of these incentives – known as embedded benefits – last July because of concern they were distorting the market. A provisional ruling is due early this year and Ofgem has signalled reform is likely. Small power plant developers say removal of embedded benefits would wreck the economic case for building many projects which National Grid, the UK electricity system operator, is counting on to maintain adequate capacity in the next five years.

FT 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Utilities

The term ‘utility death spiral’ has seen a re-emergence recently, especially in Australia. It originally began with a new era of competition as energy markets opened up and the rising costs of some utilities meant that consumers could switch to cheaper alternatives/sources, but still a perfect storm of requirements would be needed – inflexible pricing structures, large defections and the utilities unable to change their behaviour. Later it was the possibility of consumers generating their own power and disruptive competition – technological advancement combined with social need and policy and business development, however it was agreed that the rate design, and the fact that even with pv a consumer would need to be connected to the grid, meant that this ‘death spiral’, although something to be considered and acted upon would be unlikely to happen. Even in recent literature the idea of grid defection with the use of storage was seen as something that would happen in the distant future, but with the launch of Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 onto the Australian market in December 2016, with storage costs at a rate of $0.23 kWh, and with other companies such as Enphase, GCL Poly, Sonnen and RedFlow also fighting for their place in this growing market, it now makes it cheaper for householders in South Australia to generate and store their own electricity (Figure 1).

IGov 24th Jan 2017 read more »

France

The board of French utility EDF has fended off government pressure to close its Fessenheim nuclear plant, agreeing a temporary face-saving deal that will see the issue postponed until after France’s presidential election this spring. On Tuesday the board of EDF, which is 85 per cent state owned, approved a €490m compensation package for the closure of Fessenheim — a deal agreed between EDF management and the French government in August. But EDF said the final green light to close the reactors would be made only once the government permits the company to continue building a new reactor at Flamanville, in northern France, and prolongs the life of the idle Paluel-2 reactor.

FT 24th Jan 2017 read more »

EDF has voted to begin the process of closing France’s oldest nuclear power station after pressure from Germany and a law capping the country’s reliance on atomic power. The French energy firm’s board approved plans on Tuesday to close the 39-year old Fessenheim plant in north-east France, near the German border, allaying fears that the company, which is 85%-state owned, would drag its heels until President François Hollande left office later this year. Hollande had promised in his manifesto to shut the site in an effort to build an alliance with the Green party. Fessenheim has also been the subject of complaints about safety from the German and Swiss governments. Unions said they were pleased that the plant, which had been slated for closure as early as 2016, would stay open for another year. “For us it’s a good decision. We consider it a victory because the closure has been delayed until 2018,” said Marie-Claire Cailletaud, a spokeswoman for the CGT union, which represents workers. Experts said that if the centre right won power from the Socialist-Green coalition in presidential elections this April, the target of reducing nuclear to 50% of electricity generation could be watered down.

Guardian 24th Jan 2017 read more »

France on Tuesday took a key step towards shutting down its oldest nuclear power station, a campaign promise of Socialist President Francois Hollande, just months before he leaves office. The board of state-owned electricity utility EDF approved a compensation package worth at least 400 million euros ($430 million) for the shutdown of the Fessenheim nuclear plant, a source close to the matter said.

France24 24th Jan 2017 read more »

The road will still be long and tortuous, but the closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant (Haut-Rhin) now seems inevitable. The board of directors of EDF approved on Tuesday January 24 the compensation agreement in exchange for the shutdown of the oldest power plant in France, commissioned in 1977. The electricity group will receive 490 million euros by 2021 from the state to offset the revenue losses of the two nuclear reactors. There is also a variable part to compensate for any shortfalls until 2041.

Le Monde 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

Two nuclear submarines collided off the coast of Britain at the height of the Cold War in an incident that was covered up for more than 40 years, an official CIA document has revealed. The crash between an American submarine carrying 160 nuclear warheads and a Soviet vessel was so serious that it could have led to a third world war, one expert claimed. The incident took place in shallow waters near Holy Loch, Argyll, about 30 miles from Glasgow. The US maintained a nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch between 1961 and 1992.

Times 25th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables

Fashion designer and climate campaigner Vivienne Westwood has called on the fashion industry to set the trend in switching to green energy – with the goal of getting half of Britain powered by renewable energy. Vivienne Westwood is now powering her fashion business with green energy and is campaigning for the fashion industry and the public to switch away from dirty fossil fuels, even naming her Autumn-Winter 2017-18 Vivienne Westwood show at London Fashion Week as ‘Ecotricity’. Westwood said: “We must all demand a fast transition to clean energy. We require a Green Economy for human life to remain sustainable and flourish. It is so ridiculously easy to switch to green energy.” The majority of premises run by Vivienne Westwood within the UK have now transitioned to green energy and green gas with Ecotricity, and the UK company aims to be entirely supplied by Ecotricity by next year.

Scottish Energy News 23rd Jan 2017 read more »

Business Green 23rd Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – tidal

An ambitious plan to build a dual carriageway across Morecambe Bay has been backed by a government-funded review into tidal energy. The Hendry Report mentioned an £8.6bn tidal barrage gateway from Heysham to Cumbria as a project with “potential”. North West Energy Squared, the company behind the scheme, says the project could create 10,000 jobs, generate green electricity for homes and reduce road journey times. But David Morris, MP for Morecambe, says he’s been told tidal barrages across the bay are “not possible”.

Lancaster Guardian 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – solar

A waste management firm has saved 361 tonnes of CO2 in nine months following the delivery of a 1000KW solar retrofit project at its plant in East London. Bywaters installed the 700MWh solar panel array on the roof of its main facility in Bow last February. The array provides most of the power needed for Bywaters’ 650,000 tonnes per annum materials recovery factory, making the company nearly self-sufficient. Meanwhile, London’s South Bank Tower is expected to save around 11,850 kg of C02 after a 100-panel, 26 kilowatt-peak (kWp) solar PV system was installed on the roof of the newly-developed skyscraper. And Europe’s biggest ever floating solar array was recently installed on the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, just south of the River Thames.

Edie 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – offshore wind

The cost of electricity produced by offshore wind turbines has fallen by a third in just four years, according to a new report. The analysis, by Dong Energy and other firms, found that the average cost during 2015/16 was £97 per megawatt hour (mwh), according to the Financial Times. In 2012, the industry was asked by the UK Government to reduce prices to £100 per mwh within eight years, but the target has been reached in about half that time. The controversial plan to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant involved a Government commitment to a guaranteed ‘strike price’ of £92.50 per mwh at 2012 prices over a period of 35 years. Inflation means this price is worth over £100 today.

Independent 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Scotsman 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Demand Management

Illustrating the potential role of combined heat and power in balancing variable renewables an arms-length council-owed district heating company in Gateshead is set to boost its projected life-time income by nearly £1 million after signing up to a power demand-response scheme run by Flextricity based in Edinburgh. The Gateshead District Energy Scheme, which is currently being commissioned, and will be fully operational by mid-2017, has become part of Flexitricity’s demand response network netting the company more than £60,000 per year over the next 15 years for smoothing out peaks and troughs in national electricity demand.

Scottish Energy News 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Business Green 24th Jan 2017 read more »

Fossil Fuels

People living around Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road near Blackpool say they are horrified to learn that there has been no independent testing for the radioactive gas, radon. The British Geological Survey (BGS) has been surveying water and air quality, greenhouse gases, seismicity, ground motion and carbon dioxide in soil around the site at Little Plumpton. But the organisation confirmed to DrillOrDrop that there has been no monitoring of radon in the air or homes, before operations begin at Preston New Road. It also said it was not aware of any radon monitoring in the area by other organisations. A similar project near Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, has been monitoring for radon. It received a grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). But the BGS confirmed there has been no direct government funding for the Lancashire monitoring.

Drill or Drop 24th Jan 2017 read more »

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Published: 25 January 2017