ScottishPower has reignited the row over who is to blame for rising energy bills after reporting the costs of government energy efficiency schemes had more than doubled since last year. Keith Anderson, the energy giant’s boss, said the government had got its sums wrong over the costs of implementing its new “Energy Company Obligation” (ECO) programme – and refused to rule out raising prices as a result. Analysts warned that suppliers were likely to increase prices by a “high single digits” percentage before winter, due to rising costs from the schemes as well as wind farm subsidies, the new carbon tax and network upgrade costs. ScottishPower said yesterday the costs of implementing energy efficiency schemes had risen by 137.7pc, to €155.8m (£134.3m) for the first half of the year.
Telegraph 24th July 2013 read more »
The boss of one of Britain’s biggest energy companies has warned that the Government’s new plan to stave off the growing threat of blackouts could increase the risk of the lights going out. Under the plan announced this month, the owners of mothballed power plants would be offered lucrative subsidies to rush them back into action during times of peak demand. But Keith Anderson, the chief corporate officer of Scottish Power, said that energy companies could deliberately mothball plants that they would otherwise have kept open to make them eligible for the payments. This would cut Britain’s precariously thin spare generating margin even further.
Times 25th July 2013 read more »
With an agreement on nuclear strike prices expected soon, nuclear construction plans in the UK look likely to move up a gear. If you want to find out about progress on upcoming nuclear construction projects in the UK then do not bother asking the main protagonists. With EDF Energy and the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) still locked in delicate discussions over a strike price for power from new nuclear plants, neither party is willing to go on the record. In actual fact, though, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the prospects for nuclear new build in the UK. Kirsty Alexander, head of communications at the UK Nuclear Industry Association, says the Government cannot afford to hurry its strike price deliberations. “There’s a balance to be struck,” she says. “This is why it is probably taking so long.
Nuclear Energy Insider 24th July 2013 read more »
Letter WWF: Tim Montgomerie (“The greens can’t defy gravity. They’re finished”, July 22) overlooks a crucial reality: climate change will cause economic and social injustice on a huge scale. The scientific evidence shows that we risk seeing global temperatures rise by more than 2°C, which will bring huge economic and social consequences, especially for the poorest countries which are least able to deal with a changing climate. We can’t negotiate with physics. Delaying action would also be a false economy; as the International Energy Agency recently pointed out, “for every $1 of investment avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.3 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”
Times 24th July 2013 read more »
Much of the debate about low-carbon energy innovation focuses quite narrowly on innovation policy. This is important, and is discussed in the first part of the review. However, some of the more interesting insights about innovation in economics come from consideration of the wider context for innovation. In particular, there are important literatures on market structure and innovation, on increasing returns and technology adoption, and on institutions and innovation. The paper concludes with a research agenda for understanding differential comparative performance in innovation in sustainable energy, and for how to accelerate such innovation in the UK.
IGov 24th July 2013 read more »
Contrary to media reports, the European Commission has no plans to encourage state aid for nuclear power or to make it easier for Member States to grant such aid. There are currently no specific guidelines on state aid in the energy sector, only guidelines on state aid for environmental protection. The fact that there are no specific guidelines in the energy sector does not mean that any state aid to the energy sector which is not covered by the provisions of the environmental guidelines is currently prohibited in the EU. Rather it means that this aid is assessed by the Commission under the general Treaty rules on state aid.
European Commission 24th July 2013 read more »
Germany is considered one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world – but it wants to do more. Decarbonising one of the world’s biggest industrial economies is no small task, and as Germany’s government pushes ahead with sweeping policy reforms, the world is watching to see whether the Germans can pull it off. Germany’s strong green political tradition, combined with public support for nuclear decommissioning, may have laid the foundations for public acceptance of the sweeping reforms – but it won’t guarantee that they can be enacted. Manufacturing sector profits and benefits for communities who invest in the renewables transition have helped maintain support for the energiewende. But there has been a backlash in both the German and English-speaking media as critics question whether or not the policies are being rolled out in the most cost-effective way. The energiewende is still in its early stages and is being adjusted as it develops. Merkel’s government still appears to be committed to the transformation, though with September’s elections looming, the expense is making some politicians nervous. The energiewende’s ambition is undoubtable. But despite Germany’s clear commitment to long-term environmental policy, there are still plenty of obstacles to overcome.
Carbon Brief 24th July 2013 read more »
The Greens are currently standing at between 14 per cent and 17 per cent in the national polls, several points above their record 10.7 per cent achieved in the last federal elections of 2009. Since their participation in the federal government came to an end in 2005, the Greens have managed to consolidate their position in German politics (as shown in Figure 1 below). Following the nuclear accident at Fukushima in March 2011, green electoral support rose to unprecedented levels, with their national poll rating topping 20 per cent. In Baden-Württemberg, the Greens beat the SPD into second place for the first time in any state election, resulting in the first ‘green-red’ government led by a Green state prime minister, Winfried Kretschmann. With electoral successes also in East Germany, the Greens are since 2011 represented in all 16 German regional parliaments for the first time. In six of these states (Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Schleswig-Holstein) representing 54 per cent of the German population, the Greens are in power together with the SPD. The Greens are also benefitting from a rapid rise in party members, with the total number of members passing the 60,000 mark in February.
LSE Blog 12th March 2013 read more »
TEPCO, the owner of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, has admitted that the damaged reactors are leaking highly toxic radioactive contamination into the Pacific Ocean – confirming what many of us had feared for some time. Backtracking on previous denials, TEPCO’s statement comes, coincidentally, just a day after the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cemented its hold on power with a big win in parliamentary elections last Sunday.
Greenpeace 24th July 2013 read more »
Japanese researchers say the cost of cleaning up from the Fukushima nuclear disaster could top $50bn (£32.6bn), more than four times the amount allocated by the government. The figure does not include compensation for those affected by the explosion and the subsequent fallout, or the multibillion-dollar price tag for decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which the government and regulators say will take at least 40 years to complete.
Independent 24th July 2013 read more »
Japan’s future LNG consumption is unclear after its coalition government gained control of the upper and lower houses of parliament on 21 July. Prime minister Shinzo Abe is likely to use the victory to push through his proposed power market reforms, which will increase the country’s competitiveness in the global market and could result in higher LNG imports. But Abe has also hinted that he will look to bring more of Japan’s shuttered nuclear fleet back on line, which could reduce the need for LNG for power generation.
Argus Media 24th July 2013 read more »
A new nuclear cooperation agreement struck between South Africa and the European Union (EU) will support joint nuclear research and could help open access to South Africa’s uranium resources.
World Nuclear News 24th July 2013 read more »
More than a half century after US nuclear tests shattered the tranquility of Pacific Ocean atolls — rendering parts of them uninhabitable – the US government has quietly released secret fallout results from 49 Pacific hydrogen-bomb blasts with an explosive force equal to 3,200 Hiroshima-size bombs. The US government turned over to the Republic of the Marshall Islands 650-plus pages of newly declassified documents that include four reports detailing fallout results of 49 tests it conducted in Operation Redwing in 1956 and Operation Hardtack in 1958 at Bikini and Enewetak atolls, according to a three-paragraph press release posted on the web site of the US Embassy in the capital city of Majuro on June 12.
Middle East Online 24th July 2013 read more »
46 social landlords across Great Britain have been awarded a share of £7million to get renewable heating into the homes of their social tenants, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced today. The winners in Scotland are mostly for Air Source Heat Pumps (Argyll Community Housing AssociationCairn Housing Association Dumfries & Galloway H.P.East Lothian Council Hebridean Housing Margaret Blackwood HA) and Biomass Heating Systems for Hughland Council.
DECC 24th July 2013 read more »
Business Green 25th July 2013 read more »
Ceramic Fuels Cells Ltd (CFCL) has launched a new initiative called ‘free BlueGEN’, which will see its fuel cell micro-CHP systems installed for free in the UK.
COSPP 22nd July 2013 read more »
Fuel Cell Today 23rd July 2013 read more »
Squads of insulators and energy-efficiency experts are to be sent house to house around the UK, in the latest stage of the government’s bid to plug the gaps in Britain’s leaky homes and curb rising bills. Sending installers out to properties street by street is thought to be the most effective way to get people to sign up for improvements that will save energy and carbon emissions as part of the green deal, the coalition’s flagship home energy efficiency package which aims to transform millions of houses.
Guardian 25th July 2013 read more »
The work I looked at suggested an average of about 0.81 bcf (billion cubic feet) of gas extracted per well but the US Geological survey can be cut several ways. Looking at the general averages gives about 1.25 bcf per well, a recent UK Institute of directors report (funded by Cuadrilla) came up with an improbable average production per well of 3.2 bcf. So I’ve taken a low average and a medium average as my estimate points – the 0.81bcf, and point double that (1.62bcf per well) – more than the US geological survey average, but half the IoD sum. So how might those figures translate into possible well numbers when set against recent claims? Wells, as I pointed out in the Parliamentary debate, would be grouped into double, football-pitch-sized ‘pads’ perhaps containing six wells each. This would mean a ‘lowest case’ scenario (10% UK gas requirement higher output per well) of about two pads per constituency to a barely imaginable ‘highest case’ scenario (10% exploitation of overall reserves, lower average estimate output per well) of fifty or more pads per constituency. My estimate in Parliament of 18 pads per constituency was somewhere between the two.
Alan Whitehead MP 24th July 2013 read more »
The European investment bank (EIB), the EU’s main lending arm, said it would stop financing most coal-fired power stations to help the 28-nation bloc reduce pollution and meet its climate targets. New and refurbished coal-fired power plants will not be eligible for funding unless they emit less than 550 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (gCO2/kW), the EIB said on Wednesday, which could be met either by a combined heat and power plant or one that also burns biomass.
Guardian 24th July 2013 read more »
A new paper in the journal Nature argues that the release of a 50 Gigatonne (Gt) methane pulse from thawing Arctic permafrost could destabilise the climate system and trigger costs as high as the value of the entire world’s GDP.
Guardian 24th July 2013 read more »
Methane gas is one of the wildest of wild cards in the game of trying to assess future climate change. But among the many uncertainties, scientists know two things for sure: there is a vast amount of methane stored in the Arctic region, and if it were to be suddenly released into the atmosphere, it could dramatically change the global climate. The latest study, it has to be said, is only the first, tentative stab at trying to assess the economic impacts of a sudden methane release from the Arctic. Unlike the usual peer-reviewed research papers in Nature, this one was clearly published under the rubric of“ comment”.
Independent 24th July 2013 read more »