25 June 2015

Hinkley

The Austrian government has announced its intention to take the commission to the European court of justice over state subsidies for UK-based two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. The UK government plans to finance the EDF Energy-developed reactor through subsidies amounting to €130 for each megawatt-hour of power generated over a period of 35 years – an amount which is twice the current market price for electricity. The subsidies – which Austria considers to be competition distorting, illegal state aid – are to be funded through levies on consumer bills. Austria has no nuclear power plants itself and plans to file the case on Monday in what chancellor Werner Faymann said “is also of symbolic value against nuclear power”. UK Greens MEP Molly Scott Cato welcomed the move, saying, “The Austrian government recognises that the European commission is in breach of its own rules on state aid and this cannot be left unchallenged.

Parliament 24th June 2015 read more »

Smiling Sun

PARTICK THISTLE have been urged to bin their new mascot just days after launching it because of its “strong resemblance” to a famous anti-nuclear logo. Siegfried Christiansen, of OOA Fonden (Organisation for Information on Nuclear Power), said: “The logo has a strong resemblance to the smiling sun logo of the anti-nuclear movement. “We strongly regret and feel offended by the design by the prize-winning artist David Shrigley. One would not have expected from a serious artist cheaply to use a design world famous in a rather different context. It is furthermore most disappointing that the American-based Kingsford Capital Management has decided to financially support this kind of intellectual infringement.” The Smiling Sun was created by Danish activist Anne Lund in 1975 as a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement. It features a sun circled by the words “Nuclear Power? No Thanks” and has been translated into more than 45 different languages and spread across the globe.

Scotsman 25th June 2015 read more »

Daily Record 24th June 2015 read more »

Radhealth

A legal judgment in Australia has fatally damaged the ‘official’ ICRP model of health damage by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby – reflecting the fact that cancer originates through the mutation of individual cells, not whole organs or organisms. The ruling is good news for Britain’s bomb test veterans whose day in court is coming up; and for all who suffer radiation induced cancers.

Ecologist 24th June 2015 read more »

Global Nuclear

Global nuclear output rose for first time since Japan’s Fukushima accident in 2014. That’s according to new report, which showed world nuclear generation in 2014 rose 1% compared to 2013. That’s the first annual gain since the 2011 accident. The disaster curbed global nuclear output sharply, according to the report.

Energy Live News 24th June 2015 read more »

France

Greenpeace France has launched a WISE-Paris report which discussed the root causes of the crisis of the French nuclear industry and calls for an urgent change of industrial strategy, “Nucléaire français : l’impasse industrielle”. The main line of the report is as follows: the French nuclear industry has pursued for the past 15 years at least a strategy of international expansion to cover predictably increasing costs at home; this strategy turned into a big failure, including the EPR disaster in Olkiluoto and the loss of almost all foreign reprocessing contracts; meanwhile, nuclear energy definitely lost the competition with renewables for the development of low-carbon electric supply; altogether, the French nuclear industry lost the race for the remaining new reactors market; at the same time, problems arose as forecasted in France, which not only affects the fragile Areva, but also threatens the seemingly more robust EDF (facing increasing costs, decreasing market, and narrowing profitability); the doubtless continuation of the same strategy over the years now results in the combination of huge international losses and huge domestic costs, and pursuing the dream of an international relaunch will only deepen the crisis; while it keeps to this dream, the French industry misses the huge opportunity of the massive expansion of renewables worldwide, to the detriment of its economy; the time is no more for a mere reshuffle of the nuclear industry (breaking Areva into parts, reinjecting cash…) but for a deep redirecting, both of the industry towards new energies and of the nuclear industry towards servicing existing capacity and starting to dismantle it.

Greenpeace 24th June 2015 read more »

[Machine Translation] The difficulties of Areva and weak post-Fukushima nuclear market (excluding China) valid in the eyes of the opponents of civil atom, their analysis: this sector is declining in the world and it can no longer set themselves up as the industrial model in France. This is the conclusion of the report of Wise Paris (World Information Service on Energy), published Wednesday, June 24 Commissioned by Greenpeace France, entitled “French Nuclear: industrial impasse”, the document of 72 pages underlines the failure of the internationalization strategy launched fifteen years ago, including the creation of Areva by merging Cogema (nuclear materials) and Framatome (reactors and services).

Le Monde 24th June 2015 read more »

Saudi Arabia

France and Saudi Arabia agreed on Wednesday to press ahead with feasibility studies to build two flagship Areva-designed EPR nuclear reactors as the two allies firm up business ties amid tensions across the region. The countries set up a joint committee in May to finalize some 20 projects across sectors ranging from defense to transport infrastructure and civil aviation over the coming months worth billions of euros.

Reuters 24th June 2015 read more »

Iran

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, made a speech last night to mark Ramadan, and to make a stand a few days before the June 30 deadline for completing a final, comprehensive deal with world powers on his country’s nuclear programme. As is his wont, Khamenei framed the issue in terms of Iranian defiance in the face of an American-led campaign to destroy the country’s nuclear programme and thereby hobble Iran as a regional power. But he also went into detail, setting down apparent red lines on what Iran would accept. What has drawn attention is that his remarks seem to contradict parts of the provisional outline deal clinched in Lausanne at the beginning of April, as a waystation to a comprehensive agreement due to be finalised on Tuesday.

Guardian 24th June 2015 read more »

Trident

The way David Cameron uses his backing for Trident replacement to appear “tough on defence”, one would be forgiven for thinking that the military is four-square behind the Conservatives. But a new report shows that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact – across the armed forces – there are grave concerns that Britain’s nuclear weapons system neither addresses the real security threats facing Britain, nor represents value for money.

New Statesman 24th June 2015 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

Nato, in an echo of the cold war, is preparing to re-evaluate its nuclear weapons strategy in response to growing tension with Russia over Ukraine, sources at the organisation have said. Updating Nato’s nuclear policy would amount to an escalation in tit-for-tat exchanges with Russia since the Ukraine crisis erupted last year. Expressing concern over President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last week that Russia was to buy 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, Nato officials also said there was alarm over Russian rhetoric on nuclear weapons and the extent to which such weapons are involved in military exercises.

Guardian 24th June 2015 read more »

Renewables – onshore wind

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has invited his UK counterpart to Scotland to discuss the impact of the UK Government’s decision to end onshore wind subsidies under the Renewables Obligation. During a meeting with British Energy Secretary Amber Rudd in London this morning, Ewing invited her to Scotland to meet with developers and communities who have invested significant amounts of money in renewables schemes and have now found the goal posts have been moved. “Replacing onshore wind with more expensive technologies could cost consumers two to three billion pounds more. That’s the clear warning from Keith Anderson of Scottish Power.”

Scottish Energy News 25th June 2015 read more »

The UK’s decision to stop subsidising new onshore wind farms will make it harder to meet renewable energy targets, the EU’s climate chief says. Miguel Arias Canete said the EU had already calculated that the UK was not on track to meet legally binding goals. Asked by BBC News if the wind decision would make the task harder he replied: “Of course”. His officials have expressed bemusement at the decision to end subsidies for onshore wind energy a year early. They said onshore wind was by far the cheapest way to hit the target of 15% of all energy from renewables from 2020. The SNP estimate the change will cost bill payers up to three billion pounds. After a media briefing on climate policy at the European Commission, one official told the BBC the decision was “mind-boggling in an economy that’s supposedly price sensitive.” The official said the EU would not interfere in the UK’s energy choices, but expressed doubt whether it would achieve renewables targets without more onshore wind, and whether future energy subsidy auctions in the UK would breach EU state aid rules if nuclear was included and onshore wind barred.

BBC 24th June 2015 read more »

Ministers from Westminster and Holyrood will hold diplomatic talks this autumn to discuss future funding for UK onshore wind farm projects. The new energy and climate change secretary, Amber Rudd, will meet her Holyrood counterpart, Fergus Ewing, to debate the Conservative government’s decision to end subsidies for key onshore renewable energy projects. The end of state support for wind farms was one of the Conservatives’ promises in their recent election manifesto. The Scottish Government claims the move will disproportionately affect businesses and allied jobs and want either an opt-out or special dispensation for projects north of the border. The two ministers agreed to extend their discussions at the Global Offshore Wind 2015 conference in London’s ExCel. Onshore wind farms will be excluded from a new subsidy regime that begins in April next year.

Independent 25th June 2015 read more »

THE Scottish and Westminster governments remain on a collision course over the Tories’ decision to bring forward by a year the end to subsidies for the onshore wind industry. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing met Amber Rudd, the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, in London yesterday morning and invited her to Scotland to discuss the impact of the UK Government’s decision to end onshore wind subsidies under the Renewables Obligation (RO). A spokesman for Rudd said last night that the minister had accepted the invitation and would meet Ewing in Scotland later in the year. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also written to the Prime Minister asking him to “look again at the impact these proposals will have on the Scottish and the wider UK economy and find an alternative approach.” But Cameron was certainly in no mood for conciliation at Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday. When SNP Trade and Investment spokesperson and National columnist Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh said that last week’s announcement had signalled that Scotland was “closed” for renewable energy investment, Cameron replied: “If Scotland wasn’t part of the United Kingdom there wouldn’t be this access to the UK energy market.

The National 25th June 2015 read more »

Today’s entry reports on more government measures to restrict onshore wind developments. In the last week, two Secretaries of State have announced steps to make it more difficult for onshore wind projects to be granted consent.

BDB Law 24th June 2015 read more »

Renewable energy developer Scottish Power is in talks with government to avoid losing almost 1 GW of planned onshore wind investment if energy secretary Amber Rudd blocks the technology from the Contracts for Difference (CfD) regime.

Utility Week 24th June 2015 read more »

Renewables – offshore wind

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has warned that subsidies for offshore wind will need to be “progressively reduced” in order to keep the public on board with the UK’s decarbonisation goals. Giving the keynote address at RenewableUK’s offshore wind conference today (24 June), Rudd praised the progress the technology has made in the last 15 years, but warned “there is no bottomless pit of bill payer support for low carbon”. She said: “Government support must help technologies eventually stand on their own two feet, not to encourage a permanent reliance on subsidy. Cost must come down, subsidies must be progressively reduced.

Edie 24th June 2015 read more »

The Renewable UK trade association has published a new document which makes a case for Government to continue its support for offshore wind, outlining specific actions that Ministers could take to ensure expansion. The report, “Our Offshore Energy Future – Actions for Growth”, highlights a series of key achievements and future developments. The industry has reduced costs by 11% in the last 5 years and is on target to drive costs down to £100 per megawatt hour by 2020. Offshore wind is set to be cost-competitive with new nuclear by the mid-2020s. The industry has committed to ensuring that at least 50% of the content of offshore wind farms is made in the UK. 13,000 people depend on the sector for their livelihoods. At least 4.7 gigawatts (GW) will be added over the next 5 years, representing investment of £16-20 billion.

Scottish Energy News 25th June 2015 read more »

SCOTLAND could become the global leader in the emerging floating wind industry, according to a new report for the Scottish Government. The study, carried out by the Carbon Trust, suggests floating wind turbines are particularly well-suited to Scotland because of high wind speeds, plentiful deep-water sites close to shore and energy sector infrastructure. “One of our hypotheses is that floating wind can actually develop quicker if Scotland does take a leading role,” said Carbon Trust analyst and lead author Rhodri James. “Scotland could very much be at the front of that – it could help commercialise the technology, which will open up opportunities around the world to export that expertise and products as well.” Floating turbines can be used in waters that are too deep for bottom-mounted towers. But despite having the highest fixed offshore wind capacity, the UK curr ently has no floating wind turbines installed. However, there are three demonstration projects in the pipeline, all in Scotland. Construction is set to begin on the first, off the coast of Peterhead, next year. The five-turbine scheme is due for completion in 2017 and could become the world’s first floating wind farm. Two more pilot schemes, near Kincardine and Dounreay, are planned for 2018.

Scotsman 25th June 2015 read more »

Renewables – solar

A UK metalwork manufacturer expects to save £170,000 on its energy bills after installing a 28.5kWp solar PV array on the roof of its Leicestershire factory. F1 Manufacturing estimates the panels will generate over 24,000 kWh annually, saving an estimated 243 tonnes of carbon during their 20 year life span. During this time, the company will also enjoy energy savings of over £100,000 in addition to generating more than £73,000 via the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme.

Edie 24th June 2015 read more »

Global power generation will experience five dominant trends over the next 25 years, putting unprecedented pressure on energy companies, utilities and policy-makers, according to the New Energy Outlook 2015, published today. NEO 2015 is Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest annual long-term forecast for global power, based on detailed analysis country-by-country and technology-by-technology of electricity demand, costs of generation and structural changes in the electricity system. It draws on the expertise of more than 100 analysts and researchers around the world specialising in the energy transition. It identifies the following five major shifts that will take place between now and 2040 including: The further decline in the cost of photovoltaic technology will drive a $3.7 trillion surge in investment in solar, both large-scale and small-scale and some $2.2 trillion of this will go on rooftop and other local PV systems, handing consumers and businesses the ability to generate their own electricity, to store it using batteries and – in parts of the developing world – to access power for the first time; The march of energy-efficient technologies in areas such as lighting and air conditioning will help to limit growth in global power demand;

Bloomberg 23rd June 2015 read more »

Renewable Heat

Edinburgh-based UK Green Investment Bank and Equitix have invested £4 million for a series of sewage-heat recovery system installations across Scotland. This is the first time this technology, developed by SHARC Energy Systems, will be deployed in the UK. The pilot project will see heat extracted from waste water intercepted from Scottish Water’s Galashiels network. The heat will then be sold to Borders College under a 20-year purchase agreement resulting in energy and cost savings and a reduction in carbon emissions.

Scottish Energy News 25th June 2015 read more »

Green Investment Bank

The UK is poised to announce the sale of a large stake in the Green Investment Bank, set up by the former coalition government to invest in environmentally friendly infrastructure projects. Sajid Javid, the business secretary, will use a speech at the group’s annual review in London on Thursday to set out a range of options for the part-privatisation of the GIB. The move is part of the broader Conservative programme to sell off government assets to help to pay down the deficit, including stakes in Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Royal Mail.

FT 25th June 2015 read more »

Telegraph 25th June 2015 read more »

E3G, the thinktank that developed the i dea for the bank, said selling a majority stake would cast doubt on the government’s commitment to a low-carbon economy, deterring private investment in green schemes. It also warned that the bank’s green remit could be diluted by greater demands for profits. Nick Mabey, chief executive of E3G, said: “Selling off a majority stake in the Green Investment Bank would be completely reckless. The Green Investment Bank is not just the government’s most lauded innovation in the war against climate change. It has kept investment in the real economy going at a time when bank lending had fallen to an all-time low. It has played a critical role in supporting the UK economic recovery.” David Powell, senior economics campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Releasing the Green Investment Bank from the Chancellor’s penny-pinching clutches may be a small mercy – his refusal to let it borrow money underlined his green-bashing reputation. But privatising the bank could be a catastrophe without clear new rules in law to force it to invest in genuinely clean technology, whoever owns it.”

Guardian 24th June 2015 read more »

Grid

Scottish Power Transmission has asked customers to the foot the £27m bill for a network innovation which it says will avoid the need for future upgrades and ultimately cut costs. Ofgem is consulting on the £27.13 million bid to fund a new conductor through its Innovation Rollout Mechanism. If it approves the bid, customers across the UK will pay for the innovation through the transmission charge, which is collected by National Grid through customers’ energy bills. Scottish Power would pay the remainder of the £44m project cost through its existing regulatory settlement. The company said the project would allow it to “avoid completely rebuilding parts of the network” and claimed that it is “cheaper and will deliver capacity earlier” than the current business-as-usual method. It also said the use of novel conductor technology will “deliver environmental benefits” because less steel and concrete will be needed compared with rebuilding the line using current methods to deliver higher capacity.

Utility Week 24th June 2015 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Natural gas has been touted as an environmentally friendly substitute to coal and oil production, but a new report estimates enough gas is leaking to negate most of the climate benefits of process. The report, commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund and carried out by environmental consulting group ICF International, estimated the amount of leaks from natural gas and oil production on federal and tribal land in the US. It also looked at venting and flaring, processes in which drilling sites purposefully let gas go into the atmosphere for a variety of reasons – usually for safety. The claim that natural gas is environmentally friendly hinges on how much methane leaks into the atmosphere during the production process. But the EDF report adds weight to those who say methane leaks at natural gas sites can make the process nearly or as carbon-intensive as coal.

Guardian 24th June 2015 read more »

Lancashire county council has once again deferred its decision on whether to approve the UK’s first full scale fracking. A decision will now be taken on Monday on whether to allow fracking for shale gas on a site at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton on the Fylde Coast. Lancashire has been at the forefront of the UK’s nascent shale gas industry, an issue that has divided opinion in the county. Last week the council’s planning officers recommended the energy company Cuadrilla be granted permission drill at four exploration wells on the site, subject to a number of conditions being met, such as hours o f working, control of noise and highway matters. A separate application would be required if Cuadrilla wishes to progress to commercial fracking. But after a tense and often baffling day in county hall in Preston on Wednesday, councillors agreed – to loud boos and heckles – to defer a decision on the application until Monday. Earlier in the day it had appeared the panel was minded to reject the proposal, prompting cries of jubilation among 100 or so protesters gathered outside.

Guardian 24th June 2015 read more »

Independent 25th June 2015 read more »

Britain, still overly reliant on burning coal for its energy, must keep its options open, especially at a time when geopolitical stability precludes long-term reliance on foreign imports. Fracking, for all that it requires close monitoring, should not be off limits indefinitely. Not only does it produce, in natural gas, a preferable alternative to coal, but new operations will create much-needed employment. The Prime Minister has previously argued that tapping shale for gas could bring up to 74,000 jobs and £3bn of investment. That may be optimistic, but it gives an indication of what is at stake. Even so, no solution that relies on fossil fuels alone is a long-term answer to our energy needs, let alone global environmental pressures. So while Cuadrilla may succeed at Little Plumpton, the Government must continue to support research into renewable alternatives.

Independent 25th June 2015 read more »

FRACKING is a controversial subject and the Daily Record gave you the chance to quiz a boss of the company bidding to open up areas of Scotland to shale gas extraction. Tom Pickering of Ineos answered you questions live on the Daily Record’s Facebook page and you can read every question and answer right here.

Daily Record 24th June 2015 read more »

Climate

A court in the Netherlands has ordered the Dutch government to speed up plans to cut carbon emissions by 2020 – the first time a court has issued such a ruling. The Dutch government must cut emissions to 25 per cent below 1990-levels by the end of the decade according to the ruling, which opens the door to similar lawsuits in other countries. The decision marked the first time that a European country’s domestic court had demanded action to accelerate curbs to climate change at a faster rate than internationally agreed treaties. Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch MEP, said: “This historic ruling will have far reaching consequences in the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world.” The Hague court based its ruling in part on a report by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that called for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels. At the moment, Dutch policy targets a level 17 per cent lower.

FT 25th June 2015 read more »

Guardian 24th June 2015 read more »

Lawyers say the precedent it sets could trigger similar cases all around the world. Already, in Belgium, 8, 000 citizens are preparing for a similar court case, with others pointing to another possible lawsuit in Norway. Although the case is only binding within the Netherlands, lawyers say that it will inspire lawyers and judges considering similar cases in many other countries.

Guardian 24th June 2015 read more »

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Published: 25 June 2015