25 March 2013

Energy Supplies

The Sunday Telegraph warned in this column of the problems of an energy policy that puts expensive, inefficient green power before coal-fired and nuclear power. There have been a few signs that the Coalition is at last turning its attentions to the issue but, still, not nearly enough has been done. Now we are reaping the consequences. Because of a misguided faith in green energy, we have left ourselves far too dependent on foreign gas supplies, largely provided by Russian and Middle Eastern producers. Only 45 per cent of our gas consumption comes from domestic sources. All it takes is a spell of bad weather, and the closure of a gas pipeline from Belgium, to leave us dangerously exposed, and to send gas prices soaring. Talk of rationing may be exaggerated, but our energy policy is failing to deal with Britain’s fundamental incapacity to produce our own power. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, may have granted planning permission this week to a new nuclear power station, Hinkley Point in Somerset. But one nuclear power station, with two new reactors, isn’t nearly enough. Moreover, it will take a decade to build and, even then, will only provide seven per cent of the country’s energy needs. It is time for the Coalition to tear up its energy policy before the lights really do go out. The first priority must be to repeal the Climate Change Act of 2008, with its brutal, punishing targets: reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and 26 per cent by 2020. These targets have already had a disastrous effect, forcing the closure of coal-fired power stations, and increasing tax-funded subsidies on wind power. Next month, electricity bills will soar even higher, thanks to a new tax on carbon dioxide produced by coal-fired and gas-fired power stations.

Telegraph 23rd March 2013 read more »


Following the very exciting news out this week that planning consent for the multi-billion pound nuclear power project at Hinkley Point C has been granted by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, we thought it would be worth rounding-up a few reactions from industry and government.

Nuclear Insider 20th March 2013 read more »


To commemorate the 750th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Largs, EDF Energy, the owners of Hunterston ‘B’, will make sure that the Pencil monument will be illuminated. The long campaign to light up the Pencil monument, which is now 100 years old, has been running for many years, and EDF Energy have agreed to provide some of the resources, as well as funding from North Ayrshire Council, towards the overall exciting project.

Largs & Millport Weekly News 15th March 2013 read more »


Sellafield Ltd confirmed there was an interruption to water supplies.

Cumbria Crack 24th March 2013 read more »


Officers investigating the death of the Russian businessman and political powerbroker at his home in Ascot said they were “retaining an open mind” about how he died, but added that the crime scene showed “no signs of third-party involvement”. A handheld device which tests for background radiation – carried by one of the paramedics who were called to his mansion near Wentworth Park golf club – sounded on exiting the property. As a result, specialist chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear officers were called in to inspect the house for hazardous substances – but they found nothing and gave police the all clear to enter.

Independent 25th March 2013 read more »

Huffington Post 24th March 2013 read more »

Guardian 24th March 2013 read more »

Energy Supplies

Britain’s rapidly dwindling gas supplies will be boosted by the arrival of a giant tanker from the Arabian Gulf today, as the unseasonably severe March weather continues to place increasing demands on the National Grid.

Independent 25th March 2013 read more »

Guardian 24th March 2013 read more »

One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers, npower, is lobbying for the Government to slash help for small electricity and gas companies, claiming it gives them an unfair advantage. npower argues that the policies, which exempt small suppliers from costs worth almost £100 per household this year, are “distorting” the energy market. It has even called for major reforms, designed to make it easier for customers to compare and switch suppliers, to be halted until the “unjustified discrimination in favour of small suppliers” is cut.

Telegraph 24th March 2013 read more »

Energy suppliers are seeking incentives from the Government to increase gas storage capacity and provide a bigger cushion against price rises and shortages. Consumer groups are pressing for more storage reservoirs to reduce the risk of another cold winter stretching supplies and raising fears of rationing.

Telegraph 24th March 2013 read more »


The Scottish government’s latest plan to combat climate change, the second report on proposals and policies (RPP2), is due to be debated by MSPs in the parliament on Tuesday. The report is crucial because it is meant to demonstrate how ministers are going to meet agreed legal targets to cut carbon pollution. But according to the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition, RPP2 is founded on the mistaken assumption that the European Union (EU) is increasing its 2020 target for cutting emissions from 20% to 30%. Although the EU has offered to do that if other countries take action, it isn’t expected to make any move before 2016 at the earliest. As a result, even if the Scottish government successfully implements all its proposals and policies to cut pollution, it will miss its climate targets in 2014 and 2015. “Ministers are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the parliament with the current climate plan,” said SCCS chair, Tom Ballantine. RPP2 was required under climate law to show how the targets would be met but it had “a black hole at its centre”, he argued. “Europe cannot move as quickly as the government assumes so the current plan pretty much guarantees that Scotland will miss targets in at least 2014 and 2015, with several more failures very likely.”

Rob Edwards 24th March 2013 read more »

Profile of Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland: Small steps make a difference, but for change on a large scale, it requires Government action, which is why he wants supporters to keep up pressure on the Scottish Government. To ministers, his message is simple: “Make it possible for me to keep talking with pride globally about the great environmental targets Scotland has set itself, by actually delivering on them.”

Herald 25th March 2013 read more »


WE will need fossil fuels like oil and gas for the foreseeable future. So there’s really little choice (sigh). We have to press ahead with fracking for natural gas. We must approve the Keystone XL pipeline to get Canadian oil. This mantra, repeated on TV ads and in political debates, is punctuated with a tinge of inevitability and regret. But, increasingly, scientific research and the experience of other countries should prompt us to ask: To what extent will we really “need” fossil fuel in the years to come? To what extent is it a choice? “It’s absolutely not true that we need natural gas, coal or oil — we think it’s a myth,” said Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the main author of the study, published in the journal Energy Policy. “You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint. The biggest obstacles are social and political — what you need is the will to do it.”

New York Times 23rd March 2013 read more »


The Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, has raised the prospect that his party is privately negotiating to reopen the green energy deal signed by the coalition last autumn in an attempt to introduce carbon reduction targets for the energy sector. Lobbying has intensified over an amendment to the energy bill due to be tabled by Tim Yeo, the Conservative chairman of the energy select committee, calling for a decarbonisation target for the energy sector for 2030.

Guardian 24th March 2013 read more »


Published: 25 March 2013