Daily News Roundup

26 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidy

Contrary to recent media speculation, there is not yet an agreement between EDF Energy and the UK Government on a contract and price for electricity from the proposed Hinkley Point C power station. Negotiations are continuing which both sides have characterised as positive.

EDF Press Release 25th May 2013 read more »

EDF continues to negotiate with the government over taxpayer support for the £14bn project, which is already four years behind schedule. It is thought that the French company is close to agreeing terms that would see the Treasury guarantee a price roughly double the current power price for several decades. At the same time, EDF is closing in on a deal to bring in partners from the Middle East and China.

Sunday Times 26th May 2013 read more »

Nuclear Investment

EDF Energy and the Government have been scouring the globe looking for the investment needed to get the French group’s £14 billion Hinkley Point project started. China had been seen as the most likely white knight, and officials and bankers have been beating a path to Beijing. But with the cash-strapped group needing to sell a much bigger stake than planned — as much as 49 per cent — the prospect of the Chinese taking such a large chunk of the reactor project has alarmed politicians. The net has been cast wider, and the smart money is on oil-rich Abu Dhabi or Qatar stepping into the breach. While Europe dithers over nuclear, the United Arab Emirates began building its first of four reactors planned by 2020 last year. It recently signed an agreement with Japan to co-operate on nuclear energy, and could gain valuable expertise by being involved in Britain’s nuclear future. China may yet end up taking a minority stake with other investors, but it is no longer the only game in town. With the prospect of new investors and a deal on subsidies being reached, Hinkley Point’s prospects have brightened, but there is still a long way to go.

Times 25th May 2013 read more »

Torness

A NUCLEAR power plant that was shut down two years ago due to an influx of jellyfish has been switched off again because of a rising tide of seaweed. Engineers switched off the Torness power plant in Dunbar, East Lothian, on Thursday night after becoming concerned that heavy seas would clog its reactors’ cooling system with floating vegetation. Owners EDF Energy said both reactors were taken offline at the 1280MW plant. However, the company stressed there was no danger as the power system was designed to be shut on and off as circumstances demand. It said: “Unit 2 at Torness power station came offline due to increased seaweed levels as a result of the severe weather and sea conditions in the area.

Herald 25th May 2013 read more »

Radwaste

This documentary was shown on German and French TV but not in England. For obvious reasons the English don’t want anyone to see it. This is the English version which we hope you will mirror and call attention to. It discusses the effects of sea dumping of radioactive waste on the health of people living on the local coasts, like the Irish Sea and the Baltic Sea, which is the most radioactive sea in the world. The documentary focuses on the British sea dumping in the English Channel Hurd Deep about 12 miles north of the Channel Island of Alderney. Alderney is also subject to releases to the sea from the French Nuclear Reprocessing Plant at Cap de la La Hague 12 miles East of the small island.

You Tube 25th May 2013 read more »

Energy Policy

Shell UK chairman Ed Daniels: By 2050 we will need to double the amount of energy we are using today on the planet and yet bring down CO2 levels by at least half. The energy system of 2050 will not be just a natural extrapolation of what we have today, it’s going to be quite different,’ he says. But he warns that the ‘simplistic’ answer of wind farms and solar panels will not be enough. ‘If you think about the renewables economy, there is a huge intermittency issue that we have to get our heads around. If the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, you need something that is a credible back-up. ‘The challenge for the energy industry is how we get enough of the different sources of energy that we need, from traditional hydrocarbons, gas and nuclear, to renewables and biofuels.’ One solution widely being touted in Britain is fracking, the controversial technique of pumping water, sand and chemicals into dense rock to open up fractures through which trapped oil and shale gas can be extracted. ‘We are a significant player in shale gas in the US, Ukraine and China, and we aspire to be a player in South Africa, but it is not without its controversy,’ he admits. ‘In the UK I don’t think that Shell will be playing any time soon. The geology here is different from that in the US, and not as attractive. Also in America you have the right to the minerals in the land underneath your property and that’s a massive incentive for people to bring in developers. ‘In the UK the land belongs to the Crown. Then there is also the issue of population density.’ Despite this, Shell is ‘a significant proponent of gas’ and Daniels says: ‘It emits just 50 per cent of the CO2 of coal, and building a gas power station is much quicker and easier than both coal and nuclear.’

Daily Mail 25th May2013 read more »

Europe

The government will oppose attempts to set a new renewable energy target within the EU, in a move that could put at risk tens of billions of pounds of green investment and tens of thousands of new jobs. But in a sop to environment campaigners, ministers will agree to tough greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2030. The question of a renewable energy target for 2030 – to take over from the current goal, of generating 20% of energy in the EU from renewable sources by 2020 – has been a vexed issue for government and industry. Chancellor George Osborne has opposed setting clear targets for 2030, preferring a “dash for gas” that would see 20 or more new gas-fired power stations built in the next decade. Green campaigners say that would be fatal for attempts to tackle climate change, and have called for higher ambitions on renewable energy. Under the new proposals, to be unveiled by climate and energy secretary Ed Davey on Monday, the UK would call on the EU to commit to carbon dioxide reductions of 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, rising to 50% if other countries join in with more stringent targets on emissions.

Guardian 25th May 2013 read more »

Huffington Post 25th May 2013 read more »

Britain has challenged Europe to sign up to an am bitious target of cutting carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary, called on fellow EU governments to sign up to the target as part of a global climate agreement in 2015. Ruth Davis of Greenpeace described the UK plan as “common sense” but added: “This makes Government opposition to a binding renewables target even more perverse. Not for the first time, the irrational prejudices of the Tory right seem to have trumped the interests of working people in Britain.”

Independent 26th May 2013 read more »

BRITAIN will slash its carbon emissions by up to 50% by 2030 in a deal that would transform the nation’s energy and transport systems, under proposals announced today. Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, drew up the pledges after weeks of tough negotiations with the Treasury, where he had to overcome its deep scepticism over such green target setting. The package would see the UK cutting carbon emissions by 50% compared with 1990, when the country emitted 770m tons of CO2. Since Britain’s demand for power will also grow, it means Davey’s pledge can be achieved only by a massive expansion of low-carbon power generation, almost certainly meaning new nuclear power stations, plus many thousands more wind turbines.

Sunday Times 26th May 2013 read more »

The UK will push for the EU to adopt a legally binding target to cut its collective greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50 per cent by 2030, it emerged on Saturday. But it will not back what it believes would be an “inflexible and unnecessary” renewable energy goal for the same year. The energy secretary, Ed Davey, said Britain wanted the EU, which is now working to extend its 2020 climate targets to 2030, to unilaterally agree to a legally binding 40 per cent cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. Mr Davey said the UK, which is in the throes of trying to develop new nuclear power plants, believes there are many ways to decarbonise its economy and EU member states should be free to decide individually how to do this. “The UK has some of the best renewable energy resources in Europe, and a renewables industry with huge potential for growth,” said Greenpeace political adviser, Ruth Davis. “In opposing a renewables target, not for the first time the irrational prejudices of the Tory right seem to have trumped the interests of working people in Britain.”

FT 25th May 2013 read more »

Japan

A United Nations expert who investigated the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 nuclear power plant disaster says the government and the operator of the facility should do more to help those affected by the catastrophe. A report by special rapporteur Anand Grover, posted on the U.N. Human Rights Council’s website, says the government’s takeover of Tokyo Electric Power Co. allowed the utility to evade full responsibility for the nuclear disaster, the worst since Chernobyl.

Washington Post 26th May2013 read more »

Renewables

Suffolk’s growing reputation as the “green coast” has received a major shot in the arm after officials approved a 140 turbine offshore wind farm. The 504MW Galloper project – 27km from Sizewell – is expected to be worth £20million to the local economy and create 850 jobs. It would generate enough electricity to power half a million homes.

East Anglian Daily Times 24th May 2013 read more »

Onshore wind support is set to be cut back in what will be seen as part of an attempt to mollify the resurgent hard right forces of UKIP and right wing Tory backbenchers who oppose wind power. The Government is about to publish a review of support for onshore wind through the Renewables Obligation. They are expected to announce a further cut on the amount of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) available for onshore wind. Last year the Government cut support from 1 ROC to 0.9 of a ROC for new onshore windfarms, this having taken effect in April. Now the Government are about to announce a review which may cut support by a further 0.1 ROC (or more) to take effect in April 2014.

Dave Tokes Green Energy Blog 25th May 2013 read more »

Ian Marchant, the multimillionaire chief executive of SSE, plans to invest some of his own fortune in a series of small companies after stepping down from the energy giant this summer. Mr Marchant, who has led SSE for a decade, is in talks with a number of companies in the energy sector. “I’m looking at investing in a few smaller companies because I think that would be quite rewarding emotionally to me,” he said. “So I’m talking to companies involved in app development around the energy space and marine energy, energy efficiency . . . where I can add some value because of the contacts and knowledge I’ve picked up.”

Telegraph 25th May 2013 read more »

CENTRICA has threatened to ditch plans for a giant wind farm off the Norfolk coast unless the government meets its demand for hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies. The owner of British Gas wants to build the £2bn plant, called Race Bank, about 16 miles off Blakeney Point. It would be capable of producing 580 megawatts of power, enough for 450,000 homes. The scheme, however, hinges on securing a government pledge to guarantee a power price that is roughly three times the current wholesale rate of about £50 per megawatt hour. Offshore wind is the most expensive form of electricity generation to build but the turbine farms can be much larger than those on land.

Sunday Times 26th May 2013 read more »

DOZENS of “windcrofters” are emerging across Scotland under a new drive that offers landowners free power in exchange for allowing developers to erect mini-turbines on their property. The renewables industry scheme Energise Scotland targets smallholders and communities who cannot afford to buy expensive green technology. Under the deal, each property hosts a single small-scale turbine, with investors covering all the installation, planning and maintenance costs. Landowners receive free electricity while developers reap returns in the form of payouts for excess energy, which is sent to the national grid. Anti-wind farm protest group, Scotland Against Spin, said the initiative was more likely to benefit turbine firms and investors than smallholders. But Scottish turbine manufacturer Kingspan Wind, which launched the scheme last month, said windcrofting could help thousands of consumers and was likely to take over from larger, more controversial wind farms.

Scotland on Sunday 26th May 2013 read more »

DEVELOPERS backed by some of the biggest names in the renewable energy industry are aiming to raise nearly £500m with two London floats. Bluefield Solar, a start-up supported by Jon Moulton, the private equity tycoon, plans to raise £150m for a fund to buy and develop British solar farms. The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) is backed by Renewable Energy Systems, the developer set up by Sir Robert McAlpine. It hopes to raise £300m for its portfolio of 18 wind farms and solar parks in Britain, Ireland and France. Both firms are hoping to lure investors with promises of hefty, inflation-linked dividends. The payouts will be funded ultimately by the steady stream of government subsidies given for each hour of electricity they produce. Onshore wind plants, for example, earn roughly twice the wholesale electricity price. Solar generators receive a smaller payment but are much cheaper to build.

Sunday Times 26th May 2013 read more »

Fossil Fuels

AT LEAST two Scottish local authorities are reviewing the cost of repairing the damage caused by open-cast coal mining after a third identified a potential £60m shortfall. A report by East Ayrshire council into who will pay for cleaning up open-cast sites previously operated by collapsed firms Scottish Coal and Aardvark (TMC) revealed the value of bonds put in place to pay for the clean-up is far less than the projected cost of the work. The finding has raised fears that other councils where open-cast mines are located could face significant shortfalls. A campaign group has suggested the total cost of repairing coal-scarred landscapes could reach £100m; most would come from the public purse.

Sunday Times 26th May 2013 read more »

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Published: 26 May 2013