Japanese group Toshiba has confirmed that it is in the final stages of securing a majority stake in a British nuclear power consortium, bringing a further boost to the UK’s ambitious nuclear programme. Confirming that Toshiba will also buy part of GDF Suez’s 50% stake when it acquires Iberdrola’s 50% shareholding, Tanaka said: “We want a majority to move forward. So we would want to take some of GDF’s share, but have them remain as an operator.” He added that securing a long-awaited majority holding in the NuGen consortium would guarantee a $14bn (£8.5bn) deal for Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit to supply three reactors for the project.
Guardian 26th Dec 2013 read more »
Telegraph 26th Dec 2013 read more »
The European Commission has launched a formal investigation to check that the deal struck over the financing of the UK’s new nuclear power stations does not contravene “state aid” regulations. The Government has agreed a deal which will guarantee the price of electricity from the planned £16billion Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset at £92.50 per kilowatt hour over a period of 35 years. It is understood preliminary agreement was also reached with EDF Energy for a guaranteed price of £89.50 per kilowatt hour over a similar period for electricity from the proposed Sizewell C. However, the EC must now check that the deal does not contravene state aid regulations which prohibit individual governments from giving an unfair advantage to companies competing in the European market.
Ipswich Star 26th Dec 2013 read more »
East Anglian Daily Times 26th Dec 2013 read more »
REGENERATION chiefs will step up the pressure on the Government to find out when Hartlepool could get a new power station. Bosses at Tees Valley Unlimited are promising a year of activity in 2014 with wind energy and nuclear power high on their agenda for questions that they want answers to. They say it’s time to end the uncertainty and find out when Hartlepool can expect movement on both fronts.
Hartlepool Mail 26th Dec 2013 read more »
The safety assessment for the Hinkley C reactor design has failed, reports Peter Lux. Faced with 724 unresolved concerns about the EPR design, the UK regulator went ahead and issued the licence anyway. The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) is a process which was set up in order to examine the designs for new power stations and iron out any flaws in them before the power stations are constructed. Allowing the regulators to get involved with designers at the earliest stage was supposed to ensure an open and transparent process resulting in several competing designs with all significant design issues fully resolved.
Ecologist 26th Dec 2013 read more »
Political panics about consumer energy bills, anti-fracking protests, energy company profits and a new nuclear power station built by the French: 2013 has been an interesting year for UK energy policy. Arguments about obscure government home insulation schemes, previously found on the business section, ended up on the front page. Along the way, unexpected events occurred, while some long-cherished dreams failed to materialise. Here’s a few of the more interesting developments that surprised us in 2013.
Carbon Brief 27th Dec 2013 read more »
Professor Colin Robinson, in a Dec 2013 study published by the UK Institute of Economic Affairs, argues that the energy sector in the UK has been effectively renationalized. He says the proof is that centralized energy planning is back, and this is the root cause of skyrocketing fuel and energy prices, fuel poverty, and accelerating de-industrialisation as industrialists flee the high cost of energy.
Market Oracle 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
There is a presentational trick that skilled politicians practice. It grasps that most people are more affected by the tone than the content of a speech. This is an especially important skill to have mastered when you want to want to say something controversial. Then a soft voice and soothing tempo become essential. Energy Minister, Michael Fallon has mastered the same art. I watched him deploy it with great skill at a Spectator conference on energy earlier this month. The theme of his speech was the immorality of forcing basic-rate taxpayers to subsidise wind turbines for wealthy landowners. This was said so gently that I found myself nodding in agreement, lulled his soporific style into not taking in what he had actually said. Then I woke up. It is Mr Fallon’s own government, that insists that these subsidies are paid for by levies on consumer bills rather than out of general taxation. For some reason he failed to mention the immorality of forcing consumers to pay double the existing wholesale price of electricity in order to pay for a new nuclear reactor to be built by a French state owned company. Presumably he thinks it is somehow less immoral to subsidise French state-owned nuclear than British privately-owned wind.
Tom Burke 18th Dec 2013 read more »
He should have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, he spent 18 years in solitary confinement. He should be celebrated internationally as a man who has sacrificed his freedom for the truth and for the wellbeing of humanity. Instead, he has been stripped of his right to travel and prohibited from talking to foreigners. Today, Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear whistleblower, is almost forgotten. But he has not given up the fight for freedom. Vanunu is appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court to set him free – free to leave Israel, the Times of Israel reports.
Redress 26th Dec 2013 read more »
Ministers have been accused of “shameful” behaviour after quietly scrapping a scheme to help vulnerable elderly people keep warm – just weeks before its own review found it was universally popular. For the past two winters, councils have been allocated £20 million to provide emergency boiler repairs, hot meals to frail pensioners leaving hospital, snow-clearing and advice about pay fuel bills. In October a Government report acclaimed the scheme – which helps up to 200,000 people a year, mostly elderly – as a “universally popular” way to provide help to those in crisis. But by then, funding for the scheme had already been stopped, a parliamentary answer has disclosed. Public health experts said it was “appalling” that the Warm Homes, Healthy People fund had been axed, after the c oldest winter for 50 years and amid fears that the NHS is struggling to cope.
Telegraph 26th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – 100%
Keyy Rigg: Perhaps the most beneficial, transformative change of all would be one which leads us to a future powered by 100% renewable energy. To some this may sounds about as plausible as a couch surfing, overweight, beer chugger resolving to run the New York marathon. But in fact we’re already taking the first steps in that direction. According to WWF, based on existing trends renewable energy is on track to deliver half of our electricity needs globally in around 17 years. And a recent technical study commissioned by my organization, the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA), shows that we can phase-out net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And there are scenarios which show how this could be done by going for 100% renewables. This New Year’s, why not resolve to take steps in our own lives to reduce our energy consumption, to use energy more efficiently, and to get our energy from renewable sources wherever possible?
Ecologist 27th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – hydro
FOUR water treatment works around Scotland are now producing more energy than they use as a result of hydro power. Scottish Water, which uses a large amount of electricity to provide its essential services, has cut energy costs by installing a range of renewable technologies such as solar panels, hydro and wind turbines to generate enough electricity to power as many of its sites as possible. Water treatment works at Turret in Perthshire, Lintrathen in Angus and Castle Moffat in East Lothian, along with the waste water treatment works at Tannadice in Angus, are now considered self-sufficient. This is because, due to the amount of electricity created on-site from hydro power, they generate more energy than they consume over the year.
Herald 26th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – PV
Following on from recent projections for the PV industry, market research firm IHS has revealed key developments and issues for the sector in 2014. The market research firm reiterated its recent growth forecast for the industry next year, expecting global PV installations to be in the range of 40GW to 45GW, which was based on a bottom-up analysis of more than 100 countries, according to IHS.
PV – Tech 19th Dec 2013 read more »
Scotland might not be the sunniest place to put a solar panel, but its renewable energy industry is celebrating today after hitting the 100MW milestone of installed photovoltaic capacity. Analysis of Ofgem figures for December reveal Scotland now has 106MW of solar PV, an increase of 36 per cent since this time last year. The figures also reveal that 465 businesses, more than 28,000 homes, 56 communities, and 22 industrial sites have fitted solar arrays in the country. The numbers are in stark contrast to 2010, when 429 solar installations were recorded, offering just 2MW of capacity. Now the Scottish Solar Energy Group, Energy Technology Partnership, and WWF Scotland are calling on the Scottish governme nt to ensure its policies deliver even more solar.
Business Green 27th Dec 2013 read more »
Herald 27th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Wind
The National Grid’s huge bill for wind farmers to leave turbines idle has shot up from the £5 million paid out last year, according to figures released by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) charity. It found that about 40 wind farms shared £2.4 million in “constraint payments” to switch off over one weekend in September alone. A further £3.1 million was paid out to wind turbine operators during a windy weekend in August says the foundation, which compiled the information from official data.
Times 27th Dec 2013 read more »
Councils are wasting millions of pounds on wind turbines that are not working or will take hundreds of years to repay because they are generating as little as £13 worth of energy a month. Local authorities spent hundreds of thousands of pounds installing the turbines in an effort to meet renewable energy targets. However, some have not produced any energy at all in the last year because of faults, a Freedom of Information request disclosed. Some turbines generate so little energy they would take hundreds of years to repay their original value. Experts argue that the failure of some wind turbines t o recoup their value shows how small wind turbines are a poor way to generate renewable energy. In Eastleigh, Hampshire a turbine costing almost £30,000 was installed in 2005. Last year the turbine generated 520 kilowatt hours of energy (kWh). Taking 30p as the average price of energy per kWh under the feed-in tariff, this turbine generates £156 worth of energy a year or just £13 a month. At this rate it would take 190 years to repay its original cost.
Telegraph 26th Dec 2013 read more »
Consumers face paying hundreds of millions of pounds in unnecessary energy bill levies to fund household “smart meter” displays that companies have warned could be largely redundant. Critics fear the Government has failed to keep up with the pace of technology and the rise of smart-phone apps. They argue it is pointless to give customers separate display panels when using smart-phone apps could be a cheaper and more popular alternative. Major energy company ScottishPower told the Telegraph that the displays, which cost £15 to £25 or even more, could be a waste of money and has called for a review of the entire £12bn programme to reduce costs for consumers.
Telegraph 26th Dec 2013 read more »