Supporters of the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station have launched a last-ditch push for approval as Theresa May, prime minister, nears a decision on whether to go ahead with the £18bn project. UK union leaders on Sunday called for an end to the “faffing” over a scheme they say is crucial to keeping Britain’s lights on, afterEDF, the French company planning to build the Somerset plant, sought to ease security concerns over Chinese involvement. The comments signalled a fight back against critics of Hinkley, whose arguments have appeared to be in the ascendancy since Mrs May ordered a review of the politically sensitive project last month. Justin Bowden, national secretary of the GMB, one of the UK’s largest unions, said it was “wishful thinking” to believe that alternatives such as wind and solar power could fill the gap if Hinkley was cancelled. Hinkley is likely to be discussed when Mrs May visits China for the G20 summit in Hangzhou next weekend, where she is expected to have a face-to-face meeting with her Chinese counterpart. The decision to put Hinkley on hold has been interpreted as a break from concerted UK efforts to woo Chinese investment when David Cameron was prime minister. Allies of EDF say they are cautiously optimistic that the debate is moving in their favour behind the scenes. One senior person in the nuclear industry said: “Many of those in government who were previously sceptical are now better informed of the reality and are realising that a lot of the claims on cost, China, and alternatives for meeting [electricity] demand without nuclear are exaggerated and spurious.”
FT 28th Aug 2016 read more »
BRITAIN WILL face power cuts unless it moves ahead with projects like the controversial new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, a senior union figure has warned. Justin Bowden, national officer at the GMB union, called on Theresa May to approve the building of Hinkley Point C after French energy firm EDF insisted it was still behind the proposal.
Yorkshire Post 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Theresa May is set to fly into a damaging row with her Chinese hosts at next week’s G20 summit after British officials threatened to unravel a deal on the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant. Downing Street wants to resolve the dispute over the £18 billion plant as soon as possible after the prime minister announced a surprise review last month. The power station would be built in Somerset by the French state company EDF and part-funded by China. Under one option being considered by No 10, Hinkley C would be given the go-ahead but approval for a Chinese-built reactor in Bradwell, Essex, would be put off to allow discussion over its implications for Britain’s security. However, Beijing is resisting any attempt to unpick a deal that gives it a chance to gain a foothold for its nuclear industry in Europe, The Times has learnt. One expert said that any attempt to break the link between the Chinese financing of Hinkley and the Essex reactor would “torpedo” the whole deal. With hopes of a compromise fading, Mrs May faces the prospect of meeting President Xi of China with the issue unresolved when she attends her first G20 Summit.
Times 29th Aug 2016 read more »
Vincent de Rivaz has called for £18bn nuclear project to be approved after it was delayed unexpectedly by Theresa May.
Guardian 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 29th Aug 2016 read more »
City AM 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Beijing will resist any compromise on the deal surrounding the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant project, ahead of an anticipated showdown between UK prime minister Theresa May and her Chinese hosts at the upcoming G20 summit. It follows a surprise review being called into the £18bn Somerset plant, which would be part-funded by China and built by French company EDF. Downing Street was looking to approve the project but delayed approval for a Chinese-built reactor in Bradwell, Essex as Number 10 seeks to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible. A source told The Times that backing out of the Essex reactor would “torpedo” for Beijing the whole deal for all three sites as it seeks to gain a foothold for its nuclear industry in Europe.
IB Times 29th Aug 2016 read more »
A combination of radioactivity and warming seas could make the waters of the Bristol Channel near the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station more dangerous for marine creatures, a new study has found. EDF, which will build the Somerset power station if Prime Minister Theresa May gives the green light, already has an Environment Agency permit to release water containing tritium into the seawater. Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen, found naturally in small doses, and at much higher levels in nuclear power stations’ cooling water. A combination of global warming and heat from the power station could magnify the harm done by radioactivity in the water around a nuclear plant, Professor Awadhesh Jha from Plymouth University said. Lab experiments, led by Prof Jha, showed that the effects of even low doses of tritium on marine mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis), increased as the water temperature rose from 15C to 25C.
Plymouth Herald 28th Aug 2016 read more »
France’s state-controlled nuclear operator EDF will receive “at least” €400m ($450m) in compensation from the French government for closing the two units of the Fessenheim nuclear power station in Alsace, north-eastern France, Bloomberg reported quoting unnamed sources close to the issue. According to Bloomberg, the compensation amount is about four times higher than what the government initially considered and will be delivered in several payments over the next two decades depending on future power prices. Bloomberg said the agreement is “preliminary” and must be presented to EDF’s workers committee on 14 September and also be reviewed by the board of directors. There have not been any official comments from EDF or the French government so far. Earlier reports said the Fessenheim nuclear station will be permanently shut down in 2017. The reports followed comments by energy minister Ségolène Royal, who said the two-unit station, which began commercial operation in 1978, will close once the Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France is completed, which is scheduled for the end of 2018. Bloomberg said that in June 2016 Ms Royal offered to compensate EDF for the planned shutdown with a fixed sum of as much as €100m plus possible subsequent payments. Also in June 2016, EDF shut down Fessenheim-2 because of irregularities detected on equipment manufactured in the past at Areva’s Le Creusot forging facility.
Nucnet 25th Aug 2016 read more »
Hundreds of thousands of homes are to be heated using warmth generated by industrial machinery, geothermal energy and even Tube trains, under government-backed plans for a major expansion of “heat networks”. More than a third of local authorities in England and Wales are now working on new schemes that transport heat from one source through pipes to hundreds of homes or businesses, according to figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph. About four in five homes are currently heated by gas-fired boilers but they will have to be replaced by greener forms of heating if Britain is to hit its climate change targets, which require carbon emissions to be slashed by 2050. Heat networks – effectively giant central-heating systems, which can supply entire neighbourhoods – are seen as one way of achieving this. They use insulated pipes to transport hot water or steam to homes, where it warms up the mains water supply through a “heat exchanger” unit. Ministers set up a “heat network delivery unit” in 2013 to award funding for the development of new schemes, and this week are due to announce the 38 councils that have won the latest £2.8m tranche to work on feasibility studies. This will bring the total number of local authorities working on such plans to 131, out of the 381 in England and Wales, with more than 200 individual projects in the offing. Many networks use heat produced by burning gas to generate power in “combined heat and power” plants. Although not zero-carbon, they are significantly more energy-efficient than letting the heat go to waste, and can offer a cheaper source of heat than everyone using individual domestic boilers.
Telegraph 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Protracted UK efforts to get electricity from the bottom of the sea have moved ahead as a Scottish company said it was successfully delivering power to the grid from a tidal turbine system in the Shetland Islands. Nova Innovation, a group chaired by former big-six energy company boss Ian Marchant, said its project marked an advance in what has long promised to be an important source of renewable energy. Nova is developing the project in the Bluemull Sound, between the Shetland islands of Yell and Unst, with Belgian renewable energy group Elsa. Its move comes as the first phase of a MeyGen, a larger tidal power scheme, nears completion in the Pentland Firth between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands. Nova first announced in March that it was exporting power from a device in the seabed that looks a little like a wind turbine. It has now successfully connected a second one to create an offshore tidal array. The total value of the project, which is due to get another three turbines by the end of next year, is £3.6m. Once finished it will supply enough electricity for about 300 houses. A £1bn tidal lagoon project proposed for Swansea stalled this year after ministers balked at the subsidies developers was seeking. The government has launched a review of tidal lagoon power headed by former UK energy minister Charles Hendry, which is due to be published later this year.
FT 28th Aug 2016 read more »
IT sounds like the plot of a classic Scottish movie, but it is all playing out for real in the Highlands as the people of Ullapool find themselves facing the mammoth task of raising a cool one million pounds in order to turn the town green when it comes to the energy they use. The people of the picturesque Highland town have just days left to raise the money they need to fund the pioneering hydro-electric scheme, to be owned and run by the local community. Profits from the proposed BroomPower plant on a river near Ullapool will be ploughed back into community projects – while shareholders are also promised a four per cent rate of return. By 3pm yesterday afternoon, backers had raised more than £800,000 towards their target, which has to be reached by August 31. They spent the day on the streets of Ullapool leafleting in the hope of turning “this fantastic opportunity into a reality”.
Sunday Herald 29th Aug 2016 read more »
The U.K.’s National Grid has published the winners of its inaugural Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) services auction, revealing the growing ability of the country’s new and low-carbon flexible technologies, and storage systems in particular, to help “keep the lights on”. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) welcomed the results of the auction, saying that it demonstrates to the world that storage systems in the U.K. are ready to deliver. Some 200 MW were put to tender by the National Grid in the EFR auction, but in all a total of 1.4 GW of viable projects were pre-accredited for the auction. According to the National Grid, those awarded projects will deliver reduced costs of around £200 million ($255 million), and include projects from RES, Low Carbon and E.ON.
Renew Economy 29th Aug 2016 read more »