Letter Keith Parker: In response to Tom Bawden’s article on Hinkley Point (28 August) I would like to clarify a few points. There is an urgent need to build new energy infrastructure in the UK. Around half of existing capacity will close by 2030, and this needs to be replaced by low-carbon generation if we are to meet our carbon reduction targets. Our energy system needs new nuclear power to help manage a system with an increasing amount of intermittent renewable generation. By matching output to demand, it will save money by providing power when we need it. It is the only large-scale low-carbon option able to do this. There is a role for gas in this system, providing flexible generation at peak times. But it is not low-carbon and too much will leave UK consumers exposed to volatile gas prices and a reliance on foreign imports. The agreed price of £92.50/MWh for Hinkley Point C provides the certainty needed for ED F and its partners to make the largest inward investment in the UK’s history. It will be built without taxpayer funding, with the investors bearing all the construction risk. Consumers will pay nothing until it starts generating in the mid-2020s. The HSBC report is right that demand for power in the UK has declined slightly in recent years. What it fails to take into account is the likelihood of increased demand from economic growth and increased electrification of transport and heating infrastructure. Even with flat or declining demand, we still need to replace infrastructure, or else we will become dependent on importing energy from sources, and at a cost, which are out of our control. The Government has been clear that new generating capacity and energy security are vital for UK prosperity.
Independent 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
The leaders of Scotland’s five main political parties have promised to set out plans on how they will tackle climate change and reduce emissions. An agreement was brokered by WWF Scotland ahead of the Holyrood election next year. The organisation said the leaders had committed to providing “comprehensive plans” on climate change in their manifestos. International talks on the issue will take place in Paris in December. The SNP, Scottish Labour, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Green party have all signed the pledge. It commits them to outlining plans in their manifestos to: Improve energy efficiency through a “national infrastructure project”; Create a low carbon transport system; Reduce emissions from Scotland’s food sector; Continue the work of Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund’ They have also promised to ensure their manifestos are “consisten t” with the ambitions of Scotland’s Climate Change Act.
BBC 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Chancellor George Osborne has announced more than Â£500m of contracts for the Royal Navy’s submarine base at Faslane. The government said the work, which is due to begin in 2017, would secure 6,700 jobs and create thousands more. Mr Osborne said: “Across Scotland, around 12,600 people work in defence and my defence spending commitments will secure these jobs.” The SNP said the “so-called investment” would directly support the deployment of Trident nuclear submarines. The new contracts will include the building of ship lifts, sea walls, jetties and other major projects over the next 10 years. The announcement followed the chancellor’s pledge in the summer Budget to maintain the Nato commitment to spending at least 2% of GDP annually on defence.
BBC 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Times 30th Aug 2015 read more »
The Chancellor George Osborne will fly into Faslane today to announce an extra £500 million for the home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and accusations he is pre-empting a Commons vote on its renewal. Mr Osborne will say that the money will secure 6,700 jobs and create thousands more. But opponents have accused the Chancellor of spending money that they claim effectively paves the way for the replacement of Britain’s nuclear deterrent before MPs gets to decide.
Herald 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Scotsman 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Chancellor George Osborne has announced a £500m investment for the Faslane nuclear submarine base. The Chancellor, who will visit HM Naval Base Clyde on Monday, said the cash will fund the construction of sea walls, jetties and other projects as it gets ready to host the country’s entire submarine fleet. The ten-year programme beginning in 2017 will secure 6700 jobs and create thousands more, Mr Osborne said. But the SNP and Plaid Cymru, who want to scrap the Trident missile system, questioned the Chancellor’s spending priorities.
STV 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Mirror 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Reuters 31st Aug 2015 read more »
US – Radwaste
Since the start of Barack Obama’s term in office in 2009, America has had no long-term plan for its nuclear waste. As a candidate, Mr Obama promised to oppose the long-term plan to build a repository in Yucca Mountain, some 80 miles (129km) north-west of Las Vegas, to win the support of Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democrats’ leader in the Senate. As a result, some 70,000 tons is waiting at power plants such as the one at Surry, in silos or in pools. Mr Reid, like Mr Obama, is standing down in 2017. Their successors will face a difficult question: how to reopen the debate about what to do with spent fuel.
Economist 29th Aug 2015 read more »
The Oregon Democratic senator Jeff Merkley on Sunday became the 31st senator to announce support for the Iran nuclear deal, as momentum continued to build behind the agreement the Obama administration and other world powers negotiated with Tehran. Merkley’s backing put supporters within reach of the 34 votes required to uphold a presidential veto of a congressional resolution disapproving the agreement, which curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
Guardian 30th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Prof Susan Roaf: On 29 June the Department of Energy and Climate Change told me, on behalf of Amber Rudd, that “as you may know the government’s position remains that we are committed to seeing solar PV, including wide-scale deployment across community homes and rooftops”. On 7 July 2015 I held a party at the Oxford Ecohouse, with its 1995 first solar roof in Britain, to celebrate one million solar homes built in Britain in 20 years. DECC is now proposing to cut the feed-in tariff rates for solar PV installations by as much as 87%. Big Energy and DECC have realised that if everyone generates their own electricity and heats their water with solar systems, there will be no markets for nuclear electricity and fracked gas. No wonder they are determined to kill off the solar industry. Solar power is citizen power, so – if you do not want a toxic nuclear future or degraded fracked landscapes and lives – keep building those solar roofs, because each single one is a footstep to a cleaner, safer, freer energy future.
Guardian 30th Aug 2015 read more »
In terms of timing, last week’s government decision to slash subsidies that help families and small businesses install solar panels could not have been worse. This year promises to be the hottest on record. At the same time, international negotiations on the establishment of climate change controls are scheduled to reach their peak in Paris in a few months.It is an unfortunate development, not just from the perspective of national prestige, but in terms of lost opportunity. Britain has the chance to take a lead in developing renewable technologies, including wave and tidal energy plants. Yet within a few months of coming to office, the current Conservative administration has made it clear it wants to have nothing to do with green technology. It is a short-sighted attitude. Britain has much to gain from developing expertise in this field because, sooner or later, the world is going to end up depending on renewable power.Continued support for green technology, such a solar power, is therefore good for Britain and for the rest of the world.
Observer 30th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Onshore wind could be cost-competitive with new gas generation by 2020 but needs continued Government support to get there, a new report from centre-right think-tank Policy Exchange has found. The report, Powering Up: The future of onshore wind in the UK, claims that onshore wind is the cheapest form of low carbon energy and “should logically continue to play a role in cutting carbon emissions”.
Edie 28th Aug 2015 read more »
At the Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summit held in Honolulu, Hawaii, this week, Governor David Ige dropped a bombshell. His administration will not use natural gas to replace the state’s petroleum-fueled electricity plants, but will make a full-court press toward 100 percent renewables by 2045. Ige’s decisive and ambitious energy vision is making Hawaii into the world’s most important laboratory for humankind’s fight against climate change. He has, in addition, attracted an unlikely and enthusiastic partner in his embrace of green energy—the US military.
The Nation 26th Aug 2015 read more »
Jean Lambert MEP: Hack away at subsidies for householders who install solar panels? Kill off a promising industry that could have delivered many much-needed and decent jobs – jobs that could even have helped us meet climate change targets? Remove support for budding small and medium-sized enterprises? The choices made by this government point to their support for one thing: fracking. Fracking will not see our bills reduced. It will not deliver energy security, nor will it create a significant number of jobs. What it will do is accelerate climate change and pollute our environment even more. The choices made by this government do not benefit people, planet or place – just private capital.
Guardian 30th Aug 2015 read more »