Four of Britain’s major unions are big supporters of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie – all because of the jobs. Now Labour’s shadow energy minister has joined them in backing Hinkley C – even though renewable energy is a far better job-creator than nuclear, and already employs three times more people. Although ill-informed leaders of a few large unions support nuclear for jobs reasons, many trade unionists do not. The excellent 2014 report A Million Climate Jobs by 24 energy analysts and trade union officials reveals the large potential for jobs in the renewables and explicitly eschews nuclear power. Trade union leaders may think that nuclear power is a major provider of jobs. It is not. The recent analysis of jobs in the energy sector published by the Office of National Statistics reveals only 15,500 direct jobs in nuclear power compared with 43,500 direct jobs in renewables – including renewable heat, renewable combined heat and power, bioenergy and alternative fuels in 2014.
Ecologist 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Letter: Having worked for 16 years for a French multinational and for three years on a project in China, I can comment from experience on the Hinkley Point power-station project. The Government is looking at the wrong partner if it is worried about Chinese involvement. It is well known how China acquires technology from Western companies partly by involvement in projects. It could be guarded against, but at the end of the day, if they do not learn from one party, they will turn their attention to another. It is not illegal, and one might as well try to fight the tide. The real danger is the French, and their trade-union involvement. They see the project as a long-term cash cow. There will be delays, protracting the project for years. There will be constant changes to the technology, as they learn on the job and as technology advances. Every delay and every change will add to cost. If Hinkley goes ahead as planned, please publish this letter again in 2026 and 2036, so that politicians can see yet again how short-term opportunism and a refusal to think things through have plunged Britain even deeper into debt, an energy crisis, and grovelling dependence on others.
Telegraph 29th Aug 2016 read more »
On Friday the prime minister will head to China for the G20 summit of world leaders. While she’s there, the French and Chinese governments — two of Hinkley’s big financial backers — will be pressing her to make sure the project goes ahead. With just days to go until Theresa May flies out, a hard-hitting newspaper ad could make sure she sets off with opposition to Hinkley at the forefront of her mind. Featuring quotes from politicians and financial analysts who are united against Hinkley, our newspaper advert will prove how unpopular Hinkley is. If enough of us chip in now, we’ll run our ad full page in The Times — a paper the prime minister’s top advisors pay close attention to. Can you donate £2 to help get the ad printed?
Greenpeace 30th Aug 2016 read more »
For what it’s worth, I share Nick Timothy’s deep concerns about involving the Chinese state in the construction of national infrastructure like Hinkley Point. Even if we were to forget that China is a dictatorship – and we ought not to – there are obvious risks to national security. Now that the Government has indeed placed Hinkley on hold, though, the question comes: what now? Britain still needs new generating capacity in order to keep the lights on. While some argue that new nuclear is not required, the consensus in government still seems to be that it ought to be part of the mix – particularly given its benefits in terms of energy security and lack of carbon emissions. If we don’t take Chinese money to fund the extremely expensive process of constructing it, though, where is the cash going to come from? Might some sovereign wealth fund or other be tempted to invest, or could the money be raised on the open market? Any new investor would presumably have to accept a return lower than that EDF and the Chinese had planned for, if reports of Downing Street’s misgivings about the cost of the contract are correct, which would make them hard to find.
Conservative Home 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Engie, formerly GDF Suez, owns 40% of NuGen, the Company which wants to build three new nuclear reactors at Moorside in Cumbria, next to Sellafield. Yet Engie is fully aware that “the future is going to be much more about decentralized energy“. As Greenpeace Belgium says it’s time for Engie to be consistent and get the hell out of nuclear power. We should be calling on Engie in the UK to do the same and give up on NuGen and drop its plans to take a 40% share in Europe’s largest proposed new nuclear development.
CORE 30th Aug 2016 read more »
The Evening Mail’s Pylon Poll has the option (unlike the actual Consultations) to vote No to Moorside…the poll is now standing at 70% saying No to Moorside …this is absolutely remarkable and very heartening given that the Friends of the Lake District and other groups along with the media are concentrating campaign efforts and media space only on the damaging impact of pylons rather than the obscenity of the main event!!
Radiation Free Lakeland 30th Aug 2016 read more »
From today, residents in north Wales will have the chance to see the latest plans for the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station on Anglesey. Between today and the 25th October, Horizon Nuclear Power’s second formal stage of consultation will take place, giving people the opportunity to view its refined proposals and have their say on developments. Information about Horizon’s proposals will be on display at a series of public exhibitions across Anglesey and north Wales, where members of the project will be available to answer questions.
ITV 31st Aug 2016 read more »
Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged to show her commitment to Wylfa Newydd. Hitachi is concerned that Theresa May might pull the plug on the project after her surprise last-minute decision to call in the Hinkley Point project for review.Now they have asked her to release a statement on the Government’s position on the multi-billion pound nuclear project on Anglesey. Talking to the Sunday Times, Horizon’s chief executive Duncan Hawthorne said: “We’ve spent £1.2bn on this project that we may never see again if we don’t get a successful conclusion.
Daily Post 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Sophisticated inspections are helping to pick up defects in ageing nuclear power plants before they cause trouble. In March, ultrasonic tests identified signs of wear and tear in some of the stainless-steel bolts in the reactor core of the Indian Point power plant just north of New York City. Researchers at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, California, are now analysing more than a dozen of the 5-centimetre-long bolts — which secure plates that help direct water through the radioactive core — to determine why they failed the inspection.
Nature 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Russia’s state-backed gas company increased its sales to Europe by more than a third in the first half of the year, after cutting exports to Ukraine amid ongoing tensions with its nearest neighbour. Gazprom, Europe’s largest supplier of gas, said that it boosted European gas flows by 36pc to 109.4 billion cubic metres. However, the company’s European revenues rose by a smaller amount, climbing 20pc to 1.13trn roubles (£13.2bn) as the low price of oil and gas dragged down turnover. The jump in gas flows to Europe – including Germany, the Netherlands and the UK – more than offset the 22pc fall in the company’s exports to former Soviet Union countries, helping bolster Gazprom’s income above market expectations.
Telegraph 30th Aug 2016 read more »
A major donor to the Conservative party has condemned the government’s “chaotic” energy policy and urged Theresa May to appoint a panel of industry experts to help tackle the UK’s looming electricity supply shortage. Alexander Temerko, a Ukrainian-born businessman who is planning to build a £1.1bn electricity interconnector between the UK and France, said the prime minister was right to have put on hold the planned Hinkley Point nuclear power station. But he urged Mrs May to use her review of the Â£18bn project as the starting point for a wider reappraisal of government strategy for maintaining plentiful and affordable electricity supplies while phasing out coal-fired power. “The industry needs order because right now we have chaos,” said Mr Temerko, who is a big investor in the UK energy sector as well as being a prominent Tory donor: he and his companies have given more than £1m to the party. Mr Temerko said investor confidence in the UK energy sector had been undermined by erratic and politicised decision-making by a succession of ministers with little industry experience. A panel of “energy ambassadors” should be set up to provide expert advice and support more long-term strategic thinking, he proposed. These would be people with the industrial know-how that was lacking in the civil service, and with the credibility to help to drum up the multibillion-pound investments needed to modernise the UK’s energy infrastructure. “We do not need a 300-page plan; we need something that can be clearly expressed in a two-page document,” he said. “In the time we have been talking about Hinkley, France has built four reactors.”
FT 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Local councils are seeking to increase their terrorism insurance cover to prepare for an attack such as the Nice atrocity, according to the head of Britain’s specialist terrorism insurance agency. Attacks by extremist groups can lead to a range of claims, including property, interruption to business, life insurance and travel cover. Local councils would be liable typically for the costs of rebuilding public property or housing if they are destroyed, a cost that could be significant if there is no insurance to cover any of the claims. Compensation for families of victims who have lost their lives would be paid by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
Times 30th Aug 2016 read more »
China General Nuclear Power Corp. has been indicted by the FBI on allegations that it has been trying to illegally acquire nuclear technology secrets from its U.S. consultants. According to the indictment, the country has been working with said consultants for years – and has been pressuring them into handing over sensitive trade information – pursuing Beijing’s international nuclear expansion ambitions. Last month, Britain’s PM Theresa May postponed the go-ahead for the construction of the country’s biggest NPP in several decades, Hinkley Point, citing concerns about Chinese interference in British national security. The Chinese company behind Hinckley Point is China General Nuclear Power Corp. These two cases have highlighted China’s growing ambitions in the nuclear field – not just domestic but international. They have also highlighted the inherent suspicion that Western governments feel towards China. In the case with the U.S. consultants, it’s very likely that the charges are legitimate, despite CGNP issuing a statement that said it “always sticks to the principle of following laws and regulations.”
Oil Price 29th Aug 2016 read more »
SNP politician Bill Kidd will today re-state the party’s determination to rid Scotland of Trident in an address to an international anti-nuclear conference. At the Building a Nuclear Weapon-Free World conference in Astana, Kazakhstan the Glasgow Anniesland MSP will say: “Scotland is the unwilling host to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon’s system, with the Scottish government as well as the majority of the Scottish Parliament and the churches and civic society all having made clear their opposition to this situation.
Morning Star 29th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
The SNP is demanding that the UK government commits to a long-term renewable energy plan in order to support investment in the sector after Brexit – as a leading industry expert warned that Tory policy was putting at risk a potential “golden age” for the renewables industry. The concerns were raised by Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK, who said that 10 different changes in policy over the past year were undermining confidence in the sector, whilst the Renewable Energy Association has also highlighted 15 “negative” changes made recently by the UK government.
Scottish Energy News 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
A device which is said to be the world’s most powerful tidal turbine is due to begin testing in Orkney. The SR2000, developed by Scotrenewables Tidal Power, is undergoing final checks before being connected to its mooring system at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) test site. At 63m in length, it is longer than Edinburgh’s Scott Monument. Its developers say it is capable of generating 2MW of power – enough for about 1,000 homes over a year. The SR2000 was launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast in May before being towed to Orkney. During a visit to the test site, Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Scotland’s capacity to generate tidal power is considerable and this device has the potential to be a real game changer for the industry, not only here in Scotland, but across the world. “Floating technology like this is likely to be easy and cheap to install, maintain and decommission. “This will increase the commercial viability of tidal energy, which is crucial as we continue to transition towards a low carbon economy.” WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “News that the world’s most powerful tidal turbine is to begin trials in Orkney underlines the important role Scotland currently plays in the development of marine renewables globally.
BBC 30th Aug 2016 read more »
STV 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Edie 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Herald 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Campaigners urge renewed effort after Scottish Government admits it will miss its target for abolishing fuel poverty Campaigners have urged the Scottish Government to “redouble its efforts to end the scourge of fuel poverty”, after ministers conceded they will not meet the statutory target set for November. The Existing Homes Alliance, whose members include WWF Scotland, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and Energy Action Scotland, have proposed a plan they say will improve the energy efficiency of cold and draughty homes. Measures include significantly increasing public investment in home energy efficiency, and for the forthcoming Programme for Government to set an objective for a national infrastructure programme that supports every home to reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C by 2025. The group say the latter would largely eliminate energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty, benefit 1.5million households, help reduce energy bills, cut the nation’s carbon emissions, reduce NHS costs of treating illnesses related to cold and damp homes and create up to 9,000 new jobs spread across Scotland. Furthermore they are calling for ministers to publish a delayed consultation on the regulation of energy efficiency in the private sector, which they say would leverage private investment into tackling fuel poverty and help those in rented accommodation, where the energy efficiency of homes is lowest. The Scottish Government previously said tackling fuel poverty was a “key priority”, yet the most recent figures showed there had been no progress in reducing the level of fuel poverty in Scotland from 2013 to 2014, with the rate remaining at around 35 per cent. Alan Ferguson, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, said: “It is a national shame that there are currently 845,000 households in Scotland living in fuel poverty, and that energy inefficient homes stop many of those from escaping that poverty.
Holyrood 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Herald 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Third Force News 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Daily Record 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Families should be blocked from selling their homes if they fail to meet minimum energy efficiency standards, under radical proposals from a Conservative think-tank. Households should also be forced to install measures such as insulation or new boilers when they carry out other home improvement works, under the proposals from Bright Blue. The tough new regulations to tackle draughty homes should be accompanied by new schemes to help households afford the required upgrades, such as ‘Help to Improve’ loans and ISAs akin to the Help to Buy home ownership schemes, the think-tank suggests in a report. It argues that the Government “urgently needs to take steps to incentivise improvements to households’ energy consumption”, following the failure of the Green Deal loans scheme, which was supposed to enco urage millions of households to improve their homes but was scrapped last year after just 14,000 households signed up. Bright Blue is backed by senior Conservatives including Lord Barker, the former energy minister who spearheaded the Green Deal, Lord Howard, the former Tory leader, and defeated London mayoral candidate Zac Goldmith MP.
Telegraph 31st Aug 2016 read more »
A “smart energy” revolution could help ensure that the UK does not suffer blackouts, according to National Grid’s new UK chief. Nicola Shaw, its executive director, said technological advances will reduce the need to build new conventional power stations in the UK. An “internet of energy” will allow fridges, washers and dishwashers to help balance energy demand. Some commentators say the UK needs more gas-fired power to prevent blackouts. Ms Shaw agreed that more investment in gas-fired power was needed, but argued that between 30% and 50% of fluctuations on the electricity grid could be smoothed by households and businesses adjusting their demand at peak times. Prof Phil Taylor, professor of energy systems at Newcastle University, said: “People are used to the idea that they pay more for using the trains at peak time, or they queue more if they use the roads at rush hour. Technology has enabled us to bring this price flexibility to energy consumers. No-one will be forced to link their home to the energy internet, but if they do choose to use it, it will save them money, save pollution and save power stations needing to be built.”
BBC 31st Aug 2016 read more »
Batteries were the runaway winner last week as the UK published the results of its contest to provide power that can be dispatched quickly. Of the 37 bids National Grid received for so called enhanced frequency-response, 34 were for batteries. Nearly all of those were lithium-ion. The 201MW awarded is the single largest procurement of storage ever seen in Europe, and featured some very low prices. “These awards show that we can work with industry to bring forward new technology,” Cordi O’Hara, director of the UK system operator at National Grid, said in a statement. “I believe storage has much to contribute to the flexible energy system of tomorrow. This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the industry.”
Renew Economy 31st Aug 2016 read more »