A furious row has broken out after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) refused to disclose the arrangement with EDF for dealing with radioactive waste at the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. The information commissioner’s office has turned down a freedom of information (FoI) request for state aid arrangements between the UK and the European commission to be made public. The FoI complainant, David Lowry, has launched an appeal, claiming it is in the public interest for British citizens to be able to judge whether their government had made the right decision about the new reactors in Somerset. Lowry, a British-based senior research fellow with the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in the US, said: “I do not believe the balance of judgment should be in favour of a foreign company, EDF Energy, who will potentially make huge multibillion-pound financial gain from the continued non-disclosure, and hence non scrutiny, over myself as a British tax and electricity bill payer.” Under the new arrangements, the prospective nuclear operators must enter into a waste transfer contract (WTC). Those contracts, like the one covering Hinkley, must be submitted for scrutiny by the EC under its state aid rules. It is the pricing methodology of the WTC that Lowry wished to review and which remains under wraps.
Guardian 30th May 2016 read more »
Times 31st May 2016 read more »
The French government is weighing up a sale of its stake in Peugeot owner PSA Group to help fund a €3bn aid package for energy group EDF, which is building the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK. People close to the situation have told the Financial Times that the state’s shareholding in the carmaker is a candidate for a sale or partial sale, as part of a wider review of the government’s corporate holdings. The government needs to raise billions after promising last month that it would provide three-quarters of the €4bn that EDF is seeking in a capital raising. It has already promised to participate in a €5bn capital raising for Areva, the troubled French nuclear reactor maker.
FT 25th May 2016 read more »
The Polish subsidiary of the Czech-based energy holding EPH has reportedly submitted a bid to take over EDF’s coal-fired power plant Rybnik, local media reported on May 23. The apparent bid, reported by Puls Biznesu, citing unnamed sources, would fit EPH’s strategy of buying coal-fired power assets from companies looking to divest older fossil fuel plants to concentrate on more environmentally-friendly capacity. The Slovak-owned company is betting that the plants will either see a longer life than envisaged under EU regulations, or that Brussels will expand the capacity market, under which conventional power plants are paid subsidies to remain as reserve capacity, as output from renewables may be erratic. At the same time, EPH – which has over the past 18 months bought large coal-powered assets in the UK, Italy, Slovakia and Germany – has more immediate motivation to buy coal-fired capacity in Poland. The group owns coal producer PG Silesia, which in an already weak market is struggling as the state merges its massive coal holdings with the country’s major utilities. The Polish newspaper claims that the French seller has received at least two bids for Rybnik. It adds that one involves a “negative price” that would see EDF exit at a loss after making some allowance for necessary investment in the ageing plant. EPH last month sealed such a deal with Vattenfall.
Intellinews 23rd May 2016 read more »
Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom has stopped removing spent nuclear fuel from Ukraine because bills have been unpaid, said nuclear decommissioning executive Oleg Kryukov.
Russia Today 30th May 2016 read more »
The German cabinet plans to approve a draft law on August 3 that will require its utilities to pay billions of euros into a state fund to help cover the cost of nuclear storage, according to an Economy Ministry timetable seen by Reuters on Monday. A commission recommended in April that Germany’s “big four” power firms – E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – pay a total 23.3 billion euros ($26 billion) to remove unwanted long-term liability for the storage of nuclear waste. The commission asked utilities to transfer provisions set aside for storage sooner than expected, starting with a first instalment totalling 17.2 billion euros no later than early 2017. The government is widely expected to adopt the commission’s proposals.
Reuters 30th May 2016 read more »
U-Battery is pleased to announce the agreement of terms with the National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) to cooperate for the deployment of U-Battery in Poland. Agreement was reached and a Confidentiality Agreement was signed during the visit of the Polish Undersecretaries of State for Energy, Andrzej Piotrowski and Michal Kurtyka, to the United Kingdom on 24-25 May, accompanied by other senior officials from the Polish Ministry of Energy. The parties reaching agreement were URENCO, as lead partner in U-Battery, and the leading Polish institute for nuclear innovation, the National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ). The Centre and U-Battery have agreed to investigate the potential for U-Battery in the Polish market. U-Battery is a micro-modular reactor being developed to produce local power and heat for a range of energy needs, including but not limited to energy intensive industries and isolated locations. The partners developing U-Battery are URENCO, Amec Foster Wheeler, Atkins, Cammell Laird and Laing O’Rourke.
U-Battery 26th May 2016 read more »
Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric will relocate a planned project to build six nuclear reactors in India, officials said, clearing a land acquisition hurdle and bringing the first deal stemming from a U.S.-India civil nuclear accord struck more than a decade ago closer to reality. The six AP-1000 reactors would be built in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, after the original site proposed for the multi-billion-dollar project, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, faced local opposition.
Reuters 31st May 2016 read more »
Letter David Lowry: You are right to point out that President Obama visiting Hiroshima and calling for a world without nuclear weapons, while simultaneously presenting a budget to Congress requesting a trillion dollars to modernise and replace the US arsenal of nuclear WMDs, sounds like hypocrisy. It just goes to show how the military-industrial complex continues to be more powerful than the most powerful politician on the planet.
Guardian 30th May 2016 read more »
Household boilers should be replaced with large shared boilers to heat multiple homes in Scottish cities, according to a group of MSPs, environmentalists and academics. They called on the Scottish government to encourage investment in “district heating” as part of a Warm Homes Act. District heating sees large boilers provide heat for entire districts through a network of pipes. The system is popular in several other European countries. The Scottish convention is for homes to have their own self-contained gas boiler – although there are some district heating schemes, including Caithness Heat and Power (Chap), which provides heat to about 200 homes and the local hospital in Wick. Environmental group WWF Scotland, the University of Edinburgh, heatpump manufacturer Star Renewable Energy and cross-party MSPs are behind the calls for district heating to be more widely used in Scotland.
BBC 31st May 2016 read more »
THE Scottish Government must prioritise a Warm Homes Act which helps deliver clean, affordable heat to homes, according to groups from the voluntary, renewable and academic sectors. The groups are urging new Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse to push through the right regulatory framework to develop district heating, a system for distributing heat generated in a central location. The call follows advice from the Scottish Government’s own experts that an increase in the use of the method would help meet targets on cutting fuel poverty and carbon emissions and boosting energy efficiency and economic development. District heating currently accounts for just one per cent of Scotland’s heat demand. If the country is to meet its climate targets, this must increase to 40 per cent by 2030, say WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland. The Scottish Government’s Special Working Group on Regulation reported in March that district heating could cut carbon emissions by around 30 to 40 per cent, with reductions in household bills being roughly about the same. The method was also found to have significant benefits for both the national and local economies, in terms of growing the country’s small but growing district heating sector. There is considerable cross-party agreement on warm homes and energy efficiency, with all the main parties having included the issue in the manifestos prior to the Holyrood election. It’s also an issue that has been discussed for over a decade with former Scottish Green Party Convenor Robin Harper having first proposed the idea in 2003. Now representatives from WWF Scotland, academia and the renewables sector are urging the Scottish Government to implement the regulation needed to bring clean, affordable heat netwo rks to the country’s towns and cities.
The National 31st May 2016 read more »
NICOLA Sturgeon should push ahead with the roll-out of Scandinavian-style district heating schemes as a priority, a coalition of groups said today. The First Minister went into the Holyrood election pledging a new Warm Homes Act in a bid to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. A coalition including WWF Scotland, renewable energy firms and academics said new regulations should be included to help reduce carbon emissions and aid economic development through the roll-out of district heating.
Herald 31st May 2016 read more »
Renewables – AD
The government has proposed scrapping the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for anaerobic digestion installations of between 500kW and 5000kW from January 2017, saying many are now economically viable without the subsidy. According to the government “market intelligence and anecdotal evidence” suggests an increasing number of these installations are taking the form of combined heat and power (CHP) projects, which are also able to take advantage of Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Utility Week 27th May 2016 read more »
Edie 27th May 2016 read more »
If renewables are to become fully integrated into the UK’s energy mix, the Government will have to incentivise energy storage systems through the introduction of subsidies, researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) have claimed. Researchers have argued that as the growth of renewables continues to rise, so too does the potential impact of grid volatility. In order to combat this scenario, new research argues that energy storage systems should be supported by “gradually removing” subsidies used to establish “market mature” energy projects such as solar and wind, to be used to develop storage systems that could provide viable investment opportunities.
Edie 27th May 2016 read more »
The costs of carbon capture and storage (CCS) would come down sharply if it was deployed in the UK, according to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). An ETI report found building a demonstration plant and then three full-scale projects could result in the levelised cost of energy for CCS enabled gas generation reducing by up to 45 per cent. By comparison it found that improving sequestration technology – even to the point where it’s operating at its maximum theoretically efficiency – could only reduce costs by five to ten per cent.
Utility Week 27t May 2016 read more »
The Labour Party in Scotland has put down a motion for debate in Holyrood tomorrow (1 Jun) which aims to exploit acute divisions within the minority SNP government over shale energy. The SNP is as divided on shale gas energy as the Tory party is divided on British Independence from the EU-Block. The motion by Labour list-MSP Claudia Beamish aims to embarrass the SNP and highlight these divisions. It is likely to be supported by the Greens and the Liberals.
Scottish Energy News 31st May 2016 read more »
Letter Janet Russell: There is a whole generation of women out here who were protesters at Greenham Common, Aldermaston, and the Newbury Bypass (Anti-Fracking groups plan protest camps, 26 May). Besides working with our partners to help our children carve out a life in a horribly hostile financial climate, we are volunteering on committees to help keep youth and children’s centres, libraries, and village halls open, because council budgets are totally inadequate. In our 50s, 60s and 70s, we are supporting the junior doctors, standing against welfare cuts, and for renewable energy. We want this government to publish the report, which they have been sitting on since the end of March, on the Environmental Impact of Shale Gas Technology, by the independent Climate Change Committee.
Guardian 29th May 2016 read more »