“Anglesey has never been so united”, it was claimed during a public meeting against plans for a new row of overhead pylons being built across the island. Some 38 of the island’s 40 community councils oppose the National Grid’s plans to connect the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant to the main network with both the AM and MP, as well as the county council, calling for the cables to be placed underground instead. The Grid has already unveiled plans for a £100m underwater tunnel to avoid unsightly pylons across the Menai Strait, but has cited increased cost as a reason to avoid undergrounding the whole route from Cemaes to Pentir, near Bangor.
Daily Post 3rd Dec 2016 read more »
Tony Lodge: It is high noon for Britain’s fledgling energy policy. Years of failed interventions, arbitrary green targets and damaging subsidies will come to a head in this week’s capacity auction, when we will either see investors commit to building desperately needed new power plants or simply walk away. The stakes could not be higher, for the Government and for those policymakers who believed they had designed a credible strategy to keep the lights on. How have we got here and why does so much in this sector now hang on a complicated and little-known auction process? The overriding issue remains the urgent need to replace old coal-fired power stations, which have served the UK since the 1960s, with new plants that burn natural gas to generate electricity. At this stage, we can forget Hinkley C, as it will not be ready in time.
Telegraph 4th Dec 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Letter: FURTHER to the recently published WWF assertion within its The Energy of Scotland Report that as renewables grow in the future “there is little or no need for conventional generating capacity in Scotland”, the National Grid System Data site has recorded that Scotland was a huge importer of electricity each day for almost the entire last week of November. This was principally due to the calm weather related loss of wind generation which also coincided with the unpredictable close-down of Torness conventional 600MW Unit 1 due to seaweed reducing the cooling water intake capability whilst its second unit was on planned reduced output for refuelling. Hunterston was outputting 1000MW of conventional generation throughout. My randomly timed random checks show that Scotland from a week past Wednesday (November 23) was daily importing 1423MW, 1725MW, 1417MW 962MW,742MW, 524MW fr om England peaking, apparently, at 2550MW on November 23. Torness was fully back on line from November 26 still leaving Scotland importing hugely. The existing transmission line interlinks with England are unable to cope with importing more than 2650MW which is the largely undeclared but prevailing reason for construction of the new £1bn HVDC Western Link from the Clyde to North Wales. It will be essential to cope with Scotland’s future inability to power itself. The power companies’ project website, however, cosily and predominately promotes this link as being necessary to cope with the future high levels of renewables exports. Scotland presently has more than 6000MW of installed wind turbine capacity with around 8000MW approved and in the pipeline. During high pressure, low wind conditions, irrespective of the levels of wind based renewables we have, Scotland will remain incapable, over extended periods, of producing enough dispatchable electricity to meet its d emand more so because Torness and Hunterston will be gone. Industry requires energy.
Herald 5th Dec 2016 read more »
Our nuclear power stations have never experienced so many problems. Defects in steel quality of essential parts, falsification of manufacturing records: French nuclear power plants have never experienced so many problems. Twelve reactors (out of fifty-eight) are stationary. A very worrying situation …” It is a scandal ! “Says Bernard Laponche, a member of the Global Chance association. After discovering in April 2015 that the steel from the EPR reactor in Flamanville contained too much carbon, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) ordered Areva and EDF to check all the parts likely to have Same fault that can weaken them. The inspection revealed that many parts are concerned, including the funds of forty-six steam generators equipped with eighteen reactors, manufactured either by Creusot Forges, a subsidiary of Areva, or by the Japanese JCFC. These large heat exchangers serve to cool the reactors and generate the steam that drives the turbines producing the electricity. Controls are in progress. Twelve reactors (out of fifty-eight) are stationary for this reason.
Ouest France 4th Dec 2016 read more »
Yury Bandazhevsky, 59, was the first scientist in Belarus to establish an institute to study Chernobyl’s impact on people’s health, particularly children, near the city of Gomel, about 120 miles over the border from Ukraine. He was arrested in Belarus in 1999 and sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly taking bribes from parents trying to get their children admitted to his Gomel State Medical Institute. He denied the charges. The National Academy of Sciences and Amnesty International say he was detained for his outspoken criticism of Belarus’ public health policies following the nuclear disaster. He was released in 2005 and given French citizenship, after rights groups took up his case along with the European Union, Britain, France and Germany. He now runs a medical and rehabilitation center outside Kiev dedicated to studying and caring for Chernobyl’s victims.
USA Today (accessed) 5th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Solar prices have been in a sharp decline for several years now, due primarily to massive drops in PV module pricing, but a new report has shown that solar prices will only continue to fall as price reductions spread to inverters, trackers, and even labor costs. The new report was published by GTM Research this week, entitled U.S. PV System Pricing H2 2016: System Pricing, Breakdowns and Forecasts and investigates the solar system pricing stack across market segments and the impacts that pricing drops will have. Solar PV module prices have been dropping for some time, due primarily to a significant oversupply issue. Module prices will also continue to fall, having already fallen 33.8% since the first half of 2016, affecting overall solar system pricing, particularly in the utility-solar market, where solar modules account for a much larger slice of the bill — fixed-tilt utility-scale solar have seen prices dropped 17.4%, while single-axis tracking projects have seen their prices drop by 14.9%. The report also notes, however, that while solar module price drops have had a significant impact on utility-scale solar prices, “aggressive market entrants in the inverter and racking markets are also pushing prices down rapidly.”
Clean Technica 2nd Dec 2016 read more »
Household British business brands and companies such as Sainsbury’s, IKEA, and Kingfisher – which owns B&Q and Screwfix – have joined over 160 diverse groups calling on the Chancellor to drop the solar tax hike. The group, which includes two former directors of Big Six energy companies, as well as senior politicians, the Federation of Small Businesses, and senior executives from Scottish renewable energy companies have signed the letter today asking the Chancellor to stop the forthcoming rise in business rates for self-consumption solar power.
Scottish Energy News 5th Dec 2016 read more »
Donald Trump has tossed around the term “clean coal” in his murky plan to boost jobs in the fossil fuel industry for months now. Most recently in a video in which the president-elect vowed to “cancel job killing restrictions on the production of shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs” during his first 100 days in the office. What Trump meant by “clean coal” is unclear. Coal is a dirty fuel with a declining fortune. With production falling, at least half a dozen coal mining companies have filed for bankruptcy within the past two years. Technical advances in fracking have increased the production of natural gas and driven down prices, making it cheaper than coal and a more attractive source of energy for power generation. How Trump plans to beat that economic reality to promote the production of both coal and natural gas is puzzling. While the term feels like an oxymoron, it’s used more often within the energy industry to refer to an expensive technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS) that once promised to keep coal power a dominant source of electricity for decades to come. Efforts to make clean coal technology affordable in the US have so far failed despite hundreds of millions of dollars in government and private funding. But public and private funding continue to pour in as proponents believe the technology will play an important role in many countries that have pledged to cut emissions and abide by the Paris climate agreement that went into effect last month.
Guardian 4th Dec 2016 read more »
The global energy transition remains in a state of net forward momentum as of the end of November. However, evidence that the society is in danger of reaching its eventual target of complete or near-complete energy decarbonisation too late to save the planet from runaway global warming was particularly clear this month. As if we didn’t know it before the events of November, this is going to be a tight race.
Jeremy Leggett 4th Dec 2016 read more »
Scotland needs a “revolution” in zero-carbon transport on its roads if it is to meet demanding emissions targets, including a deadline for banning all petrol and diesel engines, environmentalists and businesses have said. Half of all buses and one third of cars will need to be powered by renewable electricity by 2030 to meet the government’s climate change policy, according to analysis by the WWF. The environmental charity has joined forced with manufacturers in the electric vehicle industry, including the UK’s largest bus maker, to call for a decisive shift on Scotland’s roads.
Scotsman 5th Dec 2016 read more »