Households will pay £4.2 billion too much for their energy bills over the next eight years, according to one of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers. British Gas has claimed that energy network companies, who are responsible for the electricity cables and gas pipelines that feed homes from the national grid, are charging too much for their services and this is adding to consumer bills. Network costs, which are set by energy regulator Ofgem, already account for £288 of the average energy bill — more than a fifth — but will rise further, in line with inflation, over the next eight years.
Telegraph 5th May 2014 read more »
Many in the global community may be wrestling with whether to continue their nuclear programs, including some policymakers in the United States. But the country’s national research laboratories say that they are busy devising advanced reactors — the kind that could minimize Fukushima-like accidents. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has compounded what remains a persistent problem, which is the high capital costs associated with building such plants and the relative risks tied to those investments. The goal of the mostly federally-funded research institutions is to work with industry to create safer and more efficient reactors, which includes not just the larger centrally-operated plants but also the smaller modular reactors that are pieced together on site.
Forbes 5th April 2014 read more »
Iran’s official news agency is reporting that international inspectors will visit two nuclear sites in the coming days. The Sunday report by IRNA quotes Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman of Iran’s atomic department, as saying the inspectors will visit a uranium mine and a uranium-thickening facility in Ardakan. The inspectors are from the United Nations atomic agency.
Times 4th May 2014 read more »
Iran has provided the U.N. nuclear watchdog with information about detonators with possible military applications, under an accord intended to allay concerns about Tehran’s atomic activities, an Iranian news agency said on Sunday.There was no immediate comment from the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which for years has been trying to investigate suspicions that Iran may have researched how to make an atomic bomb. Iran, which is seeking an end to sanctions hurting its oil-dependent economy, denies any such work.
Reuters 4th May 2014 read more »
The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, is facing growing criticism from a broad array of political hardliners and rightwing opponents who say his government is being duped by the US in an over-hasty attempt to clinch a nuclear deal with the west and end economic sanctions. At a meeting at the former American embassy building in central Tehran on Saturday, a newly formed group of MPs and rightwing activists calling itself “We’re Worried” claimed Iran’s negotiating team was ignoring national interests in the nuclear talks, which resume on 13 May in Vienna.
Guardian 4th May 2014 read more »
The US threatens to attack Iran if it tries to build a nuclear bomb, yet the US and other nuclear WMD states have ignored their treaty obligation to work toward nuclear disarmament, writes Rober Dodge. Now the Marshall Islands has gone to court to enforce compliance.
Ecologist 4th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – Solar
With speculation mounting that support for large-scale solar is going to be cut by the Government, leading renewable energy organisations have voiced concerns that another badly handled review of the sector could spook investors and bring uncertainty to Britain’s solar industry.
Edie 2nd May 2014 read more »
Energy storage has long been regarded as something close to a holy grail. Of course, there are ways of storing some forms of energy – using pumped water or compressed air for instance. There are conventional batteries – and there have been advances in their capacity over the last few years. But the search for storage systems which are simultaneously economic and practical for use at scale in the modern energy market has long been a source of frustration. Recent advances made by scientists in the US suggest, however, that real progress is now being made and that major breakthroughs are close. The whole of the energy sector should be watching because any such breakthrough could transform the economics of the whole industry. The first advance is a metal free battery which uses the electrochemistry of readily available molecules called quinones. The battery could be linked to devices such as roof top solar panels to store and would then release energy as and when needed. The system could be applied at many different parts of the grid – for instance to manage the energy needed to meet peak demand. In the contest to reduce emissions nuclear could turn out to be a white elephant unless costs can be reduced. Across the energy market there could be serious downward pressure on the prices of gas and even coal and the most expensive projects could end up stranded. Countries heavily dependent on energy export revenue such as Russia and Saudi Arabia could find their competitive advantage undermined. Companies whose value is based on the existing technical limits would be threatened.
FT 4th May 2014 read more »
The Government is being urged to incentivise consumers by introducing a scrappage scheme for energy-wasting domestic appliances after a new report identified a significant overspend on energy-inefficient appliances. The report, commissioned by environmental charity Global Action Plan (GAP) and produced by the Institute of Public Ploicy Research (IPPR), reveals that UK households could instantly cut their energy bills by £75 – £2bn a year for all UK households – by switching to energy efficient domestic appliances.
Edie 2nd May 2014 read more »
Last week, the 18th International Passive House Conference took place. As the long tradition shows, this approach to architecture is nothing new; it was a proven success in the 1990s. The building sector unfortunately has not proactively adopted the Passive House Standard, choosing instead to wait until EU law essentially requires it at the turn of the next decade.
Energy Transition 2nd May 2014 read more »