Reports of illegal drone flights over France’s nuclear power plants over the last several months highlight technological limitations in dealing with threats to critical infrastructure posed by small unmanned aerial vehicles. Over the weekend, two more aircraft were spotted flying over a nuclear power plant in North-Central France, according to one news report. So far, the government has not found who is responsible for these flights. The French government, in response to the illegal drone flights over more than a dozen of its nuclear power plants, said on December 8 that it would begin a research and development program with its National Research Agency to find technology that can detect and intercept small unmanned aerial vehicles. The government was careful to say, in a November statement that drone flights over its nuclear power plants have not been a threat to the proper functioning of the facilities. But, small unmanned aerial vehicles – the type that can be purchased by consumers – can be a threat to critical infrastructure, according to security experts. The concern is that these small drones are being used for surveillance and at some point in the future could cause damage to the facilities.
Wall Street Journal 5th Jan 2015 read more »
An auction designed to ensure security of electricity supplies in winter 2018/19 will mainly benefit existing nuclear, gas and coal-fired power stations, final results published on Friday confirm. Some 49 gigawatts of generating capacity secured contracts under the new capacity market. They will be paid £19.40 per kilowatt in return for promising to be available during periods of peak demand in winter 2018/19 at a total cost of nearly £1 billion. Average households will pay £11 each with business and industry picking up the remainder.
Carbon Brief 5th Jan 2015 read more »
The government has confirmed it will pay £960m to ensure coal and gas plants provide back-up power in the winter of 2018/19. The official figures, which were confirmed late last week, are similar to those predicted after the closure of last month’s auction when companies were invited to bid to provide stand-by capacity to keep the lights on and provide back up power for more unpredictable clean electricity generation sources such as wind farms and solar panels.
Business Green 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Remnants of the old Sellafield Tarn can still be seen with the now contaminated marshy ground and bulrushes bravely growing in the shadow of the Windscale Chimney. Following the Windscale fire it was necessary to rename the nuclear factory, to disassociate from the images of milk being poured away down drains and government lies. Sellafield Tarn had been long forgotten about and trashed by the atomic bomb factory …so the new name for the worlds first bomb factory now producing a little bit of electricity…became…..Sellafield. Sellafield stopped producing electricity in 2003 and now abstracts 4 million gallons of water a day to cool the wastes, provide power showers and carry out insane reprocessing. The coolest freshest water for Sellafield comes from Britains Favourite View -Wastwater.
Radiation Free Lakeland 5th Jan 2015 read more »
The Scottish Climate Change Act, which has among the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the world, spans a 40-year time horizon. This timeline gives industry and consumers the foresight needed to invest and plan wisely to create a cleaner, fairer and flourishing low carbon Scotland. It’s now time to put in place the building blocks for that future. The strategic decisions we make now about our infrastructure will determine how we travel, heat our homes and power our industries in 2050. In fact, they will shape the kinds of industries and jobs we will have in the future. Fortunately, the Scottish Government understands that in order to meet its targets under the Climate Change Act, it must support low-carbon infrastructure, which it has made a key pillar of its Economic Strategy and Infrastructure Investment Plan. But to be sure that the Scottish Government’s budget is investing for a green future, there needs to be a pipeline of large-scale, “shovel-ready” green infrastructure projects. These could include a major district heating network in Glasgow, dualling and electrifying the Perth-Inverness railway line, or insulating every home across Scotland.
Scotsman 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Scotland’s electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables by 2030 and without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power stations in Scotland, according to a new report published today (Monday 5 January) by WWF Scotland. Based on independent technical analysis by leading engineering and energy consultancy DNV GL, ‘Pathways to Power: Scotland’s route to clean, renewable, secure electricity by 2030’ tested the Scottish Government’s current policy to decarbonise the country’s electricity generation by 2030. This is separate from the target to provide 100% of electricity demand from renewables by 2020, which still allows for coal and gas to remain on the grid.
WWF Scotland Press Release 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Scotland could be powered almost entirely by renewables by 2030 and could export energy to the rest of the UK without the need for coal or nuclear power stations, according to a new report. The report, Pathways to Power: Scotland’s route to clean, renewable, secure electricity by 2030, is based on analysis by engineering and energy consultancy DNV GL and is backed by conservation charity WWF. The report says that Scotland can achieve “a secure, decarbonised power sector by 2030 with only renewables and minimal [Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)]-fitted gas power”.
Planning Resource 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Blue & Green Tomorrow 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Daily Record 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Guardian 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Edie 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Clean Technica 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Energy Voice 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Sustainable Business 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Energy Digital 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Industry leader warns SME manufacturers to place more emphasis on quality and health and safety (H&S) if they are going to make the most of the £60bn nuclear new build and decommissioning opportunity.
The Manufacturer 5th Jan 2015 read more »
The Government is not only cutting back on the amount of research money available to universities, but it is considering a plan that is likely to radically shift the balance of research funding away from the residual elements still given to arts and social sciences and towards science subjects. This will, using my back-of-the-envelope calculation, lead to the loss of around 6000 academic jobs in social sciences, humanities and arts.
Dave Toke’s Blog 21st Dec 2014 read more »
World Nuclear Capacity
Global nuclear generating capacity increased slightly in 2014 as five new reactors began supplying electricity, while just one was permanently shut down. The year saw new reactors with total capacity of 4763 MWe connected to the grid: Ningde 2, Fuqing 1 and Fangjiashan 1 in China; Atucha 2 in Argentina and Russia’s Rostov 3. An uprate at the existing Fermi 2 unit in the USA saw a further 15-20 MWe added.
World Nuclear News 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Alex White, energy minister for the Republic of Ireland, has said that nuclear power ought to be considered in a debate on the country’s future energy needs. “I have the view that if you’re having a serious debate about energy, you cannot exclude nuclear,” White told the Irish Independent in an interview published on 31 December 2014. “We have a dependence on damaging carbon-based energy sources which are effectively destroying the planet. You cannot preside over a full debate by excluding anything.” The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is currently working on a long-term energy strategy which will set out the role for conventional power generation from oil and gas; renewables including wind and energy; along with nuclear and other energy sources, according to the newspaper.
World Nuclear News 5th Jan 2015 read more »
The long-awaited shutdown of the Vermont Yankee (VY) reactor on December 29 was celebrated across New England over the weekend; I’m told the party in Greenfield, Massachusetts Saturday night was especially festive. Entergy of course denied that activism and the near-unanimous public and political opposition to VY had anything to do with the shutdown, and it’s undoubtedly true that if the reactor had any hope of again turning a meaningful profit the utility would have tried harder to keep it running. But there was no hope of that, and there were plenty of steps left for the state and the public to take to force its shutdown, so Entergy decided to cut its losses. What’s left now is a staggering $1.24 Billion estimate for decommissioning the 617 MW reactor –just a little over 1/2 the size of most U.S. reactors–and some key decisions on how best to handle that decommissioning. The activists who led the shutdown campaign plan on staying involved in those decisions. But the size of the decommissioning bill leads to renewed concern that the costs of decommissioning larger reactors–costs that will be incurred at every reactor with many sooner than a lot of nuclear utilities would like to think–will soar well beyond their ability to pay.
Green World 5th Jan 2015 read more »
New data from the National Grid has revealed that UK wind power generation rose by 15% in 2014, while separate figures from WWF Scotland round-up a record-breaking year for renewables north of the border. National Grid statistics show a rise from 24.5TWh to 28.1TWh electricity generated from renewables in the UK in 2014 – enough to power approximately a quarter of UK homes all year round. Wind farms feeding into the grid and single turbines connected to local networks together provided 9.3% of the UK’s total electricity supply in 2014, up from 7.8% in 2013. December saw record renewable energy generation with 14% of all UK electricity being produced by wind, beating the previous record of 13% set in December 2013. In the last three months of 2014, 12% of electricity was produced from wind, breaking the previous record of 11 % set in Q1 of 2014. Commenting on the figures, RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: “It’s great to start 2015 with some good news about the massive quantities of clean electricity we’re now generating from wind, with new records being set month after month, quarter after quarter, and year on year, as we increase our capacity to harness one of Britain’s best natural resources.
Edie 5th Jan 2015 read more »
The United Kingdom blew past previous wind power records in 2014 while Germany generated a record amount of electricity from wind in December, setting the stage for 2015 to bring more industry growth across Europe. Exactly how quickly it grows, however, is contingent upon several political and regulatory decisions to come. Using statistics from the U.K.’s National Grid, the trade association RenewableUK found that wind generated enough electricity to power just over 25 percent of U.K. homes in 2014 – a 15 percent increase from 2013. Wind turbines provided 9.3 percent of the U.K’s total electricity supply last year, a 1.5 percent boost from 2013.
Climate Progress 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Business Green 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Following a record final month, 2014 proved to be a “massive year” for wind and solar power in Scotland. Analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that for the month of December: Wind turbines alone provided around 1,279,150MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply the electrical needs of 164% of Scottish households, that’s enough for 3.96 million homes – and a record for 2014. Maximum output was on 10th December, when generation was an estimated 65,970MWh, enough to supply 6.34 million homes for the whole day – equivalent to 262% of all Scottish households.
H&V News 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Regarding energy efficiency, 2014 was generally a good year. Energy-saving technologies and practices continued to advance. For example, in 2014 LED lighting became a mainstream source of light. The Design Lights Consortium now lists more than 70,000 LED lighting products. And a recent DOE report estimates that by 2020, LED lighting will account for about 48% of product sales
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Andrew Simms: This year’s almost mythic, defining task is to roll the boulder of a new climate agreement uphill to Paris. There’s a whole sack of new sustainable development goals to sign-off as well. Intended to allow the whole human population to thrive within planetary boundaries, these 17 principal goals were meant to be concise, global, limited in number, action-oriented and easy to communicate. The big ones like ‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’ are wonderful. But they are also hilariously out of alignment with the current direction of the economies that created the problems in the first place. Finance is still in the driving seat, with Goldman Sachs giving 121 of its UK traders and chief ba nkers an average pay packet of £3m. The latest data showed inequality rising in the UK, median incomes down and the net wealth of financial corporations up by 373%. Crucially, if just the climate boulder doesn’t get up the hill of 2015, the impacts of irreversible global warming will kiss goodbye all the other sustainable development goals regardless, however great they sound.
Guardian 5th Jan 2015 read more »
The Government has been accused of a “colossal failure” to educate the British public about the risks of global warming, after official data confirmed that 2014 was the hottest year in the UK since records began. The average temperature last year was 9.9C, some 1.1C above the long-term average and eclipsing the previous record set in 2006, according to the Met Office. The new data means that eight of the UK’s top ten warmest years have occurred since 2002, and five of the six rainiest years have been this millennium. “The lack of awareness of the UK public of how climate change is already affecting them represents a colossal failure by the Government and its agencies, including the Environment Agency and the Met Office, to communicate with the public about this issue,” said Bob Ward, policy director at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Institute. “In particular, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has utterly failed to invest enough resources in communication about climate change even though it has lead responsibility for ensuring the UK becomes more resilient to its impacts. “Indeed, the Department was, until recently, headed by a Secretary of State who even denied the risks of climate change,” he added, in reference to former minister Owen Paterson, who was known for his climate scepticism.
Independent 5th Jan 2015 read more »
Experts have warned that some of Scotland’s rarest plants and birds are at risk from rising temperatures after it emerged that the country had just come through the warmest year on record.
Times 6th Jan 2015 read more »