Shelving expensive wind farms in favour of cheaper nuclear and gas-fired power stations would save every Briton almost £550, it is claimed. Government plans to cut pollution by a third by 2020 rely heavily on wind power and will cost £108billion to implement, an accountancy firm has calculated. But shifting the emphasis away from turbines and towards nuclear and gas-fired power stations would slash the bill by £34billion, according to KPMG. This equates to around £550 for every person in the country
Daily Mail 7th Nov 2011 more >>
RenewableUK, the country’s largest renewable energy trade association, has strongly criticised the flawed energy report “Thinking About The Affordable” due to be published by the accountants KPMG on Tuesday. The report incorrectly claims that Britain can meet its 2020 carbon reduction targets by building nuclear and gas-fired power stations. It also states, misleadingly, that this would be cheaper than relying on renewable energy sources such as wind. Central to the report authors claims is the assumption that a large proportion of the new generation of nuclear plants can be deployed quickly during the coming decade despite industry expectations of drawn out technical and planning approval processes. Few industry analysts believe that more than two new nuclear power station will be operating before the end of the decade. However, a failure to deliver the level of nuclear power assumed in the KPMG report would leave us dangerously over-reliant on imported fossil fuels, during a decade in which a quarter of the UK’s existing power stations will have to be permanently decommissioned. The most authoritative study on the impact of renewable energy on domestic bills was carried out by the Governments official energy regulator Ofgem. Its Project Discovery research, which examined the impact on prices for a range of scenarios for different UK energy mixes up to 2020, shows that if Britain fails to invest in renewable energy, electricity bills will be pushed up by 52% because of the volatility of fossil fuel prices. The KPMG report focuses solely on the upfront costs of building new power plants, ignoring other lifecycle costs, such as fuel and decommissioning. In comparing the costs of the various technologies, the report appears to deliberately fail to take into account the low operating costs of wind, which counterbalance the high capital and construction cost. In Germany, Denmark and Spain, three European countries with a high level of wind power deployment, the low operational cost of wind means that it is the first choice of power source used to meet demand, displacing more expensive options, and thereby actually reducing rather than increasing electricity prices.
Renewable UK Press Release 6th November 2011 more >>
Jürgen Grossmann of German utility RWE and Johannes Teyssen of rival Eon have had to face similar setbacks in recent months. Both companies were wrongfooted by this springs nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, and then by the German governments decision to close the countrys 17 nuclear reactors between mid-2011 and the end of 2022.
FT 6th Nov 2011 more >>
EDF Energy stopped its 550-Megawatt Dungeness B-21 nuclear plant late on Friday, it said in a statement.
Reuters 7th Nov 2011 more >>
Is gas extracted from coal or shale a welcome addition to Scotlands energy mix and is it desirable to drill for it in Scottish communities? These are questions that need to be urgently addressed, following news that a drilling operation has been given the go-ahead in a Scottish village.
Herald 7th Nov 2011 more >>
PLANS to begin drilling for gas using a controversial method that was blamed for an earthquake in a seaside resort has been given the green light in Scotland for the first time. The process of fracking led to tremors in Blackpool and along parts of the Lancashire coast after it dislodged geological layers in the Earths crust. Now an energy firm has been granted a licence by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to extract gas trapped in coal near the mining village of Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway.
Herald 7th Nov 2011 more >>
Lets call it the CitiGroup Baton. It was unsheathed on Tuesday to take a swing at the Scottish Governments ambitious plans to become the renewable energy powerhouse of Europe. The baton was a finance sector research note put out for institutional investors by Citigroups head of european utility research, Peter Atherton. The problem with the report is that it makes no assessment of the likely revenue available to a newly independent Scotland. It assumes that the transition to independence would be revenue neutral, that there would be no revenue boost from Scotlands oil and gas resources. The Atherton report also assumes any future independent Scottish Government would be happy to retain the flat-rate levy on consumers which pays for our electricity infrastructure. In fact, it is far from certain the levy would be retained. If Finance Secretary John Swinney takes the keys of the Scottish Treasury, one of the first tasks he and his civil servants would face would be to review the tax system inherited from Westminster. Under the current system, energy watchdog Ofgem calculates that environmental costs account for 4% of gas bills and 10% of electricity bills. With the average household spending £424 on electricity per year the levy amounts to £42 for every household annually.
Sunday Herald 6th Nov 2011 more >>
SNP ambitions to transform Scotland into a leading provider of renewable energy and to export power after independence to England and even beyond became the focus of determined attacks throughout last week. No sooner had Citigroup warned investors that independence would threaten their investments in renewable energy in Scotland than the Institute of Mechanical Engineers tore into Alex Salmonds renewable targets, saying meeting them would cost billions and leave consumers facing a rise in energy prices. Nicola Sturgeon, standing in for Salmond at First Ministers Questions in Holyrood, countered that Citigroup was wrong, that renewables were on target and that, anyway, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, there was still £376 billion in North Sea Oil, waiting to be exploited.
Sunday Herald 6th Nov 2011 more >>
Depleted uranium (DU) weapons are set to be tested in Scotland again in the next two years because they have to be renewed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Sunday Herald has learnt. The resumption of DU tests at the Dundrennan military firing range near Kirkcudbright on the Solway coast will reignite opposition from the Scottish government and environmentalists worried about pollution and possible health effects.
Rob Edwards 6th Nov 2011 more >>
Depleted uranium (DU) weapons were tested in Scotland despite warnings from Ministry of Defence (MoD) scientists that the contamination they would cause could never be cleaned up, government documents reveal. Fierce opposition to anything nuclear north of the border also caused the MoD to conceal its real intentions on DU testing. In an attempt to defuse public anxiety, MoD officials even proposed giving uranium another name. Previously secret government records made available in the National Archive give a fascinating insight into the political manipulation and manoeuvring that went on behind the scenes in the 1970s to try and ensure that Scotland didnt thwart MoD plans to test fire DU munitions at the Dundrennan military range near Kirkcudbright.
Rob Edwards 6th Nov 2011 more >>
Britain’s carbon emissions grew faster than the economy last year for the first time since 1996, as a cash-strapped population relegated the environment down its league of concerns and spent more money keeping warm, according to a new report.
Independent 7th Nov 2011 more >>
Ex-Indian President and scientist APJ Abdul Kalam has said a controversial planned nuclear plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is safe. Speaking on a visit to the Kudankulam plant, he said it was equipped with “sophisticated safety features and there is no need to panic”. Work at the plant has been halted following protests by local villagers. Protesters say the facility is unsafe and fear a repeat of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant.
BBC 7th Nov 2011 more >>
Tokyo Electric Power Co. found a dangerous level of radiation at its wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, eight months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that caused the worst atomic crisis in 25 years. Workers at the company usually called Tepco detected 620 millisieverts of radiation an hour on the first floor of Reactor 3 on Nov. 3, the highest level found in that unit, it said. The level of radiation is more than the 500-millisievert short-term dose recommended as the maximum for emergency workers in live-saving situations, according to the World Nuclear Association. The company and government officials are trying to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986 after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused a loss of cooling and the meltdowns of three reactors.
Bloomberg 6th Nov 2011 more >>
The government approved Friday a special emergency business plan jointly submitted by Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, allowing the provision of stopgap government funds to TEPCO on condition the utility implements restructuring. The government also approved TEPCO’s request for about 1.01 trillion yen in financial aid to compensate victims of the crisis at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. As a condition for receiving government aid, TEPCO will implement such restructuring measures as cutting at least 2.5 trillion yen in costs in the next 10 years, by reducing expenditures and payouts of its corporate pensions.
Yomiuri 5th Nov 2011 more >>
Q&A about Iran.
Reuters 6th Nov 2011 more >>
Friends of the Earth has warned that it may start legal action against the government by the end of this week unless plans are scrapped to cut the level of subsidies paid to homeowners installing solar panels. In its formal consultation on the future feed-in tariff, the government said it would halve the level of payments for any installations completed after 12 December this year. The environmental charity says this cut-off point two weeks before consultation ends is unlawful and will lead to unfinished or planned projects being abandoned.
Guardian 7th Nov 2011 more >>
A coalition of 51 solar power firms, housing associations and politicians have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to intervene to block government plans to halve feed-in tariff incentives for photovoltaic installations, with effect from next month. The open letter, dated 1 November, emerged as the latest part of a mounting campaign opposing the consultation launched by the government last week, which proposes reducing the incentive for solar photovoltaic installations with more than 4kW of capacity, from 43p/kWh to 21p/kWh.
Business Green 7th Nov 2011 more >>
Britains solar industry will be destroyed and 25,000 jobs lost if ministers push ahead with plans to slash subsidies for people who install panels on their homes by more than 50 per cent. That is the stark warning of 100 companies in a letter to The Times today. They claim the move will lay waste to David Camerons commitment that the Coalition will be the greenest Government ever. Critics of the subsidy say that the population pays for it through energy bills, but Mr John said the cost was on average an extra £1 per bill payer in Britain. He said that compared to £700 through taxes to support nuclear. Responding to the letter, Mr Barker said: The plummeting costs of solar mean weve got no option but to act so that we stay within budget and not threaten the whole viability of the FITs scheme. Although I fully realise that adjusting to the new lower tariffs will be a big challenge for many firms, it wont come as a surprise to many in the solar industry whove themselves acknowledged the big fall in costs and the big increase in their rate of return over the past year.
Times 7th Nov 2011 more >>
Peak Oil (Demand)
Global oil demand is expected to peak before 2020 as a “perfect storm” of regulation promotes energy efficiency, new technology and biofuel use across the world, according to a new study.
Telegraph 7th Nov 2011 more >>
A £1 billion government fund to subsidise Britains first clean coal power plant is likely to be carved up between developers after ScottishPower withdrew from the project. The energy group said that the subsidy offered by the Government was not enough. Even so, under plans outlined to The Times by the Energy Minister Charles Hendry, developers will have to fight to share the same pot of money and so make do with less than half the original up-front sum. The plan hinges on developers, which include Scottish and Southern Energy, Alstom and Peel Energy, winning hotly contested European funding. They will have to recoup the rest of their costs through a clean coal levy on consumers energy bills, which the Government has yet to detail.
Times 7th Nov 2011 more >>