News November 2012

30 November 2012

Hinkley

Construction of Hinkley has slipped by a full two years. Contractor Laing O’Rourke is working on a timescale that would have the first concrete pour on the nuclear island take place in mid-2015, a full two years later than originally planned. This programme was confirmed by Laing O’Rourke head of new nuclear Norman Haste. The first pour is seen as a key milestone in the construction of the plant and Haste’s admission is the first firm indicator of how delayed the project has become. Developer EdF’s last official statement on project timescales was in February last year. Then it said that the first concrete pour would start in mid-2013. It has since refused to give revised details of the construction timetable, saying it would wait until it reached its final decision on whether to build the plant. This is due at the end of the year.

New Civil Engineer 28th Nov 2012 more »

New Nukes

Senior civil servants responsible for ensuring the building of the UK’s new fleet of nuclear power stations have been extensively wined and dined by nuclear industry lobbyists, documents released under freedom of information reveal. A hospitality register released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) show that the three most senior officials at the Office for Nuclear Development (OND) have received hospitality from nuclear industry representatives on dozens of occasions since the office’s formation in September 2009. Many of the meetings have taken place at some of London’s most luxurious restaurants, hotels and private members’ clubs. Craig Bennett, the director of policy and campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said: “It is the worst kept secret in Whitehall that the energy bill due out on Thursday is almost entirely being done to rig the market in favour of nuclear power. The so-called contracts for difference are all about providing not-so-hidden subsidies for nuclear. What the taxpayer should be asking is whether this succession of lavish hospitality has resulted in lavish subsidies for nuclear.”

Guardian 28th Nov 2012 more »

Spinwatch 28th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Bill

Ed Davey has insisted the policies outlined in yesterday’s Energy Bill will prove sufficient in convincing large energy companies to invest in the UK’s offshore wind industry. The Bill contains a commitment to treble the Levy Control Framework (LCF) to £7.6bn by 2020 to support low carbon energy development and seeks to put in place long term contracts for green generators known as contracts for difference (CfDs). However, the government put off a decision on setting a 2030 decarbonisation target for the UK’s power sector until 2016 at the earliest, which some critics have argued may unnerve investors. The UK intends to build out up to 32GW of offshore wind capacity by the end of the decade, but its plans to capitalise on the emerging industry have been hit by Vestas scrapping a wind turbine factory in Kent and Siemens seemingly wavering over investing in a similar facility in Hull.

Business Green 30th Nov 2012 more »

Green campaigners have hailed the end to new unabated coal-fired power plants in the UK, after the government used its newly-published Energy Bill to close a “whopping loophole” that would have allowed plants to avoid its carbon cap. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday updated its guidance on the so-called Emissions Performance Standard contained in the Energy Bill that aims to limit the amount of carbon pumped out by new fossil fuel plants.

Business Green 30th Nov 2012 more »

Ed Davey has today published the government’s long-awaited Energy Bill, hailing that landmark legislation as “good for the British economy, good for consumers, and good for the planet”. Davey stressed the Bill will introduce a so-called Final Investment Decision (FID) Enabling process, which will allow the Secretary of State to deliver the early introduction of CfDs for “shovel-ready” clean energy projects in an attempt to head off a feared investment hiatus. The powers raise the prospect of a raft of new clean energy projects taking significant steps forward within the next few months, led by EDF’s proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, negotiations over financial support for which are expected to be finalised by the end of the year, enabling the company to make a decision on whether to continue with the project. RenewableUK, the Nuclear Industry Association, and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, issued a joint statement predicting the reforms “would help to unlock billions in investment in low carbon generation, enable the UK to meet its energy security and climate change targets, and create thousands of jobs”. “The Coalition Agreement pledged not to subsidise new nuclear reactors,” said Greenpeace Nuclear Campaigner Richard George. “Yet the Energy Bill offers massive public subsidies to anyone willing to build new nuclear reactors. Such overt public subsidy may breach European Law and would force cash-strapped households and businesses to pick up the tab for this expensive and risky technology. Greenpeace’s QC will be looking closely to see if the government has broken the rules and put clean, safe renewable energy at an unfair disadvantage.”

Business Green 29th Nov 2012 more »

U.K. lawmakers began considering legislation today that will revamp electricity markets, part of a 110 billion-pound ($176 billion) effort to spur construction of nuclear, gas and wind power plants. “The Energy Bill will attract investment to bring about a once-in-a-generation transformation of our electricity market, moving from predominantly a fossil-fuel to a diverse low-carbon generation mix,” Energy Secretary Ed Davey told lawmakers in Parliament today to introduce the legislation.

Bloomberg 29th Nov 2012 more »

Essential legislation to power low-carbon economic growth, to protect consumers, and to keep the lights on was introduced to Parliament by Edward Davey today. Following extensive consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny, the Bill sets out radical reforms to the design of the electricity market that will kick-start a renaissance in construction of low-carbon energy infrastructure and in low-carbon manufacturing supply-chains.

DECC 29th Nov 2012 more »

Will the Energy Bill really add £178 to fuel bills? Dissecting energy bill numbers.

Carbon Brief 27th Nov 2012 more »

It’s better late than never: serious energy efficiency measures have finally made it into the government’s energy plans, albeit only as a consultation. But after the vicious fight over the energy bill, published today, we should be grateful for small mercies.

Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »

Reforms to the energy market announced on Thursday will yield “once in a generation” opportunities to cut bills and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the energy secretary, Ed Davey. Davey hailed the new energy bill as “the biggest transformation to Britain’s electricity market since privatisation” and the product of a “grand bargain” within the coalition – the legislation has taken months of tough negotiation between the parties.

Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »

Renewable UK: The importance of the energy bill, which will frame the investment climate for the next several decades, cannot be exaggerated. Although we are still digesting all the detail in the bill, the provisions announced last week do appear to provide the industry with the kind of assurance we’ve been calling for, with the government sending a message that the money will be available to ensure that 30% of our electricity will come from renewable sources by 2020.

Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »

Tom Burke: The Punch and Judy politics of the energy bill – which was heavily briefed last week, but formally published on Thursday morning – is widely believed to have been a victory for the chancellor over Ed Davey. A closer reading of what has been agreed suggests that the reverse is nearer the truth. All that has happened is that the decision on the totemic issue of a decarbonisation target has been put off until 2016 to await advice from the Committee on Climate Change. In the meantime, the government will take powers to set such a target in the bill by secondary legislation. The government has thus agreed to establish, in effect, a publicly owned purchasing body to buy electricity from the generators, with money to be raised by levying the suppliers. There is as yet no important detail as to how this body will work, what its legal status will be, its governance and what its precise terms of reference will be. This body will not be in place until after the bill has become law and until that point it cannot raise a levy or sign a CFD. Even so, investor confidence has been greatly increased. It is likely that very little of the money available under the levy cap – possibly a few hundred million – will be for new nuclear before 2020. This is consistent with the likelihood that it will take until then for any new nuclear stations to deliver electricity reliably to the grid. This raises important issues about the future of the levy control framework cap beyond 2020. The cap has been set to rise to £7.6bn by then. This will have been used to finance CFDs for renewables for a minimum of 15 years. Thus any CFDs for new nuclear would have to be financed from additional levies. These could amount to a further £5.5-12.6bn/year depending on the contracted price for new nuclear electricity. This would require the levy cap to rise to £13.1-20.2bn/year. Dream on. Without an increase of this magnitude there is no likelihood that the government can meet its goal of 16GW of new nuclear by 2025. If it does not meet this goal it will have to pay for other measures to find low-carbon replacements for the shortfall, or risk failing to meet the existing carbon budgets.

Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »

Wind farms risk losing billions of pounds of subsidies under the Government’s Energy Bill, which was published yesterday. Under the proposals, money from levies on household energy bills will instead go to heavy industry and large businesses to encourage them to cut their energy consumption. The renewables industry was in shock over the Government’s apparent change of direction, warning that Britain would risk missing its green targets. However, under the plans outlined yesterday big businesses, such as supermarkets, would be rewarded for cutting electricity use by installing equipment such as energy efficient freezers. The Government proposes to award them subsidies from the money set aside for low-carbon forms of generation.

Times 30th Nov 2012 more »

Ministers on Thursday unveiled long-awaited plans intended to encourage £110bn of investment in new power plants this decade, through subsidies paid for by increases in consumer bills. “Investors require clarity and stability before committing capital and there remains much detailed work to be done in order to achieve this,” Centrica said. The warning was echoed by others in the sector, with SSE and ScottishPower saying they would now need to review the details within thousands of pages the Government had published. “No one’s going to be rushing out to invest just yet,” one senior industry source said.

Telegraph 29th Nov 2012 more »

Radwaste

Storing nuclear waste beneath the Lake District could deter people from visiting, national park bosses claim. Councils in west Cumbria have expressed an interest in hosting an underground repository for waste from the Sellafield reprocessing plant. Although they have deferred identifying any potential sites until January. Now, the Lake District National Park Authority has told the government a repository “would not be in the long term interests of the Lake District”.

BBC 28th Nov 2012 more »

NW Evening Mail 29th Nov 2012 more »

This week the Lake District National Park have said they have “concerns” about the impact of a nuclear dump on the “brand” of Lakeland but have not voiced opposition to the government dump plan. They have however restated their SUPPORT for new build and new wastes! Tomorrow On Thursday 29th November as part of National Tree Week, Radiation Free Lakeland will be lighting a candle for the Brockhole Monkey Puzzle to apologise for being unable to stop the felling by a ruthless and ultimately unaccountable National Park Authority.

Radiation Free Lakeland 28th Nov 2012 more »

Plans for a huge underground nuclear dump which could be built near Silloth have been given an emphatic thumbs down at a public meeting in the town. All but one of the 350-strong audience who turned up to hear the views of two respected academics on the proposal voted against the dump. The show of hands came after the meeting on Sunday heard from Edinburgh University based geology Professor Stuart Haszeldine, and David Smythe, a retired Professor of Geophysics. Both men spent considerable time explaining why they believe the geology of the Solway Plain is eminently unsuitable for storing high-level radioactive waste.

Carlisle News and Star 28th Nov 2012 more »

Sizewell

Consultant WSP will be leading the transport assessment for EdF’s planned new nuclear power station Sizewell C in Suffolk, the firm announced yesterday.

New Civil Engineer 29th Nov 2012 more »

The Engineer 28th Nov 2012 more »

Hinkley

Two of the biggest questions that are asked when energy companies decide to build a new nuclear reactor are: “How much will it cost?” and “When will it be finished?” – In this case the energy companies in the NNB GenCo joint venture to build new reactors are French energy giant EdF and its partner Centrica. Both questions have the same – and only – answer: We’ll tell you when it’s finished. Just don’t expect that answer to come from the mouth of a nuclear industry lobbyist. (Two other big questions are: “Is it safe?” and “What are you going to do with all that nuclear waste?” They also both have the same answer: It’s somebody else’s problem.) Cases where nuclear reactors have been built on time and on budget are incredibly rare. There are only four other nuclear reactors being built in Europe right now. Construction of two new reactors at Mochovce in Slovakia began in 1985 and, after many delays and shortage of finance, they may be complete in 2012 or 2013. That’s a mere 28 years. The new reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland is currently six years behind schedule and at least €3.6 billion over budget. Another reactor, at Flamanville in France, is five years late and its cost has doubled to €6 bn.

Greenpeace 29th Nov 2012 more »

While Britain’s green movement remains split over nuclear power, a determined band of campaigners are staging their own protests against a planned nuclear plant in the south-west. Activist Theo Simon gives an insider’s view.

Theo Simon’s Blog 28th Nov 2012 more »

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD has been branded a cross between science fiction and a nuclear slum. The claims were made during a meeting of the House of Commons Public Affairs Committee, which gave nuclear bosses a two hour grilling following a damning Audit Office report on Sellafield. The report slammed Sellafield’s spiralling project costs, big salaries and potential risks. Committee members were given a tour of the Sellafield site before the two-hour hearing at Energus in Workington. Austin Mitchell, MP for Great Grimsby and former Yorkshire TV personality, was among the most critical members on the panel. He said: “It’s probably the biggest nuclear slum in Europe.” Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the panel, said: “There is a sense of urgency as you go around and coming to Sellafield has helped us recognise the enormity of the challenge.” Meg Hillier, former shadow energy minister, said: “There can be no doubt that public policy failure over many years lead us to where we are today.” Chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority John Clarke faced questions but it was said the authority had inherited “a legacy of poor planning and neglect over several decades when it took ownership of Sellafield in 2005”.

NW Evening Mail 28th Nov 2012 more »

Carlisle News and Star 28th Nov 2012 more »

Wylfa

ENERGY policy must focus on nuclear and renewables to land vital investment in North Wales, Albert Owen said yesterday. The Government yesterday announced a landmark agreement to encourage investment in costly infrastructure. Ynys Môn MP Mr Owen said the deal should boost the chances of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, but said ministers must move away from focusing on gas.

Daily Post 24th Nov 2012 more »

Hartlepool

A 620-MW reactor at EDF Energy’s Hartlepool nuclear power station came back online to supply Britain’s power grid on Wednesday, owners EDF Energy said in a statement. The number 1 reactor at the Hartlepool site in northern England had been offline since November17 for refuelling, and Wednesday’s restart comes as Britain’s power demand is forecast to increase over the next days because of colder weather.

Reuters 29th Nov 2012 more »

Dungeness

DUNGENESS B power station’s apprentice open day proved popular with youngsters who visited the site at the weekend. More than 80 young people went to the power station to learn more about a career with EDF Energy.

This is Kent 28th Nov 2012 more »

Aldermaston

Berkshire’s Atomic Weapons Establishment appeared in court today charged with three offences under the Health and Safety act. The charges relate to a fire at the Aldermaston site in 2010 – which left a worker with serious burns. The next hearing will be at Reading Crown Court on March 11th.

ITV 29th Nov 2012 more »

EDF

Investors took fright yesterday after reports that EDF, the French state-owned electricity giant, would have to reimburse customers in France €8.8 billion. Although the group denied the claim that every French household would receive a cheque of up to €250 as a result of a billing blunder, its share price fell to a record low of €13.79 in morning trading in Paris, before ending the day 1.3 per cent lower at €14.08.

Times 30th Nov 2012 more »

ONR

The Energy Bill will set out a clear governance model for the statutory ONR, giving it responsibility for five key areas: nuclear safety; nuclear security; nuclear safeguards; the transport of radioactive material by road, rail and inland waterway; and health and safety on nuclear sites. It will enhance the effectiveness of the civil nuclear security regime. The ONR will play a key role in addressing some of the top risks outlined in the National Security Strategy which are directly relevant to the sector.

DECC November 2012 more »

Magnox

Frazer-Nash has completed work at Oldbury power station as part of Magnox’s Generation Optimisation programme, helping the site to achieve and fulfil a four-year licence extension. The project follows extensive safety case work by the consultancy on the graphite cores at both Wylfa and Oldbury since 2003.

Process and Control Today 29th Nov 2012 more »

Chernobyl

The first section of a colossal arch-shaped structure that eventually will cover the exploded nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power station has been erected. Project officials hailed the raising of the structure as a significant step in a complex effort to clean up the consequences of the 1986 explosion, which remains the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Telegraph 28th Nov 2012 more »

Ireland

New Report assesses the risks to Ireland from incidents at Sellafield. Report concludes that incidents at the Sellafield site resulting in the release of radioactive material would result in “no observable health effects in Ireland” Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government today (27.11.2012) released the summary of a report prepared by an independent team of international experts which assesses the probable risks to Ireland from incidents at the Sellafield nuclear site. The Report concluded that incidents at the Sellafield site resulting in the release of radioactive material would result in “no observable health effects in Ireland”.

Irish Dept Environment, Community & Local Government 27th Nov 2012 more »

France

For decades, the elite engineers turned out by Paris’s grand Corps des Mines academy were faithful followers of the pro-atomic creed that transformed their country into the most nuclear-reliant nation in the world.But a new generation of Mines graduates is starting to question that policy. It is a change of mindset that could aid efforts by President Francois Hollande to cut reliance on nuclear power from 75 percent to 50 percent of the electricity mix by 2025.

Reuters 29th Nov 2012 more »

Japan

Next year Japan plans to bring its long-delayed Rokkasho reprocessing plant online, which could extract as much as eight tons of weapons-usable plutonium from spent reactor fuel a year, enough for nearly 1,000 warheads. That would add to Japan’s existing stockpile of 44 tons, 9 of which are stored in domestic facilities.

New York Times 28th Nov 2012 more »

Climate Change

The rate of sea-level rise in the past decades is greater than projected by the latest assessments of the IPCC, while global temperature increases in good agreement with its best estimates. This is shown by a study now published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and his colleagues compare climate projections to actual observations from 1990 up to 2011. That sea level is rising faster than expected could mean that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) sea-level rise projections for the future may be biased low as well, their results suggest.

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research 28th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Efficiency

By 2050, the European Union’s energy demand can be cut by two thirds by implementing energy-efficiency measures. This is the conclusion of a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI), which was commissioned by the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU). The study was presented in Berlin today. “Increasing energy efficiency is a field that holds huge potential. We can significantly reduce our energy demand. At the same time, around 90 percent of all energy-saving measures pay for themselves. Energy efficiency can lead to a considerable reduction in energy costs and even to profits”, commented Katherina Reiche, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry.

BMU 19th Nov 2012 more »

Global Cooling: Strategies for Climate Protection by Hans-Josef Fell. Green parliamentarian Fell is one of the fathers of Germany’s Renewable Energy Law, the seminal legislation guiding the country’s Energiewende. Fell refutes the tired line that saving the planet’s climate requires sacrifice, vast riches, and endless red tape. Rather than focusing on costs, he points out the gains of proactive policies overhauling our economies within clean energy frameworks. In a nutshell, there’s serious money to be made (and saved) in the greening of our societies, as well as other perks like energy security, reduced energy imports, job creation, poverty reduction, the generation of substantial tax revenue – not to mention quotidian environmental protection.

Renewable Energy World 30th Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

UK firm Hive Energy has announced it is investing £72m to build nine new solar parks with a combined capacity of 60MW and has a further 108MW in planning.

Business Green 30th Nov 2012 more »

Research reveals top five newspapers offering badly unbalanced view of wind power and other forms of renewables.

Business Green 28th Nov 2012 more »

Gas

The Government is about to publish a ‘Gas Strategy’ alongside the imminent Energy Bill. In that strategy, if reports are to be believed and if the pact between Treasury and DECC is followed through, we will hear a lot about unabated gas, gas hubs, gas into the 2030s, shale gas and so on. I doubt somehow, that we will hear much about a strategy for the development of ‘green gas’ which, estimates suggest, could support as much gas into our grids over the next twenty years as the much vaunted ‘shale gas revolution’ that may well feature in the gas strategy in the form of a green light for fracking. So in case you don’t, here’s a brief note on at least a component of what an alternative gas strategy might look like. The key points of the strategy go something like this: 1. Support the rapid expansion of Anaerobic Digestion plants of all sizes (the plant pictured above is sited on a large dairy farm) able to produce biogas from an input of animal, food and plant waste, 2. Inject the proceeds into the gas grid (or produce road fuel for large trucks), 3. Save thousands of tons of CO2 emissions (the biogas comes in at about net 11g CO2 per kwh compared with a minimum of about 400g for shale gas) 4. Replace fracked gas or imported liquid natural gas with a locally produced secure supply.

Alan Whitehead 28th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 30 November 2012

29 November 2012

Radwaste

The Lake District national park has added its huge clout to growing concern that nuclear waste burial in Cumbria is a dangerous and economically damaging non-starter. The park’s governing authority has written to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) minister responsible for nuclear waste, warning for the first time that fears about losing nuclear industry jobs in the region need to be balanced by potentially disastrous effects on tourism. The move follows two public meetings in west Cumbria last week which heard from geological experts that a “cracked and leaky dish” was the best that the area’s complex rock strata could provide to store material with a radioactive life of hundreds of thousands of year. In the lett er, the authority chair, Bill Jefferson, tells Baroness Verma, the junior energy minister: “There are growing and increasingly widespread concerns that a repository below the national park or indeed a perception of such a proposal would not be in the long-term interests of the Lake District, its farming and resident communities and visitor economy.

Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Bill

Today sees the publication of the government’s long-awaited Energy Bill. Catch all the latest news, analysis, and reaction here.

Business Green 29th Nov 2012 more »

The UK government is considering paying firms for cutting electricity use as part of plans to try to save energy and reduce costs. It is one of a number of proposals to be published alongside the Energy Bill. The government outlined the Bill last week. It included extra investment in gas, renewables and nuclear to be paid for by households. But it was criticised for failing to show how the plans would save the need for energy in the first place. Proposals to cut energy use will be published alongside the Bill when it is formally published on Thursday.

BBC 29th Nov 2012 more »

The government’s energy bill, which will be introduced on Thursday, is a “defining moment” for the UK that will unlock huge investments in new nuclear power and offshore wind farms, says the head of one of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers. But Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said in an interview that much still had to be done before his company could move ahead with plans to build Britain’s first nuclear power station since 1995. “It is not a done deal,” he told the Financial Times. EDF Energy is in negotiations with the government over what precisely that strike price will be. The company has made clear that it will not proceed unless it is adequate to underpin what is expected to be one of the UK’s largest and most expensive infrastructure projects. But critics warn that too high a price will amount to a big public subsidy for nuclear power. Mr de Rivaz said he expected the transitional arrangement – with the strike price – to be agreed before Christmas, by the time of the bill’s second reading. EDF was expected to take a final decision on Hinkley by the end of this year, but this is now likely to slip into 2013. EDF received a site licence for Hinkley this week, the first for a new nuclear plant in 25 years. The EDF Energy chief dismissed as “utter rubbish” claims that the strike price could end up being as high as £150 per megawatt hour – more than three times the current wholesale price of electricity. “You can’t expect an unbalanced deal to last long-term,” he said.

FT 29th Nov 2012 more »

In response to comments on my last post about the way in which politics at Westminster are cutting across serious policymaking on energy, I hold strongly to the view that the energy bill, which should be published this week, is a very messy solution. The Treasury does not agree with the level of subsidies being offered but has been forced partially to back down because of the political imperative of keeping the coalition together. The secretary of state Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, believes in setting medium-term targets on emissions but has been forced to back down and to accept a time-limited policy, which will be reviewed again after the next election. The result is that no one believes the policy being published this week is the right answer, or that it will endure beyond 2015. Scottish energy policy is now clearly diverging from that of England – hostile to nuclear and very supportive of wind power. Sixty per cent of UK wind power is now generated in Scotland, where it seems to aro use little of the hostility so evident in England. Even if the referendum is lost by the Nationalists, I can’t see these and other policies being brought back into line with a Westminster model. Indeed to win the referendum the unionist parties may have to promise more concessions – for instance giving the Scots more power to set their own tax rates for individuals and business. Nationalism is now entrenched in the Scottish system.

FT 29th Nov 2012 more »

Pro-green Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs are considering a plan to defy the Government and rebel over the Coalition’s compromise Energy Bill. The Bill, which is published tomorrow, is expected to fall short of demands by environmentalists that it should commit the UK to cut carbon emissions produced by generating electricity to a specified level by 2030. But in a move which will dismay Conservative ministers a cross party group of MPs led by the members of the Energy and Climate Change Committee are considering tabling an amendment to the Bill to re-introduce the commitment. With Labour and back-bench Liberal Democrat support the move could potentially have enough backing to defeat the Government in the Commons. Even if it failed there it could be reinstated in the House of Lords where campaigners believe the y have a majority in favour of the move.

Independent 28th Nov 2012 more »

The government’s refusal to set a 2030 target on decarbonising power generation and the “political vilification” of renewable power is deterring investment in the UK’s energy infrastructure, the chief executive of the world’s biggest wind power company has said.

Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »

Edward Davey, the Energy Secretary, said he plans to reduce electricity demand dramatically across the UK, as households face rising energy bills. Households, which are currently paying an average dual fuel bill of £1,300 a year, could get money back for each unit of electricity they save under the new plans. This would give a double financial reward, through lower bills and money back on top of this. The proposals come on the eve of the publication of the Energy Bill, which will pave the way for thousands of extra wind turbines and several nuclear power stations. Current estimates suggest bills will rise by £178 per household b y 2030 under the Government’s current package of energy measures. Within eight years, the cost of nuclear and wind farms is likely to make up £94 of the average bill.

Telegraph 29th Nov 2012 more »

In an attempt to assuage fears, the Government will today unveil plans to exempt energy-intensive industries from additional costs arising from the new long-term electricity contracts. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Decarbonisation should not mean deindustrialisation. There would be no advantage in simply forcing UK businesses to relocate to other countries.” Ministers are yet to specify which industries will be exempt, or how much money they will save. However, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the exemption would not affect the £7.6bn total for subsidies by 2020 – so would see other businesses and households pick up the costs instead. He insisted the impact of the exemption on others was “likely to be extremely small”.

Telegraph 29th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Bill Twitter Coverage.

Energy Desk 29th Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

Tidal lagoons and tidal fences, deployed in conjunction with tidal stream technology, wave and wind power could generate more renewable energy than a Severn Barrage and be far less harmful to the environment, a new report claims today. The research suggests that a combination of small-scale but innovative renewable energy technologies could provide up to 14 gigawatts (GW) of low carbon energy capacity, more than double the proposed Hafren Lower Severn Barrage, which the Government is currently reviewing. Today’s report, by renewable energy experts Regen SW and consultancy firm Marine Energy Matterswhich, said the multi-project approach would also enhance the UK’s position as a hotbed for new technology development and would be more acceptable to local communities.

Greenwise Business 27th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 29 November 2012

28 November 2012

Sellafield

AN MP has branded Sellafield a cross between science fiction and a nuclear slum. “And it’s probably the biggest nuclear slum in Europe,” claimed Yorkshire TV personality Austin Mitchell, now Labour MP for Great Grimsby. Mr Mitchell was among the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee MPs who yesterday gave nuclear bosses a two hour grilling over Sellafield’s spiralling project costs, big salaries and potential risks. The committee monitors public spending and wants to know whether Sellafield has wasted taxpayers money.

NW Evening Mail 27th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Bill

The U.K.’s 110 billion-pound ($176 billion) effort to reform the electricity market is unlikely to deliver on 2020 climate goals, a survey shows. The survey by law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP of 101 executives and investors in the U.K. electricity industry found 77 percent do not think the power market reforms will enable the country to meet legally binding goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Many thought the 2020 target to cut emissions 34 percent was over-ambitious, according to the survey.

Bloomberg 28th Nov 2012 more »

Hinkley

EDF, the French power company, and Centrica are closer to building the first new nuclear power station in Britain, following the granting of a Nuclear Site Licence (NSL) for Hinkley Point C by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The regulator has signalled its confidence that NNB GenCo, the new nuclear build subsidiary of EDF Energy, has developed the required organisation, management structure, plans and procedures needed for the construction, commissioning and operation of its proposed new nuclear power station in Somerset. Conditions of the licence include the development, implementation and maintenance of adequate safety arrangements throughout the life of Hinkley Point C.

Link2 27th Nov 2012 more »

Outlaw 27th Nov 2012 more »

In parallel with its assessment of the site licence application; ONR is working with the Environment Agency to assess the generic design of this reactor. Both regulators, through a process called generic design assessment (GDA), issued interim acceptance for the UK EPR design in December 2011. Subject to the receipt of necessary information from the designers to close a number of issues, they could make a decision on granting final acceptance before the end of 2012. The reactor nuclear island cannot be built in the UK until these issues are resolved.

Nuclear Engineering International 27th Nov 2012 more »

Horizon

Japanese company Hitachi yesterday completed its acquisition of German energy companies E.ON and RWE’s UK joint nuclear venture Horizon Nuclear Power for £696 million.

Energy Efficiency News 27th Nov 2012 more »

Nuclear Research

Nuclear power often gets a raw deal, partially for some very good reasons. The waste, for starters. It is difficult to know what to do with nuclear waste. It takes for ever to lose its radioactivity – so long that at the moment the only viable solution is to immobilise and store it. This is not ideal for obvious reasons. Nuclear accidents also get some rather scary press – Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Not that these weren’t nuclear or industrial accidents, they definitely were, but it is good to be a bit careful about throwing out the baby with the cooling bath water. Despite the downsides, the benefits of nuclear power should not be overlooked. It is not oil. Nuclear fuel does not produce CO2. Nuclear plants are relatively accident-free. There is plenty of radioactive material around currently. Nuclear fuel itself is non-renewable but breeder reactors produce more fuel than they use. The few cons there are, like storage and safety issues, are actually why governments need to fund nuclear energy research. Research monies for making safer reactors and better containment would be nice for a start, but government money needs to be found for “blue skies” nuclear research too.

Guardian 27th Nov 2012 more »

Nuclear Industry

Global Specialist Environmental Support Services business Silverdell PLC will be a platinum sponsor at the 2012 NIA/NI Annual Dinner on 6th December at the Grosvenor Hotel, London. This is THE premier event for the nuclear industry in the UK and brings together key players from across the UK nuclear industry, political scene and academia. The event follows The Energy Choices Conference and Exhibition, which takes place earlier in the day and offers the chance for industry experts to relax and network with colleagues.

Industry Today 27th Nov 2012 more »

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 20th to 26th Nov.

Greenpeace 27th Nov 2012 more »

Iran

Basque company ONA Electroerosion denied on Tuesday charges made by the Spanish tax authorities that it had smuggled machinery to Iran to use in the country’s nuclear programme.

Reuters 27th Nov 2012 more »

Iran is set to be in focus at a UN atomic agency board meeting starting Thursday, not only because of ongoing suspicions of a covert weapons drive but also over safety concerns over its only operating nuclear power plant. As well as highlighting Iran’s continued expansion, the IAEA’s report this month also said that fuel has been unloaded at Iran’s Bushehr reactor, shutting it down. Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said that the move was a “normal technical procedure” but Western diplomats said it raised fresh questions about safety at the 1,000-megawatt plant.

Middle East Online 27th Nov 2012 more »

Russia

All over the former Soviet Union, nearly 250,000 tonnes of pesticides and farm chemicals have been stored in ramshackle warehouses, land-filled or dumped. After the USSR splintered the authorities lost the thread, so no one knows exactly where this toxic waste is. Chernogrivov fears such dumps may be a bigger hazard than even nuclear waste because of the confusion surrounding them. France dispatches regular consignments of depleted uranium for processing at Severesk (formerly Tomsk-7), a closed military complex near Tomsk, but this circuit is under control. The same is not true of pesticides.

Guardian 27th Nov 2012 more »

Korea

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) describes South Korea’s nuclear power policy and ‘logical,’ but warns of the importance of independent regulation and international cooperation.

Nuclear Engineering International 26th Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

Representatives of Scotland’s green energy sector are to meet with the country’s Conservative Party leader, Ruth Davidson, after she became the latest Tory politician to launch an attack on wind farms. The Scottish Conservative Party leader said Salmond was “devastating” the Scottish landscape by encouraging the development of wind turbines, as part of his government’s efforts to generate 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity from renewables by 2020.

Business Green 28th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Efficiency

The government will this week announce a series of measures alongside its upcoming Energy Bill, designed to raise the profile of its soon-to-be-launched Green Deal scheme and enable some of the most ambitious energy efficiency policies in the world. Speaking to BusinessGreen ahead of the anticipated publication of the Bill later this week, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said the landmark legislation would incorporate a “big announcement” on measures to help curb energy demand. Barker insisted the Bill would also feature “the most ambitious approach to demand reduction we’ve ever seen in the UK”.

Business Green 27th Nov 2012 more »

The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) will today unveil a report showing the budget for energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor in England has been cut by 44 per cent, from £376m in 2009 to £209m in 2013. ACE estimates the cuts will reduce the number of insulation deployments in fuel poor households in England from 150,000 in 2009 to 100,000 next year. The report was commissioned by a coalition of businesses and organisations dubbed the Energy Revolution, which argue that using revenues from the sale of carbon allowances could slash fuel poverty in the UK by up to 87 per cent.

Business Green 27th Nov 2012 more »

Mirror 27th Nov 2012 more »

Retrofitting can cut carbon emissions by at least half in homes, but the costs of retrofitting at this level are still significantly more than the likely limits on expenditure under the Green Deal, the first independent analysis of the UK ’s leading domestic retrofit programme has found. The findings, published today, are the first to come out of the Technology Strategy Board ’s (TSB) £17 million Retrofit for the Future (R4tF) demonstration programme, which was set up to to find innovative green technologies to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of homes. The study also concludes that the supply chain is currently too underdeveloped to support large-scale retrofit.

Green Wise Business 22nd Nov 2012 more »

The Government’s new energy efficiency scheme could slap an extra £94 onto customers’ bills – double the amount previously estimated. That’s according to an independent report commissioned by trade body Energy UK into the Energy Company Obligation, which runs from January 2013 to March 2015. The ECO is replacing the CERT and CESP schemes which pay for energy saving kit such as insulation for the poorest and most vulnerable homeowners in society.

Energy Live News 27th Nov 2012 more »

Green Investment Bank

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has officially marked the launch of the new green investment bank (GIB) by announcing funding of a new waste-to-energy plant and an energy saving scheme. The small projects to build a new anaerobic digestion plant in Teeside and retrofit a panel-making factory in north Wales, involving investments by the GIB of £8m and £5m respectively, will soak up only a tiny fraction of the bank’s total £3bn in funding. Speaking before he formally confirmed the GIB was “open for business” on Wednesday morning in Edinburgh, Cable said these projects were proof of its wider ambitions to develop a low-carbon, clean energy economy. The GIB said the anaerobic digestion plant would be the first of six waste-to-energy power plants which would eventually produce 30MW hours of electricity, diverting more than 550,000 tonnes of waste from landfill. The GIB will spend £80m on that programme, with similar sums from private sources. The energy efficiency project to retrofit a number of factories run by Kingspan is expected to cut energy use by 15% at their sites.

Guardian 28th Nov 2012 more »

We are keen to show how important the renewable energy industry, from the work in the Orkneys on tidal wave energy to the new catapult centre in Glasgow, is to the UK’s overall energy policy. To demonstrate his point, Mr Cable and his Lib Dem ministers will be visiting the Whitlock Energy Collaboration Centre in Rosyth, one of Scotland’s newest education and research centres focusing on the renewable energy sector, before the official launch in Edinburgh.

Independent 27th Nov 2012 more »

Gas

Those who oppose natural gas on the grounds that all CO2 emissions are intolerable, are living in a fantasy world. Curbing supplies of natural gas immediately would simply lead to more use of coal and oil because renewable, zero-carbon energy is still relatively expensive. The result would be higher CO2 emissions and greater climate risks. Yet in the long run gas sceptics are correct. If the world is to meet the long-term climate goals that policy makers have embraced, it will need to start turning to zero-carbon sources within a decade or two. That will mean moving away from coal and natural gas, unless a cost-effective way can be developed to capture and store the emissions these create. It also means pursuing renewable energy and nuclear power, which today are the only commercially viable zero-carbon electricity sources. Parties should also agree that gas is far from a permanent climate solution. With that in mind, they should strengthen their efforts, individually and collectively, to promote innovation and development of cost-effective zero-carbon energy options. That would include fostering technologies to capture emissions from gas-fired power plants and laying the groundwork for policies to shift energy systems from natural gas to zero-carbon options when the time is right.

FT 28th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 28 November 2012

27 November 2012

Hinkley

The U.K. unit of Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) Monday said it got the nuclear site license for its planned Hinkley nuclear plant by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. EDF said granting of the site license is the recognition from the U.K.’s independent nuclear regulator that NNB GenCo, the new nuclear build subsidiary of EDF Energy, has developed the required organization, management structure, plans and procedures needed for the construction, commissioning and operation of the proposed new nuclear power station in Somerset.

Fox Business 26th November 2012 more »

BBC 26th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Business Review 26th Nov 2012 more »

HSE 26th Nov 2012 more »

Western Daily Press 27th Nov 2012 more »

Scotsman 27th Nov 2012 more »

FT 26th Nov 2012 more »

Utility Week 26th Nov 2012 more »

Construction Index 26th Nov 2012 more »

Independent 26th Nov 2012 more »

Centrica, which has a 20pc option to take part in the project, is widely expected to withdraw around the time of the final investment decision amid concerns over possible cost overruns and whether the project, which will not start generating power until early in the next decade, provides sufficiently attractive returns. EDF is in talks with companies including Chinese nuclear corporations about selling down its own stake in the project.

Telegraph 26th Nov 2012 more »

Sizewell

Specialist police cutting teams have moved in to break up a protest at the entrance road to Sizewell nuclear power plant. Police said four people have been arrested on suspicion of obstruction of a highway and taken to the investigation centre at Martlesham. A 23-year-old woman from Plymouth, a 37-year-old woman from Bridgwater in Somerset, a 38-year-old woman from Norwich and a 41-year-old woman from Geldeston, near Beccles, are all currently in custody.

East Anglian Daily Times 26th Nov 2012 more »

3,500 tonnes of spent fuel may be produced by Sizwewell C.

Peter Lux 26th Nov 2012 more »

A woman was charged with obstructing a highway after officers broke up an anti-nuclear demonstration outside Sizewell B power station. Protesters set up a blockade at 6.45am yesterday morning in protest against Government plans for nuclear expansion and the construction of a new facility at the site near Leiston. Specialist police cutting teams moved in six hours later to break up a human chain of four protesters blocking the entrance to the plant.

Eastern Daily Press 27th Nov 2012 more »

Eight protestors have chained themselves together outside the Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk. They are protesting about plans by the energy firm,EDF, to build a third power station on the site and store nuclear waste on the coast.

ITV 26th Nov 2012 more »

BUSINESSES in the town that will be most affected by the construction of any new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast have welcomed the boost it could bring to the local economy. However there are some in Leiston who have a number of concerns regarding EDF’s proposals for Sizewell C.

Coastal Scene 22nd Nov 2012 more »

The construction of the Sizewell C nuclear plant will create more than 25,000 jobs over the next nine years, according to EDF Energy. The energy giant has revealed that a total of 5,600 construction workers will be based at the Suffolk-based site at the peak of building works should it be granted planning permission after a public consultation, with thousands of other positions also available. The new power station, which has been given the green light in principle by the government, would include two European Pressurised Reactors, as well as cooling water towers, a National Grid substation and waste storage facilities. Although work is being done to limit the impact of the building works on traffic Angela Piearce, EDF’s head of Sizewell C development, claimed that local residents were concerned over the disruption to nearby roads.

Assoc for Consultancy and Engineering 26th Nov 2012 more »

Horizon

Hitachi has completed its purchase of a project to build nuclear power stations on Anglesey and in Gloucestershire. The Japanese company will push ahead with plans to build two to three 1,300 megawatt nuclear power plants at both Wylfa and Oldbury. It says it wants to have the first reactor operational by the mid 2020s.

BBC 26th Nov 2012 more »

Gloucestershire Gazette 26th Nov 2012 more »

Bristol Evening Post 26th Nov 2012 more »

Engineering & Technology 26th Nov 2012 more »

Business Green 26th Nov 2012 more »

Cumbria

The Cumbria 2012 and Beyond conference in Carlisle heard an upbeat forecast for the county’s economy, and the nuclear sector in particular. Welcoming delegates, Carlisle MP John Stevenson said: “We have a game changer for the county. “Construction of a new nuclear plant would give a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our county, providing growth right across Cumbria. “By 2025, the county would be a very different place.” Sean Balmer, commercial director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said that investment at Sellafield had risen from £0.97bn a year to £1.7bn since the authority had taken over in 2005. That was equivalent to the annual amount spent in London in the run-up to this summer’s Olympics. The figure could double if plans for a nuclear power station, a new Mox reprocessing plant and a geological waste-disposal facility come off.

NW Evening Mail 26th Nov 2012 more »

Cumberland News 26th Nov 2012 more »

Sellafield

The Public Accounts Committe of the House of Commons has travelled to west Cumbria to hear evidence from Sellafield bosses, following a damning report which highlighted historic safety failures and neglect at the site. The report found the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority faces a ‘considerable challenge’ in taking forward decommissioning at Sellafield. The Committee are due to start hearing evidence at 2pm in Workington. It follows an on site visit to Sellafield this morning.

ITV 26th Nov 2012 more »

The NAO report earlier this month found that hazardous waste was being stored in “run-down” buildings, and that the cost of decommissioning was spiralling out of control and was behind schedule. It also concluded that operators had failed to plan how to dispose of radioactive waste and some of the older facilities had “deteriorated so much that their contents pose significant risks to people and the environment”. Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said she would be asking “tough questions”. “We are going to see the site to meet those dealing with problems, then we are going to have a hearing with all the accountable and responsible people. “We are a value for money committee and so clearly we are going to be hearing whether the taxpayers’ money is being spent properly. “Looking at the NAO report I’m pretty shocked and appalled at delays in work and by how costs at the site keeps rising. We are a pretty tough committee and we will be asking searching questions,” she said.

BBC 26th Nov 2012 more »

Radwaste

Following criticism by Radiation Free Lakeland and others of the National Park’s complicity in the push for geological dumping of nuclear wastes under Cumbria the National Park has sent a letter to DECC. This is a purely tactical move to try to save face while not actually changing their position. The chair of the Authority, Bill Jefferson is from Silloth, an area which has angrily woken up to the reality that they are one of the areas in Cumbria being eyed up for having the world’s nuclear waste beneath them. Mr Jefferson is looking to appease his Silloth constituents with this letter and show “concern” while actually neatly toeing the government line and going along with the plan. The only caveats the NP have made are that the above surface facilities should not be in view from the National Park and that the dump doesn’t interfere with the “brand” too much.

Radiation Free Lakeland 26th Nov 2012 more »

Scotland

The Scottish Government’s target of generating 100% renewable electricity by 2020 is achievable but only if a number of issues are addressed, according to a report by the Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee. If these issues, which include a lack of the necessary skills, the planning process, certainty for investors and access to necessary levels of financing, are left unattended, says the Committee, there is a risk that the target might be missed.

Energy Efficiency News 26th Nov 2012 more »

Japan

A UN health expert alleged today that Japan hadn’t done enough to protect residents and workers affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident. UN special rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover said the government was overly optimistic of radiation risks and has conducted limited health checks following the partial meltdown of reactors at Fukushima nuclear power plant last year. The government has been previously criticised for cover-ups and delays in disclosing radiation information, causing evacuees to be unnecessarily exposed to radiation. Mr Grover said that ongoing health checks of residents fail to cover all radiation-affected zones stretching across much of Honshu, Japan’s largest island.

Morning Star 26th Nov 2012 more »

A United Nations rights investigator said yesterday that Japan has not done enough to protect the health of residents and workers affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Independent 26th Nov 2012 more »

Iran

A company from Spain’s Basque country smuggled machinery to Iran for likely use in the country’s nuclear programme through an elaborate scheme involving a shell company in Turkey, Spanish tax authorities said on Monday. Spain’s tax agency said the company had managed to send over seven machines designed to make parts for turbines used in energy plants, in a scheme that violated United Nations security council sanctions against Iran.

Trust 26th Nov 2012 more »

A US announcement that a conference on a Middle East free of nuclear weapons cannot be held as foreseen is a “serious setback,” Iran said Monday, accusing Washington of protecting Israel.

Middle East Online 26th Nov 2012 more »

Brazil

Investments in Brazilian nuclear energy projects will exceed US$6.5bn by the end of the decade, reports BNamericas. Edson Kuramoto, president of Aben, the country’s nuclear association, said that the industry has made a full recovery after what he called the ‘negative publicity’ surrounding the Fukushima disaster last year in Japan. Brazil is expected to have at least four new nuclear generation facilities before 2030. Projects underway include the Angra 3 power plant in Rio de Janeiro state that will increase the country’s installed nuclear capacity from 1.99 GW to 3.40 GW by 2016.

Modern Power Systems 26th Nov 2012 more »

Germany

Germany has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions significantly in recent years as it has pushed forward a renewable agenda leading Europe into an age of wind and solar power. In the past year, the country’s CO2 emissions fell by 2.4% compared with 2010, according to figures released by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The decrease, say experts, has largely come through a push towards renewable energy that has accelerated since the country began its move away from nuclear power. But as well as increasing Germany’s reliance on renewables, it also increased German dependence on coal-fired plants, a major source of CO2. While experts said there are no plans for new coal-fired plants, those already under construction will be finished. “If you have new plants now, they will run for 40 or 50 years and then you will have a problem with emissions in the future,” said Jan Burck, of environmental group Germanwatch.

Guardian 26th Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

Energy policy experts and a representative of the renewable energy industry will appear before the House of Lords Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy EU Sub-Committee on Wednesday 28 November as part of their inquiry into how EU energy can be decarbonised while keeping a lid on costs and helping to boost EU jobs and growth.

House of Lords 26th Nov 2012 more »

Climate

It might be slated as the United Nations Climate Change Summit least likely to deliver a major breakthrough, but the talks starting in Qatar this week could put in place crucial building blocks towards a promised new global agreement in 2015. Cast your mind back to this time last year, when world leaders emerged from the UN COP 17 summit in Durban, South Africa, waving an agreement to negotiate a new legally-binding treaty that would deliver deep emission cuts capable of limiting global temperature rises. The deal, dubbed the Durban Platform, was at the time seen as a major turning point as diplomats basically agreed to agree a treaty by 2015 that will come into force by 2020.

Business Green 26th Nov 2012 more »

Thorium

A Norwegian company led by Alf Bjørseth will start burning thorium fuel in a conventional test reactor owned by Norway’s government with help from U.S.-based nuclear giant Westinghouse.

Oil Price 26th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 27 November 2012

26 November 2012

Energy Bill

The legislation Ed Davey will publish later this week is probably as good as he was going to get, but it is not very good. What’s not in the energy bill is much for the fuel-poor, even though they are suffering most from rising bills. And there is no new commitment to the most effective green energy policy of all: cutting energy consumption. The UK is projecting a two-thirds rise in energy demand even while Germany, Europe’s manufacturing heartland, is projecting a decline of a quarter. There are few easy choices when costs are immediate and the benefit so distant, and especially during a slump. But all sense of the strategic decisions required has been lost in the tactical horse trading. These are bad decisions made in a bad way, and they will cost the country dear.

Guardian 25th Nov 2012 more »

It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the UK government to set an active industrial policy, one that will underpin the desired shift in power generation and leave a lasting economic legacy. Later this week, it will attempt to do so in the UK energy bill. But the results of policy to date are mixed. The companies at the forefront of Britain’s offshore wind power developments are not British but, among others, German and Danish (Vestas). Nationality of developers or manufacturers should not matter. What should be a concern, though, is if much of the necessary equipment ends up being built abroad.

FT 25th Nov 2012 more »

New Nukes

An old South Yorkshire colliery in Rotherham, which became a battleground in the UK miners’ strike of the 1980s, makes an unlikely spot for one of the most ambitious new nuclear build programmes in the developed world. But, if all goes to plan, it could become a vital part of the supply chain that will make components for the first new nuclear plant in Britain for more than two decades. Under a £400m deal with French energy group Areva, which will design the reactors for EDF, Rolls-Royce could build a component factory at the Yorkshire site. It is already home to an advanced manufacturing centre.

FT 25th Nov 2012 more »

Hinkley

Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation will move a step closer this week when a consortium of EDF and Centrica is expected to receive a key approval from safety regulators. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is expected to issue a nuclear site licence for Hinkley Point in Somerset to NNB Generation Company (NNB GenCo), the utilities’ joint nuclear venture. The licence, which could be issued as soon as today by ONR chief Mike Weightman, indicates that NNB GenCo has passed an 18-month assessment to show it is a suitable and competent company to build and operate reactors at the site. It is one of the three major regulatory approvals EDF and Centrica require before they can take a decision on investing in the project, at an estimated cost of as much as £14bn. Approval of the chosen reactor design, the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), for use in the UK is likely to follow in December, when a five-year design assessment process is completed.

Telegraph 26th Nov 2012 more »

Korea

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reviewed Korea’s energy policies and expressed that the country should build more nuclear reactors.

Energy Business Review 26th Nov 2012 more »

Gulf States

Saudi Arabia plans for solar power to deliver a third of its domestic energy needs by 2032, the most ambitious of a series of efforts across hydrocarbon-hungry Gulf states to promote renewable resources. The UAE – which, like other Gulf states, is heavily gas dependent – has announced plans to install 5.6GW of nuclear power to increase electricity generating capacity from 18GW last year to as much as 40.5.GW by 2030.

FT 25th Nov 2012 more »

Nuclear Weapons

It may sound like a plot straight out of a science fiction novel, but a U.S. mission to blow up the moon with a nuke was very real in the 1950s. At the height of the space race, the U.S. considered detonating an atom bomb on the moon as a display of America’s Cold War muscle.

Daily Mail 25th Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, said he took legal advice after John Hayes, one of his junior Tory ministers, called an end to wind farms “peppering” the countryside. In a newspaper interview, Mr Davey said he had written to the Prime Minister pointing out the energy minister had spoken out against Coalition policy. He also said there was a “question mark” over whether Mr Hayes should continue to be responsible for green energy. “I asked the legal department here whether there was a danger John had prejudiced himself because he had made these statements, and they said there was a danger. They said they could not say it would end up in judicial review, and challenging decisions in which he was involved, but there was a greater potential danger,” he told The Guardian.

Telegraph 25th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 26 November 2012

25 November 2012

Energy Bill

Aides to senior government ministers were at pains to insist that the energy deal finally signed off at about 6pm on Wednesday proved that both the Lib Dems and Tories were now in harmony on energy policy. One Whitehall figure sought to present the previous disagreement as a fairly standard round of negotiations between a spending department and the Treasury. In reality, the last two weeks have seen one of the most hard-fought coalition battles since the general election, with countless meetings and phone calls between senior figures and some particularly vicious in-fighting. An attempt to secure an acceptable subsidy cap for renewables and nuclear power – the levy control framework – was already subject to complex negotiations. The complex system (we are not allowed to call it a ‘subsidy’, even though it clearly is one) should give investors enough certainty to build wind farms, nuclear power stations and other renewable plants. There are still concerns that with Mr Hayes piloting the bill through Parliament he could accept various non-green amendments – which would plunge the coalition back into civil war. Relations between Mr Davey and Mr Hayes are now so bad that the pair are barely speaking, using email instead to communicate. The former has insisted that he must sign off any renewables paperwork put forward by his junior minister: it is a sign that while the hatchet is now buried this may not stay the case for long.

FT 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Energy reforms to be unveiled this week by the Government could cost consumers even more than expected and may even jeopardise the credit ratings of major supp¬liers, Ian Marchant, the chief executive of SSE, has warned. Government estimates show that policies to subsidise low-carbon power alone will add £95 to household bills by 2020. But Mr Marchant said the costs were likely to be even higher because of increased risks for suppliers who have to manage the collection of volatile subsidy payments. “From month to month, the costs to suppliers could vary enormously, introducing a new and unhealthy element of uncertainty into the energy supply market, which would increase the cost of capital,” he said.

Telegraph 25th Nov 2012 more »

Michael Meacher: The long-awaited Energy Bill, the subject of the worst in-fighting within the Coalition, is to be unveiled finally in this next week – barring further disruptions to the temporary ceasefire. There are two central issues that matter in this Bill. Will it enable Britain to de-carbonise the electricity supply sector by 2030, without which we will not be able to meet our carbon emissions reduction target of an 80% cut by 2050? And will the central thrust of the Bill be towards a renewables future driven by a major uplift in feed-in tariffs or is it framed to provide a massive hidden subsidy to nuclear? The Bill fails on both counts. the Bill’s real key (though well-camouflaged) objective is to lay the foundations for a new round of nuclear build. All but one of the bidders for the proposed nuclear renaissance have pulled out, partly because of the ever-rising cost of building a new reactor (now around £8bn), partly because of the huge expense of waste management and decommissioning, and not least because the costs of insuring against a major nuclear accident are prohibitively expensive if not uninsurable. The government have therefore inserted into the Bill the curiously named ‘contracts for difference’ which are meant to provide the crucial price guarantee that nuclear operators demand as a condition before they are prepared to enter the bidding process.

Michael Meacher 23rd Nov 2012 more »

At 7pm last night the phones started ringing in Energydesk towers. Word had got out that the government was unexpectedly announcing details of the biggest shakeup in UK energy policy in generations – just hours before print deadlines. The announcement was largely as expected, but there was something strange about the phone-calls. They weren’t from the usual suspects who have been following this story. In fact, some of the journalists closest to the issues have told Energydesk that just hours earlier their inquiries had been stone walled or denied by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It’s not so much about who was told – good reporters all of them – usually covering the business beat. It’s about who wasn’t. Almost all the main environmental reporters covering energy and climate change that we contacted had been left out of the loop including environmental reporters at mainstream media organisations who have covered the bill at every stage. Political reporters covering the story to see who would win in the coalition battle over decarbonisation (not the Lib Dems it turned out) were also firmly out of the loop. Instead political advisors to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change chose to brief a select few journalists, interested in business and with an understanding of energy but with relatively little prior knowledge of (or interest in?) the political fight their man had just spectacularly lost.

Energy Desk 23rd Nov 2012 more »

New Nukes

Letter: IF STEUART Campbell is ¬correct in his assertion that nuclear power stations in the UK have succeeded in paying their way without subsidy, perhaps he could explain why it was necessary for the UK Government to nationalise a near-bankrupt British Energy, before selling it to EDF for just £12.5 billion without passing on any responsibility for future decommissioning of current sites to the new owners? That, however, is in the past. If it’s going to be different in the future, perhaps Mr Campbell could explain why EDF wants a guaranteed minimum electricity price for nuclear of £140 per MW/h – well in ¬excess of what it costs to ¬generate from fossil fuels and most renewables, whether in receipt of subsidy or not?

Scotland on Sunday 25th Nov 2012 more »

Anoosh Chakelian talks to Lord Hutton, chair of the Nuclear Industry Association, former business secretary, and Labour’s ‘nuclear renaissance man’. You’ve got to look at the costs of all of the low-carbon sources. It’s pretty clear now that offshore wind is at the high end of the scale of cost, and nuclear is at the low end.

Total Politics 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Sizewell

Conservation chiefs have pledged to do all they can to minimise the environmental impact of any new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast. They said there were a few concerns that had sprung out of EDF Energy’s initial plans for Sizewell C but were looking forward to working with the company to try and iron them out. The pledge came on the same day as the electricity giant held the first of its public exhibitions in Leiston yesterday.

Eastern Daily Press 24th Nov 2012 more »

AN accommodation hostel for up to 3,000 workers building the new power station is to be created in the Leiston area – but its exact location still has to be determined.

Ipswich Star 21st Nov 2012 more »

Hinkley

A group of protesters campaigning against the expansion of Hinkley Point, near Burnham-On-Sea, blockaded access to the power station on Friday (November 23rd). Police made four arrests after ten protesters halted access to the power plant on Friday.

Burnham-on-sea.com 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Scotland

Scotland is on track to miss virtually all its legally-binding targets to cut climate pollution for the next 15 years, according to the Scottish Government’s own senior energy official. Even if ministers adopt all the measures they have currently proposed to cut carbon emissions, Scotland will still fall eight million tonnes short of the target cut mandated by the Scottish Parliament for 2027 in the Climate Change Act. The revelation, which comes as Scotland seeks to promote its “world-leading” climate targets on the global stage, has been described as potentially disastrous by environmentalists.

Herald on Sunday 25th Nov 2012 more »

US

As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, the Energy Department today (Nov. 20) announced an award to support a new project to design, license and help commercialize small modular reactors (SMR) in the United States.

Lab Manager 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Middle East

Britain hopes a conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East could take place “as soon as possible”, after the United States said it would not be held next month.The U.S. State Department said on Friday that the conference could “not be convened because of present conditions in the Middle East and the fact that states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions for a conference”. It did not spell out when or if the event, originally scheduled for December, would take place. But Britain, which along with the United States, Russia and the United Nations is ones of the organisers, made it clear that the conference was only being postponed rather than cancelled altogether, saying it backed efforts to hold it next year.

Reuters 24th Nov 2012 more »

Iran

When the aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis returns to the placid blue waters of the Gulf with her strike force of 70 jets in the next few days, she will be ready for action off the coast of Iran.

Telegraph 25th Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

ED DAVEY, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, has taken legal advice to have his Conservative deputy stripped of his responsibilities for green energy policy in an increasingly bitter coalition battle over wind farms. Davey appealed to David Cameron over comments made by John Hayes, the energy minister, who is a firm opponent of onshore wind power. The fallout comes as Britain’s onshore wind-farm industry is under threat from councils using new planning rules to block the construction of thousands of turbines.

Sunday Times 25th Nov 2012 more »

Telegraph 24th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 25 November 2012

24 November 2012

Radwaste

People in West Cumbria have 10 weeks to influence a key decision on whether the area should look to host an underground nuclear waste dump. That was the message from Aspatria councillor Bill Finlay at a public meeting attended by more than 250 people on Wednesday. The meeting at Maryport’s Wave Centre was organised by campaign group Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump (Spand). It heard from geologists Professor David Smythe and Professor Stuart Haszeldine about the potential consequences of building an underground repository. Prof Smythe said building a nuclear dump covering an area the size of Carlisle would create massive waste spoil with toxic chemicals which, when excavated, could seep into watercourses and the sea. Both professors said large areas of eastern England were more geologically suitable than West Cumbria, with London providing the best rock type.

Times & Star 23rd Nov 2012 more »

A rallying call has been made for Cumbrians to lobby councillors over plans to further investigate the geology of the county for a nuclear waste dump. A decision will be made on January 30 as to whether the county should proceed with the search for a high-level repository in Cumbria. At a meeting of the campaign group, Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump (Spand), its chairman John Hayward urged people to write to Cumbria County Council cabinet members and executive members of Copeland and Allerdale Councils before the decision is taken. He said Spand was not against nuclear power or the principle of an underground repository. Its concern was that a nuclear dump could be pushed through by the Government in an area where the geology would not be safe. Aspatria councillor Bill Finlay said objectors could inform councillors that they would not vote in future elections for anyone who had voted in favour of staying in the dump project. Speaking at the meeting in The Wave Centre at Maryport were geologists Professor David Smythe and Professor Stuart Haszeldine. They told the 250-strong audience that research for the Nirex inquiry in the 1990s, had already ruled out the whole area as unsuitable. Prof Haszeldine, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “We know more about the underground geology of this part of the UK than any other part. “This is an extremely complicated geological area.”

Carlisle News & Star 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Energy Bill

The U.K.’s plan to collect 7.6 billion pounds ($12 billion) for low-carbon projects by 2020 would advance Electricite de France SA’s nuclear plants and add about a third to consumer electricity bills, analysts said. The sum, announced today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, will help pay for the 1.1 billion pounds of support a year needed to build two European Pressurized Reactors made by Areva SA (AREVA) for use at EDF sites in England, as well as renewable plants, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.

Bloomberg 23rd Nov 2012 more »

The government has published details of its long-awaited Energy Bill, designed to keep lights on and emissions down. It will allow energy firms to charge households an extra £7.6bn until 2020, which will go towards the development of low-carbon electricity generation. A decision about setting carbon emission targets for 2030 has been delayed until 2016, after the election.

BBC 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Andy Atkins: There’s no getting away from it: today is a kick in the teeth for everyone working towards a low-carbon future in the UK. After months of delay, the Government has announced the contents of its ‘Energy Bill’, due to be formally published next week. Ignore the Government spin, the headline news is this: the Bill doesn’t contain a crucial target for making our power sector carbon-free. It’s a green light for business-as-usual, high carbon, high cost energy generation for decades to come. While some media headlines are claiming £100s will be added to the average household energy bill to pay for more green power, in reality this announcement signals a continued addiction to expensive fossil-fuels.

FoE 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Dave Toke: Today’s announcement by the UK Government that it may allow several billion of pounds spending on green energy by 2020 is little more than hot air. There will be practically no new renewable energy projects unless the Government sets a good enough ‘strike price’, that is a high enough level of guranteed income per each unit of electricity generated. Independent renewable energy generators are likely to be frozen out of the market completely by the ‘contract for difference’ (CfD) arrangements they propose. The prospect of new nuclear power (which is not green anyway) seems increasingly unlikely. First let us deal with the nuclear hot air that abounds. I must say it is puzzling that press releases issued by EDF agencies and John Hayes, the Minister of State for Energy, give the impression that a deal with EDF over Hinkley C is imminent. But this is only puzzling if you ignore the tendency of Government, for six years now, to announce the imminent arrival of nuclear power. It is becoming a bit like ‘Waiting for Godot’. But on a rational level the propect looks exceedingly unlikely.

Dave Toke’s Green Energy Blog 23rd Nov 2012 more »

The Energy Bill is a sizeable step in the right direction, but it could have been so much more if the coalition was united on the green economy.

23rd Nov 2012 more »

Millions of hard-pressed families were today told that an extra £3 a week on their energy bills would be a “reasonable price” to pay for more wind farms and nuclear power stations.

London Evening Standard 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Energy market reform: Six things you need to know.

Energy Desk 22nd Nov 2012 more »

While the Coalition partners squabble over the Energy Bill, civil servants are already negotiating with EDF Energy over the price of new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. The government is planning to issue long-term contracts to anyone building low-carbon electricity infrastructure: new nuclear reactors, wind turbines, solar installations, etc. Central to this will be a strike price – a guaranteed price for electricity that starts out above the market rate and is supposed to reflect the levelised cost of the specific technology. The energy minister John Hayes expects to publish the strike price for Hinkley Point by the end of the year. But there’s much more to a contract for difference feed-in tariff than the strike price. It’s the small print that will determine whether households and businesses are being ripped off or if government secured a great deal for billpayers. Here are three questions to ask.

Energy Desk 22nd Nov 2012 more »

The Liberal Democrats are claiming to have won a victory in the now open warfare with their Tory coalition partners over green energy in the form of a new mandate that would require the National Grid to expand the amount of energy generated from renewable sources.The chancellor has vetoed the original Lib Dem plan to introduce a de-carbonisation target before the next election, but the energy secretary, Ed Davey, claims that the Treasury has sanctioned him to give advice to the National Grid on the need to prioritise renewable energy, adding that it is implausible that the National Grid will not follow these very clear signals. He says he now intends to use that power within months to send the message “very clearly” to increase the ratio of green energy consumed. Davey also states publicly for the first time that he asked the prime minister to remove responsibility for green energy from his energy minister John Hayes, a known anti-windfarm campaigner.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, defended his green energy deal on Friday, after coming under fire for dropping a carbon emissions target and adding to consumers’ rising energy bills. After months of infighting, Mr Davey finally compromised with his Conservative coalition partners, agreeing a deal that will pave the way for an energy bill next week. But Mr Davey gave up the Lib Dem demand for a 2030 electricity sector decarbonisation target, which would have pleased environmentalists but angered owners of gas-fired power stations.

FT 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, said: “The coalition has caved in to Osborne’s reckless dash for gas and banged the final nail in the coffin of Cameron’s pledge to lead the greenest government ever.” There was also criticism from the Committee on Climate Change, the independent emissions watchdog. Its chairman, Lord Deben, said scrapping the 2030 target left a “high degree of uncertainty for investors”. The coalition deal elicited broad support from energy companies, which had been dismayed by the political skirmishes. EDF Energy, which plans two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, described the planned introduction of the bill next week as a “very positive step” that would give “further clarity to investors”. Maria McCaffery, head of RenewableUK, the wind power trade body, said the financial support showed “rock solid support across government for renewable energy” and provided the industry with “exactly the kind of assurances we’ve been calling for”. While most of the focus on Friday was on the potential impact on household bills, there was also relief at measures contained in other parts of the new framework. The government spelt out its plans to introduce “contracts for difference” – long-term contracts that guarantee stable revenues for investors in low-carbon energy projects at a fixed level known as a strike price. It said it would create a new, government-owned body to act as a single counterparty to the contracts, implementing a key recommendation of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. Analysts said the proposal would give investors more confidence that future governments would not simply alter the terms of the contracts for difference in the event of a change in energy policy. But much remains unclear. The energy bill will not include strike prices for the contracts, which will be published only next year.

FT 23rd Nov 2012 more »

In allowing George Osborne’s dash for gas to run, the coalition has staked our energy bills on a long-odds gamble. We’ll all pay the price. Ministers are effectively negotiating with one company for the nuclear power it believes is needed soon – scarcely the scenario to deliver a bargain for energy bill payers. Those building new gas plants are demanding payments too, in case carbon targets mean the plants can only run part-time. Of course, renewable energy providers are also arguing hard for their subsidies. But they have a trump card: while the cost of gas and nuclear power is on an upward trend, the cost of green energy and its subsidies is already falling. The greatest failing of the new energy policy is the woeful underplaying of the cheapest option of all: energy efficiency. Almost all the incentives are aimed at producing more power, none at reducing the demand. Why is the UK planning for an increase in electricity demand of up to two-thirds in 2050, when Europe’s manufacturing powerhouse, Germany, is planning for a cut of a quarter? Overall, in the great energy gamble, we’ve chosen a long odds bet rather than back the favourite and we will pay the price.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary at the heart of those negotiations, reckons that the agreement has taken as long as four months to forge in part because he wanted an ambitious, all-encompassing deal. “Rather than have a continual battle and address it all issue by issue, I thought it was better to have a grand bargain, and address everything at once,” Davey explains. The deal includes an energy bill due to go before parliament next week, a new gas strategy, and a cap on the amount that energy companies will be able to add to energy bills to help pay for new nuclear reactors and renewable energy. You only start paying when the power station is constructed and starts generating. It will only hit bills much later on, by which time the economy will hopefully be doing a lot better and when other policies designed to reduce bills take effect and more than offset the impact on bills. The renewable energy sector claims the delay in setting a carbon target is a big mistake, since investment lead times in the energy sector are so long that the industry needs to know now what demands will be placed on it by the government for 2030. That in turn places a threat to the government’s overriding statutory obligations. Davey points out that the renewable energy target set by Tony Blair for 2020 was only set at EU level in 2008, 12 years ahead of when it needed to be met. “If we set the decarbonisation target in 2016, it will be set 14 years ahead of when it needs to be met,” he says.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Reaction and analysis on the energy bill deal struck between coalition partners that will see levies for low carbon energy rise but a 2030 carbon target delayed.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Sizewell

Two Suffolk councils have set out what they expect Sizewell C’s developers to contribute to the county in return for building the power station. EDF Energy has today made public their planning proposal for Sizewell C and the Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG) is keen to ensure that Suffolk residents and businesses benefit from the investment into the county whilst protecting one of the county’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Suffolk County Council 21st Nov 2012 more »

THE energy giant behind plans for a third nuclear reactor on the Suffolk coast is holding an apprentice information day next month. The open day for the firm’s “advanced nuclear apprenticeship scheme” will include information on how to apply, qualifications needed and a tour of Sizewell B. It is taking place at Sizewell Sports and Social Club, St George’s Avenue, Leiston, at 10.30am on Saturday, December 1.

East Anglian Daily Times 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Hinkley

At 6am this morning 10 protestors blockaded access to EDF energy’s nuclear sites at Hinkley Point, preventing the morning shift from starting work. 4 people in arm locks formed a barrier across the main access road at Wick Moor Drove in a bid to prevent further ground clearance work at the planned Hinkley C site and to protest at EDF’s plan to extend the life of aging reactors at the Hinkley B station.

Stop Nuclear Power 23rd Nov 2012 more »

This morning, as the Energy Bill was making headlines, ten people were setting up a non-violent blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station. It’s a sure sign that building new reactors will be an uphill struggle. The first new nuclear power station in the UK for decades is supposed to be built in Hinkley Point, on the West Somerset coast. As often happens when you’re dealing with the nuclear industry, plans have gone somewhat awry. Local people are furious, because they don’t believe the government or EDF, who want to build the reactor, are listening to them. Some are worried about hundreds of lorries trundling past their front door. Others worry about the nuclear waste that would be stored on-site for decades. Many would just rather the money being spent propping up the nuclear industry were spent on affordable, sustainable renewable power.

Greenpeace 23rd Nov 2012 more »

ITV 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Companies

Companies in West Cumbria will travel to Asia to help a nuclear power plant get back on its feet after last year’s tsunami and earthquake. Flimby’s Forth Engineering and Workington’s TIS Cumbria Ltd are among 12 companies nationwide to go on a trade mission arranged by UK Trade and Investment, Britain’s Energy Coast and the Nuclear Industry Association. The companies will jet off tomorrow to South Korea where companies are looking to draw on the West Cumbrian firms’ experience in the nuclear industry, especially their knowledge of decommissioning.

Times & Star 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Finland

Since the November 4, 2012 a cocktail of poisonous chemicals leaked from the Talvivaara mine in Eastern Finland to the surrounding rivers and lakes. An investigation of the Finnish Environment Institute found high levels of aluminium, cadmium, nickel, uranium and zinc in the released waste waters. In a big demonstration led by people from Eastern Finland on November 14, 2012 about 1,000 people demanded to close the mine. A petition with some 18,000 signatures was handed over to the Minister of Environment. The number of signatures is still increasing – as of November 18 about 20,000 people signed the petition. At the same time a small rally took place in Oulu.

Nuclear Heritage 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

Donald Trump’s warning that wind turbines will do “tremendous damage” to tourism in Scotland has been rejected by MSPs. Despite claiming to be a world expert in tourism, Mr Trump’s opinion was dismissed as “anecdotal” in the conclusions of an inquiry into the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets. The American business tycoon is locked in a planning battle to stop an offshore turbine development being built in view of his north-east golf course.

Herald 24th Nov 2012 more »

Business Green 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Click Green 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Scotsman 24th Nov 2012 more »

THE environmental lobby has been split by a major new report endorsing renewable energy targets. Greens passionate about the need for wind turbines were celebrating yesterday, while mountaineers and ramblers were deeply disappointed. Holyrood’s economy committee concluded the Scottish Government’s ambitious green energy targets could be met. MSPs said Holyrood and Westminster should work together on the issue, that the constitutional debate was not affecting investment, and that tourism was not being damaged by wind farms.

Herald 24th Nov 2012 more »

Yesterday saw the publication of an upbeat report from the Economy Committee at Holyrood, claiming the target of generating 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020 is still feasible. However, there is a caveat. Green energy targets could be jeopardised by lack of finance. As committee convenor, Conservative Murdo Fraser, put it: “The overwhelming message from investors was that strong leadership and a robust and reliable investment climate and subsidy regime are critical for the targets to be met.” As if to emphasise the point, the Coalition Gove rnment yesterday finally published details of its long-awaited Energy Bill, following weeks of bitter wrangling between Chancellor George Osborne and the Liberal Democrats. The Chancellor wants to bridge the looming energy gap with cheap gas and plans to announce a new generation of gas-fired power stations in his forthcoming Autumn Statement. Meanwhile the LibDems want gas out of the energy mix altogether by 2030, replaced by renewables.

Herald 24th Nov 2012 more »

Scotland’s Economy, Energy and Tourist Committee has said a number of issues must be overcome if the country is to meet its 2020 target of 100 per cent renewable power generation. The organisation said local authority planning departments are under pressure due to high volumes of applications. It supported attaching higher planning fees for large-scale applications, in return for the government working to minimise duplications. In addition, it said the process needs to be adjusted to give greater consideration to the local economic benefits of community-generated renewables schemes. The committee also said Renewable Obligation Certificates must be finalised, in order to provide the confidence investors need to support infrastructure development. It found that a skills shortage presents further risk to achieving the target and that educational investment m ust be aimed at science, technology, engineering and maths. Grid challenges remain in integrating intermittent renewable power supply, as well as making projects on the country’s surrounding islands economic. Although no evidence exists on the effect of green projects on the country’s tourist industry, more must be done to examine this, as the sector plays a major role in Scotland’s economy. Lastly, the country is currently ahead of where it needs to be for its heat target, but an ongoing delay in the introduction of a domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) may hamper the ability to reach the 2020 goal.

Newnet 23rd Nov 2012 more »

RENEWABLE Resources (Energy Solutions) has reported a 10-fold increase in turnover as corporate customers flocked to install solar panels. The New Lanark firm recorded £21 million of income in the 12 months to the end of June this year, up from just £2m in the previous period. Around 80% of the revenue booked was from commercial and business customers. The business has benefited from winning a contract to install solar panels on Sainsbury’s stores and has since completed more than 100 projects for the supermarket giant.

Herald 24th Nov 2012 more »

Ireland

More than 70% of Ireland’s electricity could be produced from renewable resources by 2030, a new report out has claimed. The research commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Northern Ireland said the availability of energy from wind, wave and sustainable biomass was significantly larger than the projected demand for the next 18 years. Geoff Nuttall, head of WWF, said: “We hope this is a contribution to tackling the big challenges we have on the island of Ireland in relation to energy. We do have an urgent issue in relation to our energy. We are importing 99% of our primary energy needs from fossil fuels.”

Belfast Telegraph 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Microgeneration

This week’s micro power news: Domestic-scale solar market is continuing to struggle; Ice Cream man calls for more local invetment in wind; Solar Trade Assoc says mid-sized solar installations a missed opportunity; solar prison & church.

Microgen Scotland.org.uk 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Green Deal

Should you sign up for the Green Deal? Interest rates have yet to be set but Mr Barker has said he expects them to be between 6 per cent and 8 per cent. An interest rate of 7 per cent would mean that a household taking out a Green Deal loan of £5,000 would have to pay back around £10,600 over 25 years and deliver energy-efficiency savings of £425 a year to cover the cost of annual repayments.

Times 24th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 24 November 2012

23 November 2012

Radwaste

A DATE has been set for the vote on whether to press ahead with a process that could see the UK’s high-level nuclear waste buried deep beneath Cumbria. Copeland Borough Council, Cumbria County Council and Allerdale Borough Council will all vote on January 30 whether to progress to the next phase of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership’s consultation. The vote was originally due to take place in October but the councils put the vote on hold due to uncertainties about the legality of withdrawing at a later stage.

NW Evening Mail 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Energy Bill

The Government has reached a landmark agreement on energy policy that will deliver a clear, durable signal to investors, Edward Davey announced today. The Energy and Climate Change Secretary said: “This is a durable agreement across the Coalition against which companies can invest and support jobs and our economic recovery. “The decisions we’ve reached are true to the Coalition Agreement, they mean we can introduce the Energy Bill next week and have essential electricity market reforms up and running by 2014 as planned. The Bill will include the creation of a Government-owned company to act as a single counterparty to give investors confidence to enter into new long term Contracts for Difference for low carbon electricity projects.

DECC 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Government ditches Energy Bill decarbonisation target until 2016. The government today stands accused of surrendering to a “blatant assault on the greening of the UK economy”, after it confirmed it would delay a decision on whether to include a decarbonisation target in the upcoming Energy Bill until after the next election. In a statement released at midnight, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey confirmed a deal had been brokered with the Treasury after long-running negotiations that will allow the Energy Bill to be published next week.

Business Green 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Ed Miliband has today launched a blistering attack on the government’s green record, accusing the chancellor of “pandering to climate sceptics” and calling on the prime minister to take urgent action to ensure the upcoming Energy Bill includes a decarbonisation target for the power sector.

Business Green 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance, said: “Ed Miliband has demonstrated a good understanding of the UK’s energy infrastructure challenge.. Government has to provide certainty beyond 2020 so that companies can invest in British factories to supply the next generation of low-carbon power stations. There are already around 10,000 British jobs promised in new offshore wind turbine assembly alone, but they will be at risk if the coalition delay the decision on decarbonisation until after the election.”

Guardian 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Legally binding commitments to cut the amount of carbon that power stations can emit will not be included in the new Energy Bill following a bitter row within the Coalition. Green groups accused David Cameron of bowing to pressure from a “militant tendency” in Tory ranks by postponing a decision on whether to introduce the binding targets. However, the much-delayed Energy Bill will announce moves to triple subsidies for “clean” energy sources such as renewables over the next eight years.

Independent 23rd Nov 2012 more »

The Tories and Liberal Democrats have ended months of infighting over energy policy, finally agreeing a deal designed to reassure an industry rocked by political instability. An agreement to be set out on Friday will pave the way for an energy bill next week and comes after one of the most vicious coalition rows of this parliament. The compromise means Ed Davey, Lib Dem energy secretary, dropping a demand for a 2030 electricity sector decarbonisation target, which would have pleased environmentalists but angered owners of gas-fired power stations.

FT 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Energy bills are poised to rise by up to £178 a year under a deal struck between George Osborne and the Liberal Democrats to pay for a series of wind farms and nuclear power stations. Under the biggest reforms to the energy market in decades, households and businesses will have to pay £7.6billion a year towards the cost of building “greener” power stations by 2020. This is three times the current level of £2.35 billion per year, as bill-payers are forced to remunerate companies for several new nuclear plants, thousands of wind turbines and potentially “green” fossil fuel stations.

Telegraph 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Householders will have to pay up to £100 more a year for their electricity under Government plans to treble the levy on consumers to help to pay for nuclear power stations and windfarms.

Times 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Carbon Briefing: What will the UK energy bill contain?

The Carbon Brief 21st Nov 2012 more »

Investment in Energy Infrastructure and the Energy Bill. House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee 20th Nov 2012. Rt Hon Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Simon Virley, Director General, Energy Markets and Infrastructure, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Patrick Erwin, Head, EMI Strategy and Programme Office, Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Parliament 20th Nov 2012 more »

Energy firms will be allowed to triple the amount of money they add to customers’ bills to pay for renewable power, nuclear and other environmental measures, under plans to be announced by the government next week. Davey appeared to have lost his battle for a target to totally decarbonise the electricity supply sector by 2030: instead the bill will say that a decision on that will be made by the next government in 2016. Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: “The coalition has caved in to Osborne’s reckless dash for gas and banged the final nail in the coffin of Cameron’s pledge to lead the greenest government ever.”

Guardian 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Electricity bills could rise by £75 a year by 2020 to fund a new generation of wind farms and nuclear reactors, it emerged last night. And by 2030 annual bills will go up by an estimated £178 under all the Government’s green and fuel poverty policies. A green energy strategy to be unveiled next week will treble the costs levied on bills from £2.35billion a year to £7.6billion.

Daily Mail 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Hinkley

Glastonbury is deserving of a new relief road should a nuclear plant be built. That’s the view of the town council, who fear the tourist trade will be bruised and battered by heavy construction vehicles to and from Hinkley Point C. Alarmed that 400 lorries could thunder through the town every day if Hinkley C gets the go-ahead, members of the council are preparing to lobby Somerset County Council and plant owner EDF to build a new relief road.

Central Somerset Gazette 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Sellafield

NUCLEAR chiefs will be held to account in public on Monday for massive over-spending of taxpayers’ money at Sellafield – and potential risks from old plants. At a hearing held at Energus (Lillyhall), they face a grilling from the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee over serious concerns highlighted in the National Audit Office Managing Risk Reduction at Sellafield report. Under scrutiny will be George Beveridge (Sellafield Ltd deputy managing director), John Clarke (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority chief executive), Mark Higson (of the Office for Nuclear Development at the Department of Energy and Climate Change) and Phil Wynn Owen (acting permanent secretary at DECC).

Whitehaven News 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Letter: Margaret Hodge MP is quoted as saying: “Hazardous radioactive waste is housed in buildings which pose intolerable risks to people and the environment”. I cannot recall either Coun Moore or Coun Woodburn suggesting that we are at risk as a result of inappropriate/deteriorating storage facilities for hazardous nuclear waste. After years of membership of the WCSSG, and many thousands of pounds of remuneration, surely we might expect them to have recognised and broadcast such a risk? I think people might also question the wisdom of members being beholden to the nuclear industry as a result of the allowances they are paid from the nuclear industries purse.

Whitehaven News 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Cumbria

The only way Copeland can survive the brutal budget cuts it faces is by hosting a new underground nuclear waste repository, says MP Jamie Reed.

Whitehaven News 19th Nov 2012 more »

Letter: “The only way Copeland can survive the brutal budget cuts it faces is by hosting a new underground nuclear waste repository.” Wot? Are we building it next year along with Mox2, Thorp2, Prism and a power station? Why not move Faslane to Sellahaven and Coulport to a dredged Ravensglass for good measure?

Whitehaven News 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Decommissioning

With highly lucrative contracts on offer, and superior levels of technical expertise being demanded, multinational consortia dominate the bidding for this kind of work. The Babcock Dounreay Partnership (BDP), a joint venture between Babcock, CH2M Hill and URS, was appointed PBO for the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness in April 2012. BDP’s contract is the first in the UK to take a decommissioning site through to completion. It will run until Dounrey reaches interim end state, sometime between 2022 and 2025. This is the point at which all buildings have been cleaned out or demolished and the radioactive waste is made safe for long-term storage or disposal. To meet this milestone, 180 structures have to be dismantled, 50 of which have had radioactive activity. BDP says that its plan, executed through site licence company Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) will reduce costs by more than £1bn to £1.6bn, and cut more than 10 years from the decommissioning plan. Sellafield in Cumbria has arguably the most complex nuclear legacy in the world, a mixture of military and civilian nuclear facilities packed into 6km2. Here around £500m is spent on decommissioning projects annually, and this figure is projected to rise to £700m. At Sellafield some 200 structures are contaminated by nuclear activity. But even though 100 decommissioning projects are already under way, timescales for full remediation of the site run to 2120 – more than 100 years away.

Construction Index 22nd Nov 2012 more »

France

An ageing fleet of nuclear power plants and retirement of half of EDF’s nuclear staff in the next 5 years are the main challenges the French nuclear safety watchdog is facing and will have to deal with, its new head said on Thursday.France, the most nuclear-reliant nation in the world, will have to decide in the next few years whether to extend the lifespan of its 58 nuclear reactors to over 40 years, at a time it is trying to cut its reliance on the atom and an amendment during passage of the Bill to take powers to set a decarbonisation target range for 2030 in secondary legislation.

Reuters 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Turkey

Can the new Turkish-Russian nuclear plant be a model for safe energy, or will it be an environmental and proliferation risk?

Foreign Policy 21st Nov 2012 more »

Iran

Iran appears to be just days away from starting feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into four new cascades of centrifuges at its underground enrichment site at Fordow. Those cascades, of 174 centrifuges each, are being vacuum tested which is usually the last step before piping in the uranium gas. The impression given at the technical briefing was that these new cascades would almost certainly be producing 20%-enriched uranium, which is the main proliferation concern and the leading source of international tension over the Iranian programme.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2012 more »

Russia

Russian leaders have affirmed the strategic and economic importance of nuclear technology to the country, announcing that spending will rise and a major development program will be accelerated.

World Nuclear News 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Trident

Ministers are neglecting the threat to Britain’s nuclear deterrent of an independent Scotland by refusing to make contingency plans for a “yes” vote, MPs and peers have warned.

Telegraph 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

Today the Faroe Islands will demonstrate how the remote outpost may hold the answers to the challenges presented by intermittent energy renewable sources, with the unveiling of trailblazing smart grid technology. The country is to inaugurate a new “virtual power station”, which uses an advanced IT system to balance the grid by shifting supply and demand across the islands in matter of seconds.

Business Green 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Reports of turmoil in a futuristic plan to generate 15% of Europe’s energy from Saharan solar power have been stoutly denied by the chief executive of the Desertec initiative, Paul van Son. The Desertec alliance of companies intends to begin transmitting energy by underwater ‘interconnector’ cables from countries such as Morocco and Tunisia to Europe by 2015. But it has been hit by the withdrawal of two major investors, Siemens and Bosch in recent weeks, while the Spanish government has reportedly backed away from a deal to build solar plants in Morocco, citing the initiative’s complexity. Even so, van Son was upbeat when asked if the €400-billion project was in crisis.

Guardian 20th Nov 2012 more »

The rush to complete 10-MW+ solar photovoltaic projects before removal of feed-in tariff availability saw 981-MW added in September, according to data from federal grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNA). Year-to-date German PV installations now stand at 6.2 GW, bringing the grand total to 31 GW. The country has a target of 52 GW, beyond which all new subsidies are to cease.

Platts 21st Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 23 November 2012

22 November 2012

Energy Bill

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has confirmed the long-awaited Energy Bill will be unveiled next week, but admitted the final details of the legislation, including the issue of whether or not the bill will incorporate a decarbonisation target for the power sector, are still yet to be finalised. Speaking to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Davey reiterated the bill would be published before the end of the month, confirming it would be released alongside a detailed impact assessment and consultation responses next week.

Business Green 20th Nov 2012 more »

Because of continuing delays to the Energy Bill, it is now certain to be a ‘carryover bill’, as the Secretary of State confirmed to DECC select committee yesterday. This means that the Bill along with any amendments to the legislation considered necessary by the new ‘consultation’ will not reach the statute books until the spring of 2014 at the earliest. Secondary legislation then has to enact clauses in the Bill. If Cameron had not intervened, had waited two days for OFGEM to report, and then had enquired about how their proposed mechanisms might work, we would be looking at a new tariff regime coming into place next summer. As it is, an identical new tariff regime will now not come into place until a year later.

Alan Whitehead 21st Nov 2012 more »

Energy Costs

Political risk for investors is sending the cost of new power infrastructure soaring, says an industry insider. Bill payers will pick up the tab, whichever tariff they are on. With “unholy war” raging between government ministers over energy and climate change policy, it’s time to assess the collateral damage and the bottom line is that it is you, the energy bill payer, that is being caught in the crossfire. Consumers might bear “a totally unnecessary extra cost” of £1bn a year. The executive told me: “The whole justification of the government’s electricity market reform (EMR) was to reduce the cost of capital, but the effect has been the opposite.” David Cameron’s refusal to grant Davey’s request and remove responsibility for renewable policy from Hayes shows clearly the prime minister has prioritised the demands of some backbench Tory MPs over the national interest, which requires all the low-cost, clean energy it can get. “The economic rationale behind this makes no sense at all,” said the executive.

Guardian 21st Nov 2012 more »

Industry sources said the cost of a new green scheme has been underestimated by up to £1.8 billion per year by Whitehall officials. The new policy, called the Energy Company Obligation, will begin to hit households next year at a time when rising gas prices have already pushed the average bill above £1,335 annually. Under the initiative, gas and electricity suppliers will be forced to offer poor households ways to save energy, such as insulation and more efficient boilers, which will be charged back to all households through bills. Ministers claim this will cost bill-payers just £1.3 billion per year or about £50 per household – the same as under current schemes to help poor customers. However, one major energy company told The Daily Telegraph that it is preparing for the cost of ECO to be up to £3.1 billion per year – or £125 per household.

Telegraph 21st Nov 2012 more »

Horizon

Japanese engineering firm Hitachi expects it will take four years to clear its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) through the UK licensing process, the firm said yesterday. Hitachi wants to use its ABWR technology on sites in Wylfa in north Wales and Oldbury in Gloucester following its acquisition of new nuclear build firm Horizon last month. Horizon head of communications Leon Flexman said Hitachi is expecting four years to clear reactor through the generic design assessment (GDA) – a four step licensing process excluding site specifics – beginning early 2013.

New Civil Engineer 21st Nov 2012 more »

Sizewell

More than 5,000 people are expected to work on the construction of a nuclear power station in Suffolk at its peak. EDF Energy wants to build Sizewell C next to an existing plant at Leiston. It would take nine years, with most workers housed on a new local ‘campus’. EDF also wants to create two park and ride sites, intended for construction staff, near the A12. A public consultation is being held ahead of any formal planning application.

BBC 21st Nov 2012 more »

British energy supplier EDF Energy has begun public consultation for the proposed nuclear power generating station in Suffolk, England. The facility would be built next to an existing plant at Leiston town. During the eleven-week consultation period, the firm expects the local public to have their say on areas such as the overall proposals for Sizewell C nuclear project, and associated development.

Energy Business Review 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Build 21st Nov 2012 more »

Utility Week 21st Nov 2012 more »

Dounreay

Work is due to start next year to clear up the most volatile and dangerous area of the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness. A former senior official says he has safety fears over the process to remove the highly radioactive waste from the shaft and silo of the decommissioned complex. Work is due to start next year on the most volatile and dangerous part of the complex the shaft and silo. Herbie Lyall, a former health officer at Dounreay, worked there for 30 years, he has serious concerns about how the job can be carried out safely. Mr Lyall said: “ is in my personal opinion the most dangerous place on the site.” It is estimated when all work is completed at Dounreay, 20,000 tonnes of radioactive waste will remain at the site.

STV 21st Nov 2012 more »

Reprocessing

Unlike Russia, Japan and several European countries, the United States does not recycle its used nuclear fuel. But new, advanced drivers are reviving the possibility of recycling the nation’s spent nuclear fuel. What will influence this decision and what conditions will need to be met first?

Nuclear Energy Insider 21st Nov 2012 more »

Japan

A Japanese robot designed to withstand high levels of radiation and extreme heat at damaged nuclear plants such as Fukushima froze on Wednesday on its first public demonstration.

Reuters 21st Nov 2012 more »

Toshiba has unveiled a four-legged inspection robot, which will carry out work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where people cannot go. The newly developed robot – simply called a Quadruped walking robot – comes equipped with a smaller wheeled robot that can be deployed to navigate hard-to-reach areas. The legged robot can negotiate stairs, uneven terrain, and is able to avoid low-lying obstacles.

GizMag 21st Nov 2012 more »

World Nuclear News 21st Nov 2012 more »

Belfast Telegraph 21st Nov 2012 more »

Wild mushrooms, a seasonal delicacy in many parts of Japan, have lost their magic. Tourism industry officials and restaurant operators have been aghast to learn that wild mushrooms picked far from the site of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture last year are showing high levels of radioactive cesium. Last year, only wild mushrooms picked in Fukushima Prefecture were found to have cesium levels that exceeded legal standards. This year, however, wild mushrooms from as far away as Aomori, Nagano and Shizuoka prefectures, all more than 200 kilometers from Fukushima, have been found to be contaminated with cesium.

Asahi 21st Nov 2012 more »

Burma

Burma’s government has said it will open the country to comprehensive international inspection in an effort to demonstrate that it does not have a covert nuclear programme. The regime said it would sign an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that would, if implemented, mark an important breakthrough in the regime’s relations with the rest of the world, and could help dispel longstanding suspicions that it is pursuing a clandestine programme in co-operation with North Korea aimed at building nuclear weapons.

Guardian 21st Nov 2012 more »

China

In its 12th Five-Year Plan finalized this past August, China committed about $290 billion to clean energy investments. The goal: to produce 20 percent of the nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2015. The world paid heed. President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union address warned that the U.S. needed to invest more in renewables lest the Chinese ace it out.

Bloomberg 21st Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

The country’s “first” commercial-scale biomethane plant connected directly to the grid was opened by The Prince of Wales yesterday. The 5MW anaerobic digestor should be capable of supplying renewable gas to 56,000 new-build homes when at maximum capacity in the summer with output falling by around 4,000 homes in the winter.

Business Green 22nd Nov 2012 more »

Scotland’s bid for independence bets on meeting ambitious renewable energy goals as much as on the dwindling riches of North Sea oil and gas. An estimated 90 percent of Britain’s oil and gas is in Scottish territory, but output is dwindling fast and with it any prospect that it alone could make Scotland viable as an independent economy. Last year production dropped 18 percent, its sharpest decline since peaking more than a decade ago. It was a setback for a British government struggling to revive its economy. But it poses a bigger threat to the smaller Scottish economy, with less to shelter it from sudden shifts in tax income, either from sinking output or falling oil prices. Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s energy minister, said the Scottish solution was to combine extracting as much of the remaining North Sea oil and gas as possible with levels of renewable ambition that outstrip EU-wide targets. Scotland is aiming for 100 percent renewable electricity by the end of the decade and having green power to spare.

Reuters 21st Nov 2012 more »

Energy Efficiency

The Big Six energy firms could miss targets aimed at reducing bills for vulnerable people because they say they are proving too hard to find. The failure to hit the targets could see the regulator, OfGem, broaden their scope in a bid to help the utilities meet their obligations. A spokesman for Npower said: “The industry is spending three times more on finding these customers than it is actually financing the delivery of the carbon saving. It’s ridiculous.” The Government’s CERT initiative requires all large domestic energy suppliers to make carbon savings of 293 Mt CO2 by 31 December 2012 through efficiency measures such as home insulation designed to reduce bills. But the bill payer funded scheme is designed to specially help the fuel poor.

Energy Desk 21st Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 22 November 2012

21 November 2012

Energy Bill

One thing we know will not definitively be in the bill next week or whenever this month will be measures to promote demand side reduction. Not that these measures are not being worked on- it’s just that the task of making something actually work in the context of the overall architecture of the Bill is proving somewhat difficult. It might be, of course that a relatively simple amendment emerges, which commits the Secretary of State to do something within a year, defines in outline what that might be, and then leaves the detail to secondary legislation. Those who object that this leaves too much to be coloured in down the line might reflect that this is where most of the proposals elsewhere in the Bill actually are, and that at least there’s a firm outline and timetable on the face of the legislation. But how then to do it? I’m chairing a PRASEG meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) which is presenting the findings of a very thoughtful Green Alliance study on how to place demand side reduction measures onto the Bill. It looks at the range of possibilities, and concludes that providing a revenue stream for demand side FITs through Contracts for Difference is the best overall way to proceed.

Alan Whitehead MP 20th Nov 2012 more »

The forthcoming (and much-delayed) Energy Bill, vital to keeping Britain’s lights on, is, by contrast, the subject of a power struggle that reminds Tim Yeo, the Tory chairman of the energy select committee, of “a laughable plot line from The Thick Of It ”. One insider describes Mr Osborne’s intentions as “malign”, while a leading Lib Dem calls the Chancellor and his henchmen “a cabal of vested interests” that are in thrall to the energy giants. Daveyites are convinced that Mr Osborne was free to promote Mr Hayes – whose views the Energy Secretary finds intolerable – and install the climate change sceptic, Owen Paterson, as Environment Secretary because of the “weakness” of a PM who once promised to lead “the greenest government ever”.

Telegraph 20th Nov 2012 more »

New Nukes

Despite the need for investment in new nuclear power stations, significant progress in power construction is not expected until 2014 due to ever-growing concerns over the government’s commitment to investment in nuclear and offshore renewables.

FT 20th Nov 2012 more »

Radwaste

Recent blackmail by nuclear cheerleader Jamie Reed that Copeland/Cumbria has to accept nuclear new build and the nuclear dump or else suffer the cuts has filled the pages of the local press. Rather a contrast to 6 years ago when he told the House of Commons: The experience of Nirex endured by my community in the mid-1990′s was so wretched that I was minded to entitle this debate ‘fear and loathing’ He added: “As long as I have any-thing to do with it Nirex will never dig another sod of turf in West Cumbria.”

Radiation Free Lakeland 20th Nov 2012 more »

Sizewell

Plans to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell will pave the way for a jobs bonanza in Norfolk and Suffolk – with the aim of employing 25,000 people over nine years. The announcement comes today as EDF Energy launches its public consultation on the proposed development of the Sizewell C power station, which will cost £6bn and generate enough electricity to power five million homes.

Norwich Evening News 21st Nov 2012 more »

ITV News 21st Nov 2012 more »

ENERGY giant EDF Energy has today revealed the first details of its proposals to build a third nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast. The weighty documents outline how the company plans to progress the multi-billion pound Sizewell C project. For the first time communities across Suffolk can see how they might be affected by the development which is expected to take between seven and nine years to build.

East Anglian Daily Times 21st Nov 2012 more »

The energy giant will publish extensive proposals for Sizewell C, which is set to bring a wave jobs and opportunities for local businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Eastern Daily Press 20th Nov 2012 more »

Oldbury

As Oldbury celebrates its 45th birthday – and plans are announced for a new nuclear power station on the site – Gerry Brooke takes a look back.

Power Engineering 20th Nov 2012 more »

Dounreay

Bo Wier looks at the challenges involved to complete one of the world’s deepest nuclear clean-ups, and at some of the innovative approaches being deployed to accelerate the programme whilst minimising cost. A vertical shaft, excavated in the 1950s for the removal of rock spoil during construction of an undersea tunnel for the Dounreay site’s effluent discharge pipes, and authorised in 1958 as the UK’s first Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) disposal facility, now represents one of the biggest challenges in the UK’s nuclear decommissioning portfolio.

Engineer Live 21st Nov 2012 more »

Hunterston

Hunterston B power station is holding a series of apprentice information days over the next month, to help local youngsters kick start a new career in the nuclear energy industry. They have put out an appeal for more women to come forward to take advantage of the apprentice opportunities available at the local power station site.

Largs & Millport Gazette 20th Nov 2012 more »

Energy Costs

Fears are mounting across the energy industry that the Prime Minister’s controversial plans to force companies to move customers on to the lowest available tariffs could cripple innovation across the industry, leading to the shelving of new green tariffs, electric car tariffs, and smart grid pilots.

Business Green 20th Nov 2012 more »

Ed Davey plans to make energy companies cut competing tariffs and put consumers on the lowest suitable price option. But will households really get cheaper energy bills as a result? Andrew Horstead, risk analyst for energy management firm Utilyx believes consumers are misguided if they think that this will lead to cheaper energy bills. He said: “Bills will continue to rise due to the impact of environmental taxes and social obligations, while the outlook for UK wholesale energy costs shows no sign of improvement. “In Germany, for example forward wholesale prices have actually dropped to their lowest level, in part due to a surge in solar and wind capacity, levels which the UK can only dream about. However, German energy suppliers have just raised domestic bills by 13% blaming rising environmental costs. Focus on tariffs is misplaced, what the government really needs to do is to engage with consumers and businesses to reduce energy consumption and promote energy efficiency.”

Guardian 20th Nov 2012 more »

In radical reforms, Edward Davey today called a halt to the confusion caused by hundreds of different rates on offer. Energy companies will be forced to switch anyone currently paying more than these four core tariffs on to a cheaper deal by the summer of 2014. Households will get to choose between a standard rate, a fixed rate and two other types such as a green tariff.

Telegraph 20th Nov 2012 more »

Energy bills will not get cheaper and householders will still have to shop around for the best deals despite government pledges to shake up gas and electricity charges. That was the claim from the energy industry and consumers last night after Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, announced plans to deliver on the Prime Minister’s commitment to get tough on high prices and confusing bills.

Times 21st Nov 2012 more »

For an interesting and creative perspective on the changes that are occurring in the energy sector take a look at the material being put out by Alexa Capital. Alexa is the brainchild of Bruce Huber the long-term guru of the renewables business at Jefferies. To illustrate what the report is about let’s start with a question – why has the power sector, particularly in Europe, lost so much of its value when electricity demand (other than from nuclear generation) continues to rise? On Alexa’s figures the combined value of Europe’s power utilities has collapsed by about 50 per cent since 2007 – from 900bn to 450bn today. The answer comes down to technology, and in particular, various forms of IT that are : creating much greater transparency in the market through liberalisation and unbundling; helping governments to set and enforce energy efficiency targets; permitting a shift to decentralised power generation; and changing the merit order of production in the power sector and so reducing profit margins.

FT 20th Nov 2012 more »

Politics

David Nussbaum: The prime minister has said very little publicly either on climate change or on wider environmental issues. The vacuum left by his silence has been filled by others in his party who seem determined to manipulate the debate around climate and energy policy for their own political ends. In 2008, George Osborne also talked of the need to “recognise the fierce urgency of now” in tackling climate change and pledged that a Conservative Treasury would “be in the lead of developing the low-carbon economy and financing a green recovery”. In office though, the chancellor has publicly promoted the fiction that green measures are a burden on our economy. His words, and those of others such as energy minister John Hayes, have undermined investor confidence and pushed up the cost of the capital UK businesses need to replace our obsolete, high-carbon energy infrastructure. Our country needs the jobs that these ill-advised words have jeopardised.

Guardian 20th Nov2012 more »

Nuclear Research

A £1.2 million centre to research the decontamination and safe storage of nuclear waste is being established at the University of Manchester in partnership with Sellafield Ltd. The aim is to complement research at Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute. The new centre will also, the university says, build on research programmes at its Centre for Radiochemistry Research and the Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning. Its remit is to develop new technologies, enhance understanding of key nuclear technologies and develop effective and sustainable decontamination approaches.

Cumberland News 20th Nov 2012 more »

Process Engineering 20th Nov 2012 more »

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 16th to 19th Nov.

Greenpeace 20th Nov 2012 more »

Czech Republic

The Czech authorities have temporarily blocked the state power company CEZ from signing a contract to build two nuclear reactors while they consider an appeal from France’s Areva against its disqualification from the tender.

FT 20th Nov 2012 more »

Iran

Iran is enriching uranium at a constant pace and international sanctions aimed at making Tehran suspend the activity are having no visible impact, the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said in unusually blunt remarks on Tuesday.

Reuters 20th Nov 2012 more »

Renewables

It has been widely thought that the arrival of cost-competitive rooftop solar PV systems would be the biggest game changer in the electricity market. But it may be that the emergence of affordable energy storage systems will have an even more profound impact.

Renew Economy 21st Nov 2012 more »

CCS

Fossil fuel-fired power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could produce electricity as cheaply as nuclear and renewable energy technologies by the end of the decade, a government-backed report has concluded.

Business Green 21st Nov 2012 more »

Britain’s prospects of meeting legally binding CO2 emissions targets have significantly improved after a government task force ruled that a complex technology which captures and stores carbon dioxide will be cost-effective on a large scale. Ed Davey, the energy secretary, said the report paved the way for Britain to become a world leader in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, adding that “deployment at scale will bring investment and jobs”. The report, the first to confirm CCS is commercially viable, found coal and gas-fired power plants fitted with the technology could generate electricity at £88 to £106 per megawatt hour by 2020. This compares to £92-£103 for onshore wind, £139 for offshore wind, £85 for nuclear and £116-£122 for biomass.

Independent 20th Nov 2012 more »

Posted: 21 November 2012