News 2013

31 December 2013

Hinkley

LABOUR’S Shadow Department for Energy and Climate Change visited the Hinkley C site and Bridgwater College. Caroline Flint MP and Tom Greatrex MP visited Hinkley C and the Energy and Skills Centre at Bridgwater College last month. The aim of the visit was a fact finding tour, to establish the full impact of the Energy infrastructure project. Cllr Mick Lerry, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “Members of the Labour Group were able to discuss the implications of the construction stage of Hinkley C and how it was important to avoid ‘boom and bust’.

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Posted: 31 December 2013

30 December 2013

Energy Costs

Taxpayers will be forced to pay a green energy levy of nearly £20 million to meet the estimated costs from a programme that will not start until next summer at the earliest. National Grid has claimed that the cash will cover what it forecasts will be its costs from setting up the Government’s new programme of awarding green subsidies to energy companies. They include £148,500 in forecast “travel and subsistence” costs, including ferrying staff in company cars to meetings with officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The £19.3 million total cost will be passed on to domestic and business consumers from April 1, adding about 55p to household bills for that year. Ofgem, the energy regulator, has sanctioned the award, even though the Government has not officially selected National Grid to set up the new subsidy programme. The company will charge additional fees to run the programme. The coalition’s energy market reforms are set to go live next summer. They will allow billions of pounds of subsidies, funded by levies on consumers’ energy bills, to be awarded to wind farms and nuclear reactors. The new programme has been criticised as too complex and even some industry executives privately think it will prove to be unworkable.

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Posted: 30 December 2013

29 December 2013

Hinkley

Energy regulator Ofgem has said it will not investigate whether China is a suitable partner to help build Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations. Two state-owned Chinese companies, China General Nuclear Power and China National Nuclear Corp, are lined up to become co-investors with France’s EDF on the £14 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear plant project in Somerset. Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, one senior Tory MP called the deal a ‘Faustian pact’ for Britain, given concerns over China’s record in foreign affairs, alleged cyber attacks on Western industry and human rights abuses. But Ofgem said it will not examine China’s involvement as long as its companies are minority investors with EDF as the main holder of the electricity generation licence.

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Posted: 29 December 2013

28 December 2013

Radwaste

Letter Eddie Martin: The Whitehaven News must be warmly congratulated for its robust and uncompromising editorial (December 5) in criticising the Copeland leadership for the Orwellian double-speak and muddled thinking in its response to the government’s consultation on siting an underground nuclear repository (a GDF). Further, I really can find little of merit in CBC’s response to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It is anodyne and anaemic. And that is disappointing.

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Posted: 28 December 2013

27 December 2013

NuGen

Japanese group Toshiba has confirmed that it is in the final stages of securing a majority stake in a British nuclear power consortium, bringing a further boost to the UK’s ambitious nuclear programme. Confirming that Toshiba will also buy part of GDF Suez’s 50% stake when it acquires Iberdrola’s 50% shareholding, Tanaka said: “We want a majority to move forward. So we would want to take some of GDF’s share, but have them remain as an operator.” He added that securing a long-awaited majority holding in the NuGen consortium would guarantee a $14bn (£8.5bn) deal for Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit to supply three reactors for the project.

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Posted: 27 December 2013

26 December 2013

Energy Costs

Ministers have been accused of “conning” energy consumers over promised bill cuts after it emerged that a £5 “one-off reduction” in charges by network companies next year will have to be repaid the year after – with interest. The Coalition unveiled plans at the start of December to cut £50 off an average dual-fuel energy bill. As part of this, it announced: “Electricity distribution network companies are willing to take voluntary action to reduce network costs in 2014-15. “This would allow a one-off reduction of an average of around £5 on electricity bills, which energy suppliers will be able to pass on to their customers.” The Telegraph has learnt that the majority of the electricity networks companies plan to reclaim that £5 in full in 2015-16.

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Posted: 26 December 2013

24 December 2013

NuGen

Iberdrola has agreed to sell its 50% stake in the UK’s NuGeneration (NuGen) consortium to Toshiba for £85 million ($139 million). NuGen is the would-be developer of the proposed Moorside nuclear power plant.

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Posted: 24 December 2013

23 December 2013

Sellafield

The boss of the Sellafield nuclear site has blamed a “long and gruelling” cross-examination for providing MPs with inaccurate information. Tony Price, managing director of the facility in Cumbria, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this month that a vitrification plant, which turns radioactive waste into glass for storage, was working well, while many staff were unable to work there after a power failure had led to heavy contamination. When told of this the PAC’s chairwoman, Margaret Hodge, said that she would look at what Mr Price had said and that it was “a very serious thing to mislead” the PAC. Mrs Hodge has criticised the cost of decontaminating Sellafield but was told that the plant was an example of where the private-sector team working on the clean-up had given the taxpayer good value for money.

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Posted: 23 December 2013

22 December 2013

New Reactors

Up to 50 nuclear power stations could be built under plans being looked at by the government. The remarkable figure – 10 times the number the government is openly discussing – is revealed in documents submitted to the Department of Energy and Climate Change by one of its own advisory bodies. The documents are likely to raise questions as to what extent the government’s energy policy is weighted in favour of nuclear and away from renewables such as wind turbines. It comes as Brussels begins an investigation into whether Britain is providing up to £17bn of potentially illegal public guarantees for the first nuclear power plant in a generation, Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which aims to provide 7% of the country’s electricity. In a submission to a consultation on geological waste disposal, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management has said an upper limit of 75 gigawatts of nuclear power is “being examined” by the DECC in London.

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Posted: 22 December 2013

21 December 2013

New Nukes

Scotland has accused the UK government of being “hell-bent on ploughing billions of pounds” into nuclear power stations but restricting support for renewables, after three of its offshore wind farms were left off a list for fast-tracked funding yesterday. The new contract for difference (CfD) regime is due to open fully for applications in autumn next year, but the government yesterday unveiled a list of renewable energy projects that will be eligible for early support from March. However, no Scottish offshore wind farms were on the final list, despite three passing the initial application round, potentially putting 2.45GW of new capacity at risk. Four English offshore wind farms made the top ten, but Mainstream Renewable Power’s Neart na Gaoithe near Fife, SSE’s Beatrice in the Outer Moray Firth and the Inch Cape wind farm developed by Repsol Nuevas Energias UK and EDPR off the Angus coast were all left off the list.

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Posted: 21 December 2013