News

Russia

Russia on Tuesday sent a first shipment of spent fuel from Soviet-era nuclear-powered submarines to a reprocessing plant as part of an international effort to clean-up a dangerous legacy of the Cold War. The radioactive fuel from more than 100 reactors of over 50 submarines has been stored at Andreyeva Bay in north-western Russia, closed as a naval base in 1992, for the past 35 years. It presented a serious environmental risk, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which helps manage financing for the project, said.

Reuters 27th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Fukushima

Three former executives at Fukushima’s operator stand trial this week on the only criminal charges laid in the 2011 disaster, as thousands remain unable to return to homes near the shuttered nuclear plant. The hearing on Friday comes more than a year after ex-Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 77, and former vice presidents Sakae Muto, 66, and Ichiro Takekuro, 71, were formally charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury. The indictments are the first — and only — criminal charges stemming from the tsunami-sparked reactor meltdowns at the plant that set off the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Daily Mail 28th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Canada

Former AECL scientists are condemning a plan to build a nuclear waste facility at the Chalk River site on the Ottawa River, saying it would be ill-equipped to handle the level of radioactive material planned for it. The government-owned, private sector-operated Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is proposing to build a $325-million facility to dispose of a large quantity of low- and intermediate-level waste generated from the demolition of aging buildings and other contaminated material generated over the past 65 years. But several former senior scientists who worked there say the CNL proposal is seriously flawed and represents a threat to human health and the environment.

Globe & Mail 27th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Renewables

TRADE body Scottish Renewables has appointed Claire Mack, who currently works for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and was employed previously by telecoms regulator Ofcom, as its new chief executive. Ms Mack, who is director of policy and place at SCDI, will succeed Niall Stuart.

Herald 28th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Renewables – solar

Solarplicity has claimed its new solar initiative could save social housing tenants £200 million a year if they sign up to free LEDs, a smart meter and having solar PV installed where viable. Solar Power Portal reported earlier this month that the company was preparing a low-subsidy residential solar model aimed at social housing, claiming individual tenants could save £240 a year on average on their energy bills. In today’s formal launch, Solarplicity explained that having secured funding from European investor Maas Capital, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO Bank, it will partner with social housing providers to create a Community Energy Scheme providing the energy saving solutions. In addition, the company will offer ‘simply lower energy bills’ using a 100% renewable energy tariff following its acquisition of independent supply firm Lo CO2 Energy last month. Only one rate will be applied, with no standard charges irrespective of the payment method used. The initiative is the result of a detailed procurement process between Solarplicity and Alliance Homes, a social housing provider active in procurement activities for the social sector. The framework agreement enables more than 40 social landlords and 500,000 households to participate. It is expected that the scheme will reach 50,000 households in the next twelve months and 800,000 homes within five years, at which stage these tenants are forecast to save up to £200 million a year through the scheme.

Solar Power Portal 27th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

100% Renewables

A Chinese province with a population of 5.8 million has run entirely on renewable energy for seven days in a row as part of a test to show if the electricity grid can cope without fossil fuels. Hydro-electric schemes provided more than 72 per cent of the electricity in Qinghai between 17 and 23 June, with wind and solar supplying most of the rest, according to Climate Action, a group which works with the United Nations Environment Programme to share knowledge about new technologies that can help combat climate change.

Independent 27th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Renewables – Floating Turbines

Turbines for £200m Hywind project will be towed from Norway across North Sea and moored to seabed off north-east Scotland Adam Vaughan in Stord, Norway. The world’s first floating windfarm has taken to the seas in a sign that a technology once confined to research and development drawing boards is finally ready to unlock expanses of ocean for generating renewable power. After two turbines were floated this week, five now bob gently in the deep waters of a fjord on the western coast of Norway ready to be tugged across the North Sea to their final destination off north-east Scotland. The £200m Hywind project is unusual not just because of the pioneering technology involved, which uses a 78-metre-tall underwater ballast and three mooring lines that will be attached to the seabed to keep the turbines upright. It is also notable because the developer is not a renewable energy firm but Norway’s Statoil, which is looking to diversify away from carbon-based fuels.

Guardian 27th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Local Energy

A new kind of energy is lighting up schools, homes and businesses all over Oxfordshire: it’s renewable, locally owned and developed for community benefit. The People’s Power Station is an online platform showing the impact this ‘positive energy’ is making in Oxfordshire. We’re mapping locally-owned renewable generation across the County, and showing the contribution it is making to meet local energy demand. To get things started, we plugged in live generation data from the Low Carbon Hub community energy projects and other community-owned renewable installations, as well as information about Oxford City Council’s solar PVs. As the project develops we’ll be plugging in more and more renewable energy sites across the County. We want to work with you to plug in all locally-owned renewable energy generation – on schools, businesses, community assets and private homes – across the Oxfordshire. Together we can build a picture of its impacts and potential.

People’s Power Station (accessed) 28th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Energy Storage

With the explosive growth of solar power in the last decade in the UK, energy storage is the next obvious addition to solar plants. In fact, we are seeing a significant rise in energy storage being either retrofitted to, or developed with new-build, renewables projects. A recent example of this is the Vattenfall announcement that it is to press ahead with a multi-megawatt battery storage scheme at the largest onshore wind farm in Wales. This rapid change in the application of technology and innovation in the electricity generation and distribution sphere drives a need from developers and investors to be secure that the regulatory framework is keeping up with this change.

Solar Power Portal 27th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017

Carbon Capture & Storage

CARBON capture and storage (CCS) is too expensive and will “never be viable”, a former World Bank advisor claims. Economics professor Gordon Hughes, of Edinburgh University, says the anti-climate change measure is “little more than a utopian dream”. The claims are made in a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation think tank, set up by Tory peer and climate change sceptic Nigel Lawson. The body challenges scientific data on the impact of pollution and has called on the UK Government to scrap targets to reduce harmful fossil fuel emissions. David Cameron’s government had planned to invest £1bn in developing CCS technology in the UK. A scheme in Peterhead was amongst the projects in the running for the grant, alongside the White Rose project in North Yorkshire. However, the contest was axed in 2015, something Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said was a “disgrace”, and power firm SSE, which was working on the Aberdeenshire bid along with Shell, called it a “significant missed opportunity”. In 2015, Stuart Haszeldine, professor of geology and carbon storage at Edinburgh University, insisted the infrastructure in place for the oil and gas sector makes the central North Sea “as near to perfect as you will find anywhere in the world” for offshore sub-surface CCS.

The National 28th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 June 2017