News

Energy Policy – Scotland

Gina Hanrahan, Senior Climate and Energy Policy Officer, WWF Scotland: On 3 April, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with the Governor of California – the world’s sixth-largest economy – to sign an agreement that strengthens clean energy ties and mutual resolve to deliver strong climate action in line with the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. It was good to be reminded that, in spite of the recent roll back of US federal action to cut carbon, the clean energy transition is inevitable and unstoppable. Cities, states, companies and communities around the world are increasingly embracing clean energy solutions and the benefits they bring to citizens, such as warmer homes, cleaner air and high quality jobs. The Scottish Government is itself preparing to push forward with stronger efforts to build a thriving zero-carbon economy with a new Climate Change Bill in the pipeline, designed to implement the Paris Agreement.This will involve setting more ambitious long-term goals to limit temperature change to 1.5oC to protect the world’s most vulnerable people, places and species. To make good on collective Paris commitments, the new Bill must aim for Scotland to no longer contribute to global climate change by 2050 at the latest, balancing any remaining emissions from agriculture and food production with removing carbon from the atmosphere by, for instance, tree planting or new technologies. This would be particularly symbolic in the heartland of the industrial revolution. But setting new goals, however stretching, is never an end in itself. It’s the action to deliver on them that really counts. And that’s where Scotland has been falling short. Certainly, amazing progress has been made to expand our renewable electricity sector, where records continue to be set, but we’re still lagging behind on renewable heat and particularly on clean transport. As the Scottish Government’s statutory climate advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, recently emphasised, stronger action and new carbon cutting policies are needed just to hit existing legal climate targets, let alone more stringent ones foreseen in the new legislation. The Scottish Government’s recent draft Climate Change Plan should have been the opportunity to set out a clear pathway for slashing emissions and building a thriving green economy, but four cross-party Committees of the Scottish Parliament recently found the Plan fell remarkably short on new policy action and lacked credibility in key areas.

Scotsman 28th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Energy Costs

Theresa May’s proposed price cap on energy bills could leave consumers paying more and switching less in a move that has divided the industry, say energy experts. The Tories claim a regulated cap on all standard variable tariffs (SVTs) could save 17 million households £100 a year, and it is to be included in the party’s election manifesto. The move is designed to protect the energy customers who are languishing on expensive SVTs run by the Big Six – even though better deals are available.Power companies, campaigners and consumer activists are divided over whether the move really will save customers money.

Times 29th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Areva

French nuclear giant Areva was solely responsible for a controversial $320m (£250m) uranium deal, a parliamentary investigation in Niger has said. The 2011 deal, known as “uranium-gate”, involved companies in Niger and abroad. Activists have begun legal proceedings. It caused an uproar after a local paper said it had served as cover for officials to embezzle public funds. The report did not find any evidence of wrongdoing by any officials. Areva says it cannot comment on the report. The French company says it has not yet received the report. It has previously said it was co-operating with a French investigation into the case. Niger is one of the world’s biggest uranium producers and the metal is the country’s largest export. Opposition parties say the report has been botched and lacks integrity.

BBC 28th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Chernobyl

Ukraine has begun transforming the radioactive wasteland around the Chernobyl nuclear plant into a huge solar-power farm. The government wants to install enough panels inside the exclusion zone to produce 2.5 gigawatts of power — equivalent to about half the capacity of the plant before one of its reactors exploded in 1986.

Times 29th April 2017 read more »

The world remembers Chernobyl every April, especially on big anniversaries, but for some people the disaster and its aftermath remain a part of their everyday lives, write David Moon & Anna Olenenko. In this special interview for the 31st anniversary of the catastrophe, one of the last returnees explains what it was like to leave after the disaster, and to come back to an environment transformed in surprising and unwelcome ways.

Ecologist 28th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

US

SCANA Corp.’s 30-day agreement with Westinghouse Electric Co. that allows work to continue at the $16 billion V.C. Summer nuclear project expires today. But SCANA executives say they are confident that they can get a 60-day extension before time runs out. Meanwhile, work at the site continues to go more slowly than expected, adding to the chronic delays that have driven up the project’s price tag. And SCANA (NYSE:SCG) says it is watching efforts in Congress to extend production tax credits for nuclear plants. SCANA concedes that if they are not extended, it would make it difficult to continue with the project.

Charlotte Business Journal 28th April 2017 read more »

The “30-day window which ends imminently” on the fate of Westinghouse’s US nuclear power plant projects is “critical” to the national interest and to the interest of the industry as a whole, Dan Lipman of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has told the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle (WNFC) conference in Toronto, Canada. Westinghouse said it would no longer spend money on the Summer and Vogtle projects, but reached an agreement with the utilities involved to allow them to pay costs during a 30-day interim period.

World Nuclear News 28th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Uranium

Cameco Corp , the world’s second-biggest uranium producer, posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, partly hurt by the termination of a key sales contract, driving shares to a nearly five-month low. The stock fell more than 9 percent in Toronto trading to C$12.92, even though Cameco maintained its full-year guidance for deliveries and revenue. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, scrapped its uranium supply contract with Cameco, the company said in February.

Reuters 28th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Japan

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has revealed that the scrapping of the Tokai Reprocessing Plant, the nation’s first facility for reusing spent nuclear fuel, will cost an estimated ¥800 billion (£5.54bn), an official said. The state-backed JAEA did not reveal the cost to taxpayers in 2014, when it made the decision to shut down the plant in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, over a 70-year period. The facility started operation in 1977 as part of Japan’s desire to establish a nuclear fuel cycle, in which all spent fuel is reprocessed to extract its plutonium and uranium to make more fuel. The policy is designed to ensure resource-dependent Japan uses its nuclear fuel as efficiently as possible. The JAEA decided to scrap the sprawling plant after it became too costly to run under the more stringent safety rules introduced following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. The facility comprises around 30 buildings and has large areas rife with contamination caused by its task of disassembling spent nuclear fuel.

Japan Times 23rd April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Renewables – solar

ESB and Bord na Móna have announced a joint development agreement to deliver solar farms across Ireland, with grid connections already lodged for sites in Roscommon, Offaly and Kildare. The state owned electricity company, which pledged last year to build up to 30 ground-mount sites by the end of 2021, will use Bord na Móna’s land portfolio to build the new energy projects. Both companies have committed €5 million each to develop solar power across four locations.

Solar Power Portal 27th April 2017 read more »

UK solar developers are edging closer to deploying utility-scale solar without the need for subsidies, a panel of asset owners has said. Debating the future for solar in the UK at this week’s Managing European Solar Assets conference, a host of developers and asset owners concluded that subsidy-free solar at scale was between 12 and 18 months from fruition in the UK market with Lee Moscovitch, partner at Greencoat Capital, insisting developments were approaching feasibility.

Solar Power Portal 27th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Renewables – tidal

Brexit could see Scotland’s emerging tidal power industry fail to cash in on the commercial potential of its “world leading” technologies, the Scottish Energy Minister warned yesterday.

Energy Voice 26th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017

Energy Efficiency

The company behind the government’s Green Deal energy efficiency loan scheme is poised to start issuing finance packages once again. The Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) was acquired in January by Greenstone Finance Limited and Aurium Capital Markets in a £40m deal, after the government withdrew financial support for the loan scheme in the summer of 2015.

Business Green 28th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 April 2017