News

Nuclear Safety

[Machine translation] The safety of nuclear power plants around the world is worrying overall even if there is no immediate concern, said the president of the French nuclear gendarme (ASN) on Monday, citing the rise of a “systemic risk”. “There are more safety issues, more industrial issues, and on the other side companies that have economic, budgetary and financial difficulties. This gap between more things to manage and fewer means to do so, over time, carries risks per se, “explained Pierre-Franck Chevet during a debate on BFM Business. The President of the Nuclear Safety Authority has described as “unprecedented challenges” the reinforcement of safety in the day-to-day operation of the nuclear power plant, the extension of the life of the power stations (originally designed to operate 40 years) or the investments still to be made at the Japanese Fukushima plant. “My main long-term message is that the situation is of global security concern,” he said. “There is a risk, not immediate at all, for safety, but a systemic risk, and we have to deal with it.”

Boursier 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

South Africa

Greenpeace Africa has responded with outrage to Eskom’s announcement that it would be building and operating a nuclear power plant at Duynefontein, Western Cape, after getting the green all clear from the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Biz Community 16th Oct 2017 read more »

South African electricity utility, Eskom has secured approval from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to proceed with the construction of new 4GW nuclear power plant at Duynefontein in the Western Cape.

Energy Business Review 16th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

US

Ross is the mayor of Georgetown, population 65,000, and he has become a minor celebrity in environmental circles as a result of a pioneering decision in 2015 to get all the city’s electricity from renewable sources. Georgetown’s location in oil-and-gas-centric Texas and Ross’s politics add to the strangeness of the tale. The mayor is a staunch Republican at a time when a Republican president – and his Environmental Protection Agency administrator – reject the scientific consensus on climate change and are trying to revive the declining coal industry. “The revolution is here,” he said. “And I’m a good little Republican, a rightwing fiscal conservative, but when it comes to making decisions based on facts, that’s what we do.” The facts, Ross said, are that when Georgetown negotiated power supply deals the cost was about the same between natural gas and wind and solar, but the natural gas option would provide only a seven-year guaranteed contract whereas 20-25 year proposals were on the table from renewable providers. Georgetown officials decided to lock in a long-term rate to eliminate price volatility, mindful of the risk that future government actions might send fossil fuel costs soaring. Prices in the city, Ross said, have declined from 11.4¢ per kilowatt hour in 2008 to 8.5¢ this year. Georgetown sources most of its power from a wind farm 500 miles away in Amarillo and will get solar energy from a farm in west Texas that is expected to be finished next June, meaning the city can attain its 100% renewable goal even when the wind isn’t blowing. This year, Ross said, the tally is about 90%, down from 100% in 2016.

Guardian 16th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

France

[Machine Translation] EDF announced on Monday that it has extended to two other nuclear power plants its investigation into the potential unavailability of electrical sources in the event of an earthquake, as part of a security event reported in June to the Nuclear Safety Authority. The public electrician added that the necessary work on compliance has already been launched and that the extension of the survey will not affect production. “The analyzes showed that the robustness of the anchorages of certain ancillary equipment of the (emergency) diesels could not be demonstrated on the production units n ° 1 and 2 of Fessenheim and n ° 2 and 5 of Bugey, earthquake (…), while the characterization of production units n ° 3 and 4 of Bugey is in progress, “says EDF.

Yahoo 16th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

Japan

Kansai Electric Power Co. has decided to close two large, aging nuclear reactors at a power plant in Fukui Prefecture in light of rising safety costs that make restarting such facilities financially untenable. The Oi plant’s Nos. 1 and 2 reactors each have an output capacity of 1.18 million kW, making them Japan’s largest to be decommissioned aside from Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holding’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Both started operating in 1979. The Osaka-based utility is in talks with Fukui local governments and other parties to make a final decision before winter.

Nikkei Asian Review 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Co is likely to decommission two aging reactors at Ohi nuclear plant because of the high costs meeting new safety standards set after the Fukushima disaster, the Nikkei business daily said on Tuesday.

Reuters 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

Nuclear Testing

A remote area of Kazakhstan was once home to nearly a quarter of the world’s nuclear testing. The impact on its inhabitants has been devastating.

National Geographic 13th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

Renewables

Last year was another record breaker for renewables, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).Almost two thirds of net new power capacity worldwide came from green sources. Solar power accounted for a large part of the growth, with a 50% increase in capacity.

Energy Voice 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

Renewables – solar

The UK solar industry currently has 8.3GW of ground-mounted large-scale (>250kW) solar farms installed, across almost 1,200 sites, the majority of which are over 5MW in size. Until now, module selection has been seen by many as a commodity affair, often driven by minimising project capex, and less focused on the quality and reliability that ultimately underpin returns for long-term asset holders and investors. This article explains how the next phase of UK solar growth will see changes in module supply and energy-yield capability, owing to the rapid changes in the module supply landscape and the new technologies now coming through in mass production, and how this will impact the design of solar farms and the module suppliers that will be driving this.

Solar Portal 16th Oct 2017 read more »

All low carbon technologies should be able to access the same markets and compete on an equal basis for contracts according to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), whose latest policy consultation flies in the face of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy (CGS). Last week the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released its long-overdue policy paper for how the UK will meet its commitments under the Climate Change Act to 2032. In a move that has since been heavily criticised, it left solar as the only renewable energy technology not able to access large scale government support after onshore wind was let back into the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism in island locations. The day after the CGS was published the NIC released its national infrastructure priorities consultation which places carbon among the top three biggest threats to the country’s prosperity and quality of life over the coming decades. It points to ‘the imperative for a clear policy framework’ in low carbon energy and calls for the ‘successful exploitation of the falling costs of low carbon technologies’. As both the NIC’s document and the CGS state, solar technology costs have fallen by 80% since 2008/09 and yet the benefit of this to consumers has continued to be left absent from government policy. The Commission has therefore said it will consider how technology neutrality can be applied to government contracts “as far as possible” and promote fair market access across all technologies on the basis of how they compete on price. The document, released on Friday (13 October) has been supported by the Solar Trade Association (STA), which last week accused government of“artificially holding back” solar PV in its plans.

Solar Power Portal; 16th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

Renewables – onshore wind

A WIND farm developed by a housing association to fund new homes is in the running for a raft of awards. The new community wind farm in Berwickshire is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK. It is hoped it will generate revenue of £20 million over the next 25 years – enough to allow Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) to build 500 new homes. It should also produce enough energy to power about 5900 households. The wind farm, which has been named The Fisherman Three, has been shortlisted in the Best Community Project category of the Scottish Green Energy Awards, run by Scottish Renewables. Welcoming the new nominations, BHA’s chief executive Helen Forsyth said the wind farm would not only allow the association to build new homes but would also provide an initial community benefit payment of £37,500 per year.

The National 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017

Energy Efficiency

Laws to protect historic homes are costing residents half a billion pounds a year in higher energy bills, according to research published today. People living in listed buildings or conservation areas use more energy because the uptake of measures such as UPVC windows and cavity wall insulation is lower. The two million people who live in such properties would have saved £240 last year on average if their consumption had fallen at the same rate as others’ between 2006 and 2013. Researchers said the energy-saving measures were used less in such areas because they tend to be more expensive to fit or are limited by legal restrictions. Charles Palmer from the London School of Economics, who co-wrote the paper, said: “Preservation policies have inadvertently hindered some households from cutting their energy use . . . A compromise between preservation and improving energy efficiency would help. Local authorities could relax the rules on the use of certain materials to allow for energy-efficient windows.”

Times 16th Oct 2017 read more »

Preservation policies for listed buildings and homes in conservation areas could scupper the measures to improve domestic energy efficiency as set out in the newly-released Clean Growth Strategy.

Edie 16th Oct 2017 read more »

“A lot of people assume that to have truly green energy you’ve got to install solar panels or the like,” says Carrie. “But changing to a green energy supplier is as easy as changing your bank account.” Her own supplier, Good Energy, claims that you could cut your carbon footprint in half, just by making that switch. Walking through the house, however, Carrie shows me the other measures they have taken.

Telegraph 16th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 October 2017