Community Energy

Documentary following Red Dwarf comic actor and green energy enthusiast Robert Llewellyn’s two-year campaign to persuade residents of his idyllic Cotswolds village, Temple Guiting, to generate more of their own power through renewable sources, as a model for helping to wean the nation off imported oil, coal and gas. Packed with scientific insight and explanation of the latest renewable technology, from Archimedes screws to solar photovoltaic panels, the film follows Robert as he tries to win over his fellow villagers with grand designs of a windmill atop the local hill, a water turbine in the village stream and solar arrays on parish roofs. Robert takes inspiration from the extraordinarily rapid change in energy supply happening in perhaps the most surprising of locations – Las Vegas. In the neon-drenched gambling capital of the world, a revolution is under way as the city attempts to power itself entirely by renewable electricity in 2017. Back in the Cotswolds, Robert and the village face a challenge as they find the local electricity grid cannot absorb the extra load from their proposed renewable scheme. Robert seeks out a solution in battery technology, comparing and contrasting the cutting edge science of lithium ion and air batteries. Is this technology that Temple Guiting can use? Can Robert’s dream become a reality?

BBC 1st June 2017 read more »

Posted: 5 June 2017

Energy Storage

Old electric vehicle batteries are to be sold to households to store power in their homes under plans announced by Renault. The company, Europe’s biggest electric carmaker, has struck a deal with the domestic battery provider Powervault to repurpose old batteries when they are no longer fit for use in cars. Powervault said that using the “second life” batteries would enable it to offer home storage for about £3,000, a 30 per cent discount on new lithium-ion home batteries, and should boost take-up. Only a few thousand UK households are thought to have installed batteries, but it is considered a fast-growing market as technology costs fall. Batteries are primarily marketed at households with solar panels to allow them to store surplus solar power generated during the day for use when it is dark, reducing the power they need to buy from a supplier. Powervault said customers could cut electricity bills by up to 35 per cent by using their spare solar power and also charging batteries with cheap night-time economy 7 electricity rates. A typical large family home with solar panels could save up to £210 a year, meaning it would still take at least 15 years to recoup the battery installation cost.

Times 5th June 2017 read more »

The UK is to become home to Europe’s largest battery flywheel system in a first for the country which will provide fast acting frequency response services and aid the integration of renewables. The €4 million (~£3.5 million) project is being brought forward to support the project which will be delivered by a consortium of engineers from the University of Sheffield, flywheel specialists Schwungrad Energie and Adaptive Balancing Power, and product supplier Freqcon. Almost two thirds (€2.9 million/~£25 million) is coming from the European Union’s Horizon2020 scheme, and the system will be connected to the Irish and UK grids to help respond to energy demand and stabilise pressure on existing infrastructure.

Solar Portal 2nd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 5 June 2017

Fossil Fuels

Craig Bennett: Theresa May might have to get used to sitting at the opposite end of the table from her European counterparts on one more issue –fracking. Following this week’s vote in the Irish Parliament to ban fracking, the Prime Minister looks increasingly out on a limb as one of the few European leaders to still argue that fracking is a good idea. France, the Netherlands and Germany have all put a stop to this risky method of trying to get gas out of the ground by breaking up rocks at high pressure.

Independent 4th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 5 June 2017

Waste Transport

UK airport on LOCKDOWN as ‘Doomsday’ jet secretly flies nuke bomb ingredient to US. Dozens of armed police stood guard at a Scottish airport today as uranium – the stuff nuclear bombs are made from – was loaded onto a giant American Air Force jet. The C-17 Globemaster arrived at Wick John O’Groats airport yesterday lunchtime to pick up the cargo bound for South Carolina. A huge security operation kicked into place full in the face of Britain’s severe terror threat – which was only recently downgraded from critical. Police sniffer dogs were deployed as armed police guarded a convoy of two trucks carrying the waste as it was transported 31 miles in thick steel containers from Dounreay to Wick Airport. It arrived at 2pm today as gun-toting police patrolled perimeter fences and sealed off all roads into the airport. The cargo was loaded before the huge jet finally took to the runway at 4.25pm and departed for a short hop across to RAF Lossiemouth in Moray to top off with fuel. This had to take place as the runway at Wick is 1,712ft too short for a fully loaded Globemaster to get airborne.

Daily Star 3rd June 2017 read more »

AN American military plane carrying a deadly cargo of radioactive waste has taken off from Scotland for the second time. Dozens of armed police stood guard yesterday as highly-enriched uranium was loaded on to a giant American Air Force transport jet at Wick John O’Groats Airport. The secretive operation – signed off by David Cameron and Barack Obama last year – aims to clear a backlog of nuclear waste stored at Dounreay power station in Caithness. But critics have blasted the high-security flights as unsafe and “morally reprehensible”. Independent nuclear consultant John Large said: “This is pretty toxic stuff. It is weapons grade material. It is quite active. It’s ticking away and it does not turn itself off. “In the States, you cannot overfly with this type of material. The plane will put down on the east coast and the shipment will continue under armed escort by rail or by road.” He said the risks in transporting nuclear waste by aircraft included “in the event of a crash, the fuel being engulfed in fire, the packages breaking down and the fuel igniting”. The waste sent to the US will be swapped for medical grade uranium to make radio isotopes for detecting cancer. Yesterday’s operation got underway at 10am, with the US C-17 Globemaster arriving in the early afternoon to pick up its dangerous cargo. Armed police guarded two trucks carrying the uranium – a critical component in nuclear weapons – in re-inforced steel flasks as they travelled the 32 miles from Dounreay to Wick airport. Roads around the airport were closed and sealed off as the deadly waste was delivered at 2pm.

Sunday Post 4th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017


Nuclear bosses have been urged to sit down with the owners of a former oil depot to develop an economic legacy for northern Anglesey. The chairman of Amlwch Town Council had been leading calls to transform the former Shell Oil depot in Rhosgoch to first house up to 4,000 nuclear construction staff, before being later transformation into a “Center Parcs” style development once the plant was built. But these hopes have seemingly been dashed after Horizon, who are behind plans for the proposed £14bn Wylfa Newydd plant, last week unveiled new plans for a single temporary workforce village next to the nuclear site.

Daily Post 3rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017


CIVIL Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) officers at Dounreay have returned to the far north after being called to duty across the UK in the aftermath of the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena. Following last week’s attack, when the UK threat level was raised to critical, CNC authorised firearms officers from across the country were deployed to support Home Office police forces within England and Wales under Operation Temperer. CNC confirmed authorised firearms officers from Dounreay were deployed to support police colleagues in Northumbria and elsewhere.

John O Groat Journal 2nd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017


Scientists have discovered bizarre evidence in the US state of Wyoming – that bacteria hidden deep within the Earth’s crust secrete uranium. Uranium, the silvery white metal known for its radioactive properties and usage in nuclear power plants, is thought to occur within ore deposits in the form of uraninite. The uranium in this form is usually mined from sandstone “roll-front” deposits. But the latest findings published in Nature Communications challenge long-held beliefs about the way uranium can be formed. Geologists now believe uranium is produced biologically, in a series of chemical reactions in Earth’s crust that take place over millions of years.

Register 2nd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed his country will go “above and beyond” the 2015 Paris accord on combating climate change. Speaking at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Modi described the agreement as part of “our duty to protect Mother Earth”. Several global leaders have criticised President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris accord. Mr Trump said the deal would impoverish the US and cost American jobs. The Paris agreement commits the US and 194 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C.

BBC 3rd June 2017 read more »

Macron said he would visit India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, by the end of the year for an international summit on solar power — an area on which France plans closer cooperation with the Asian power.

France24 3rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017


Amid the waves of indignation that swept the world in the aftermath of Trump’s announcement on Thursday, another theme has emerged: politicians and executives within America and elsewhere have said they would continue their efforts to cut emissions. Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, tweeted that the company was “committed to fight climate change and we will never waver”. The iPhone maker last month opened its vast “spaceship” campus in Cupertino, California, which Cook has said will be the greenest building in the world. It was not only the tech giants. Chevron, Nike, General Electric and Goldman Sachs all publicly criticised Trump’s decision. Even ExxonMobil, which for years provided funding to climate sceptic pressure groups and politicians, has argued for staying in the Paris agreement. Last month Exxon shareholders, including the Church of England, approved a resolution requiring the oil giant to publish annual reports on how climate change would affect its business. “I don’t think [Trump’s decision] will make much difference, certainly not for us,” said a European oil executive. The states of California, Washington and New York, which have a combined GDP bigger than Germany’s, proclaimed that they planned to honour the Paris requirements. Jerry Brown, the governor of California, called Trump’s decision “insane”. He was not the only politician to use the occasion to grandstand, especially in Europe. The European Union has rejected Trump’s offer to renegotiate the climate agreement and vowed instead to bypass Washington and work with US business leaders and state governors to keep to the accord’s commitments.

Times 4th June 2017 read more »

Making the American way of life less dirty and wasteful seems an uncontroversial goal, and reducing the fossil fuel consumption of cars, lorries and buildings is the obvious way to go. We should therefore all live in solar-heated apartments near our solar-heated workplaces, recycling all waste products and covering longer distances in electric cars, preferably the safer, driverless variety. Paris asks inland Americans to make sacrifices for coastal Americans. Funnily enough, people in middle America don’t worry much about rising sea levels; they do worry about job losses caused by environmental regulations. Most Americans think global warming is happening (though only 40% think it will harm them). But the states with below-average concern about climate change are the states that voted for Trump. Meanwhile, California and the other liberal st rongholds can go ahead and stick to the Paris agreement if they so choose. I predict they will and that US emissions will continue to fall. Finally, to those who continue credulously to applaud Angela Merkel’s anti-Trump grandstanding, have a think about that increasingly close relationship between Berlin and Beijing. Good luck, Angela, with your pivot to Asia in search of more “reliable” partners. Good luck, Volkswagen – yes, the company that fiddled its engine emissions data – with your new electric car partnership with the state-run Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group. My money’s still on Tesla. President Trump has been much mocked for a sleepy, late-night tweet that introduced to the world the word “covfefe”. I have a message to his virtue-signalling critics. As you press on with your Paris commitments, watch out for flying eggs. And wake up and smell the covfefe. Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford

Times 4th June 2017 read more »

US states accounting for almost 30 per cent of national gross domestic product have pledged to meet the country’s commitments for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris climate agreement, in defiance of President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that he intends to withdraw from the accord. California, New York, Washington and five other states have said they are committed to cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels, which was the reduction proposed for the US by Barack Obama in the Paris agreement. The coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, also pledged to meet or exceed the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation envisaged under the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which Mr Trump has promised to scrap.

FT 3rd June 2017 read more »

City leaders of 102 cities across the U.S. have announced they are adopting the Paris Climate Agreement in defiance of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the historic accord.

Political Dig 2nd June 2017 read more »

The gas barons had figured that their generators would be complementary, rather than competitive, with intermittent renewables. In recent years, though, in states such as California and Texas, renewables generation has been crushing the power markets on which the gas generators depend. In Texas, tax credit-supported wind generation can be economic even in hours when power prices are negative, ie you have to pay the grid manager to take your energy. In California, ratepayers who install rooftop solar panels receive “net metering”, which means they receive retail power rates for their intermittent production. In effect, during the hours their panels work, the cost of maintaining the transmission and distribution grid, along with the back-up capacity of hydro, nuclear and fossil-fuel plants, is borne by ratepayers who do not have rooftop solar. This did not matter when rooftop solar was just a cute green gadget. Now solar generation in California can lead to rapid swings in net load of up to 16,000MW, or about one-third of the total demand in the state, which is about equal to that of the UK grid. Much of the rooftop and “utility scale” solar generation occurs in the middle of the day, which creates the so-called duck curve, or cat’s ears of net requirements for the grid operator. This means that the very time in the middle of the day when the gas generators were supposed to make money is a time when they are idle, just spinning away without any revenue but with the same requirements for debt service. So they are going broke. As the renewables and gas plant owners fight over generation market share, the distribution utilities and even electricity storage developers are gaining power, so to speak. Because balancing the variations in power load is an increasingly demanding task, state regulators are more willing to allocate revenue to those who can manage the process.

FT 3rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017


China’s new third-generation reactor, using technology known as Hualong One, started its dome installation in Fuqing, southeast China’s Fujian Province on Thursday, marking the construction work of the country’s first pilot nuclear power project entering into a crucial stage. If successful it could herald the start of mass production of third-generation reactor nuclear power plants. A hemispherical dome, 340 tonnes in weight and 16.8 meters in diameter, has been installed by crane at the fifth unit reactor featuring Hualong One design. “The installation, if successful, will mark the completion of its construction work and the start of the assembling stage,” Yu Peigen, deputy general manager of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) told media on Wednesday at a press conference about the project.

CGTN 25th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017