News

France

Utility EDF must review all components of its nuclear reactors that were made by Areva’s foundry Creusot Forge by the end of 2018, French nuclear regulator ASN said in a statement on Wednesday. The ASN did not say that EDF would have to halt its reactors for the review, but the company would have to provide the required documentation for each reactor two months before it could restart the reactors following refueling. A spokeswoman for EDF told Reuters the company does not expect any impact on power generation and that the ASN’s timing had been integrated in its reactor maintenance schedule.

Times of India 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Romandie 16th Aug 2017 read more »

ASN opens a public consultation on a draft decision governing the review of the manufacturing files of the Creusot Forge factory. ASN opens a public consultation on a draft decision governing the review of the manufacturing files of the Creusot Forge plant in Areva NP. This draft decision requires EDF to examine all of these equipment manufacturing files installed on its operating reactors originating from this plant. EDF must send the ASN the balance sheet of this review not later than two months before the restart of each of its reactors following a shutdown for renewal of the fuel. This review will extend until the end of 2018.

ASN 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

CHP

Organisations and professionals with an interest in deploying combined heat & power (CHP) systems to reduce emissions and save on energy costs now have access to a free ‘edie explains’ guide which answers all of the key questions surrounding the technology. The 11-page edie explains business guide, produced in association with E.ON, provides an in-depth summary of the different ways to install CHP systems, and the various benefits the technology can offer. It is the latest in an ongoing series of edie explains guides, which provide readers with an end-to-end overview of the key technologies and frameworks that can be utilised on the journey to doing business better.

Edie 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Renewables – Floating Turbines

The last turbine has been installed at the world’s first full-scale floating offshore wind farm off the Aberdeenshire coast. Five giant wind turbines make up the Hywind pilot development, about 15 miles (25km) from Peterhead. The Norwegian oil firm Statoil has been working on developing the project for more than 15 years. It allows turbines to be installed in much deeper waters than conventional offshore installations. Their height from the water line is 172m, which is almost four times the height of the Forth Bridge. The company is now hooking up the cables and hopes to generate the first electricity in October.

BBC 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Renewables – offshore wind

Almost 1,400 birds will die each year if a controversial offshore wind farm gets the go-ahead, the UK’s leading bird-protection charity has claimed. Anne McCall, director of the RSPB in Scotland, has responded after the charity was criticised by business groups for trying to halt the wind project. As reported in The Times yesterday, 29 companies have come together to call on the RSPB to stop its legal action against the 64-turbine development due to be sited off the east coast of Scotland. The business groups warned that the charity’s efforts to halt the development threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of families and the £2 billion investment due to be spent on the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm. Writing in The Times today, Ms McCall warns that the number of sea birds likely to be killed by the turbines would damage the bird colonies on Bass Rock. She writes: “According to Scottish ministers’ own estimates, the four projects would kill 1,169 gannets and 1,251 puffins every year, resulting in 21 per cent fewer gannets on the Bass Rock and 25 per cent fewer puffins on other ‘protected’ islands of the Forth.” Mainstream Renewable Power, the wind farm’s developer, claimed that the project would bring £610 million in revenue into the regional economy.

Times 17th Aug 2017 read more »

RSPB Scotland’s decision to challenge the Scottish ministers’ approval of four wind farms in the Firth of Forth aims to strengthen democratic accountability and clearly fulfils our charitable objects. Suggestions that our actions are undemocratic are wide of the mark. Charities like us exist to deliver public benefit, such as protecting wildlife, and have a duty to challenge public bodies’ decisions which threaten to make those charitable objects significantly more difficult to achieve.

Times 17th Aug 2017 read more »

A group of about 30 Scottish supply-chain companies have come together in support of a £2 billion offshore wind farm ready to be built next year off the east coast of Scotland. The organisations supportive of the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project have written an open letter to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland calling on it to abandon further court action aimed at delaying the project. The firms say they are behind many of the 600 jobs the wind farm will create. It is expected to generate enough green energy to power all the homes in a city the size of Edinburgh. In their view, the Scottish renewables supply chain “can ill afford further delays in the project and appeals to the membership organisation to accept the recent decision of the Scottish courts”, last month dismissing the RSPB’s request for permission to appeal approval of the project. It was originally consented by Scottish ministers in 2014.

Scotsman 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Renewables – solar

Planning permission has been granted to build Scotland’s largest solar farm. The multimillion-pound development, about five miles northeast of Elgin in Moray, will have 80,000 photovoltaic panels across a 125-acre (506,000 sq m) site. Once operational it could provide enough power for up to 10,000 homes. Moray council’s planning committee gave unanimous backing to the plan for the Speyslaw area on the Innes estate. It is not yet clear when construction work will begin, but a solar farm of this scale would typically take three or four months to build. A 2.5m-high deer fence will be installed around the site and CCTV cameras will provide remote monitoring. All cabling will be placed underground, meaning sheep will still be able to graze around the panels. The largest operational solar farm in Scotland is the 55,000-panel site at the Errol estate in Perthshire, which powers about 3,500 homes.

Times 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Biodiesel

Lurking in darkness under our city’s streets is a silent and growing threat to human health. Cooking fats and grease tipped down the sink in homes and businesses are mixing with solids in our sewers and forming giant lumps of solid fat, sometimes the size of cars, sometimes hundreds of metres long. They cause a media frenzy when photos of them appear online, but in their most extreme form, ‘fatbergs’ can damage or block or sewers, causing serious disruption. Earlier this year a fatberg running the length of an entire sewer was found in Cheltenham, where it took eight hours to unblock. They’re a particular problem in older systems, such as the 1940s-era sewers th at had to be completely replaced when a vast, 10-tonne fatberg the size of a London bus led to the replacement of 100 feet of tunnels, costing Thames Water £400,000. Even that berg was smaller than the 15-tonne Kingston fatberg that resulted in the formation of Thames Water’s crack fatberg hit squad, a team of sewage treatment experts specialised in their removal. In practice, the removal of fat and grease deposits from the capital’s sewers relies on relatively basic techniques, blasting the solid waste with high-pressure hoses, and scraping off the remnants. “We clear a sewer blockage caused by fatbergs every seven-and-a-half minutes and spend more than £1m a month clearing them,” says Lawrence Gosden, head of wastewater at Thames Water. “Annually, there are around 366,000 sewer blockages in the UK,” he adds. “Eight times every hour, a Thames Water customer suffers a blockage caused by sewer abuse. As well as being costly in terms of money, there is also a human cost of these fatbergs, as we often have to close a road to dig down and clear them, often causing delays and inconveniences.” As destructive as they are, utility companies are beginning to take advantage of some surprising opportunities to be found by reprocessing fatbergs. At a site on England’s North-west coast, Argent Energy has started turning fatbergs from wastewater facilities around the country into a biodiesel. In a simplified version of the process the untreated fats, oils and greases – FOG – arrives at the plant, gets heated to separate oil and grease, has excess solids removed and becomes biodiesel with the addition of a few chemicals, polished off with distillation.

Independent 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

100% Renewables

In this article, Professor Mark Diesendorf, who teaches, researches and consults in sustainable energy, energy policy, sustainable urban transport, ecological economics, among other areas, at the UNSW Sydney, argues that a transition to a 100% renewable energy system is technically feasible and replete with key benefits.

Insurge Intelligence 20th July 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Grid Connections

Plans for an undersea electricity cable linking France and the UK will go ahead despite claims the proper planning procedures were not followed, the government has confirmed. The cable will run 120 miles under the English Channel from Caen, Normandy, to Solent Airport in Hampshire. Fareham Borough Council owns the airfield and approved National Grid’s outline plans earlier this year.

BBC 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Fossil Fuels

The gas reserves in shale rocks in the UK have been “hyped”, a geology professor has warned. Prof John Underhill from Heriot-Watt University said UK shale deposits were formed 55 million years too late to trap substantial amounts of gas. He said the government would be wise to formulate a Plan B to fracking for future gas supplies. But the fracking firm Cuadrilla said it would determine how much gas was present from its test drilling.

BBC 17th Aug 2017 read more »

BBC 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Guardian 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Scotsman 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Herald 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Telegraph 16th Aug 2017 read more »

At a rally in West Virginia earlier this month, President Donald Trump brought on stage Jim Justice, the state’s governor, to announce that he was quitting the Democratic party to become a Republican. A few days later, Mr Justice revealed one of the potential rewards for his defection: a plan for a $15 per ton subsidy for burning coal from West Virginia and other Appalachian states. If the world is to be serious about curbing the threat of climate change, the tentative pullback from coal will have to become a full-scale retreat. Coal “keeps the lights on in our country”, Mr Justice said, and that goes for other countries, too. The share of the world’s heat and power generated from coal has remained steady at about 40 per cent for the past 40 years. But as technologies for renewable energy and grid management advance, the special position that coal has held since Thomas Edison’s first power plants in the 1880s has become much harder to defend. The call to subsidise coal is a sign of how the economics of power generation have been transformed. Just five years ago, it was renewable sources that needed subsidies to compete, but their costs have been plummeting. Now the US is phasing out its federal tax breaks for renewable energy, and it is coal producers that are pleading for help.

FT 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

SMRs

Major players in the nuclear industry have been summoned by the government to present their plans for the development of small modular reactors. NuScale and Rolls-Royce among companies reportedly invited to talks with the government over the next few weeks. Hitachi and Westinghouse have also been invited. The meeting is likely to relate to a competition launched by the government in March 2016 to find the best value SMR design for the UK. The results were originally due to be revealed last autumn alongside a roadmap for the development of SMRs. Appearing before the House of Lords science and technology committee in March former energy minister Jesse Norman told members the competition would be “back on track” soon.

Utility Week 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017