News

Renewables

A new record has been set in the UK, with clean energy providing 70 per cent of the country’s electricity demand on Wednesday afternoon, and each of wind, solar and nuclear power generating more coal and gas combined. The National Grid said the landmark was achieved for the first time at 1pm local time on Wednesday, and follows the first occasion of negative prices being reached a day earlier. According to the National Grid, at 1pm, wind supplied 9.5 gigawatts, nuclear provided 8.2GW and solar 7.3GW. Gas provided 7.2GW and there was no coal power at the time. The graph above, from Aurora Energy Research shows a slightly different time and total. The combination of renewables alone reached a new record of 18.7 gigawatts at the same time, equivalent to 50.7 per cent of demand, the National Grid said.

Renew Economy 9th June 2017 read more »

Windy weather brought with it a new renewable record yesterday lunchtime as output from wind, solar, biomass and hydro peaked at 19.3GW. Wind, solar and nuclear all individually generated more power than gas and coal combined, National Grid revealed, another unprecedented phenomenon for Britain’s energy system. Data from the system operator showed wind output at 9.5GW, solar at 7.6GW, biomass at 2GW and hydro at 0.2GW.

Utility Week 8th June 2017 read more »

Independent 8th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 9 June 2017

Dounreay

A planning application is being prepared for a new phase in the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear power complex in Caithness. Buildings on the experimental nuclear energy site, which dates to the 1950s, are being emptied of radioactive material and demolished. Starting in 2018, the planned next stage would involve dismantling reactors. New temporary buildings would also need to be built to aid the new phase. The new buildings would include facilities for handling the clean up and demolition of areas of the site called the Silo and The Shaft. Also included are plans for restoration and landscaping work to restore areas of land to close to how they looked before the construction of Dounreay. The phase would take the site near Thurso to what is called its interim end state. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited has notified Highland Council that it expects to submit the planning application later this year.

BBC 7th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

Hinkley

Workers building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset can look forward to higher bonuses after the Unite union and the plant’s employers agreed a fresh pay deal for staff on the £18bn project.

Construction News 8th June 2017 read more »

STRIKES by workers building the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant were “taken off the agenda” yesterday after an interim agreement over bonus pay. Unite had warned of strikes over bonuses, but the issue will now be considered by a panel made up of a union official and an EDF Energy executive. As part of the agreement, interim bonuses will be paid until the end of August. Unite officer Jerry Swain said: “I am pleased that, following consultation with our stewards and members, we have been able to agree a clear path forward and that the prospect of industrial action, which is always a last resort, can be taken off the agenda in order to allow the panel to deliberate.

Morning Star 8th June 2017 read more »

BBC 7th June 2017 read more »

Former Lib Dem energy minister Sir Ed Davey was today accused of “keeping quiet” about a paid job with a lobbying firm that represents the French energy giant he awarded an £18 billion deal. The accusation came after Sir Ed sent voters in Kingston and Surbiton a summary of his career in an election leaflet. While the “CV” for voters in the key marginal said he had gone “back to consultancy” after losing his seat in 2015, it made no mention that he is working two days a month for MHP Communications, a company which specialises in influencing government policy on behalf of paying clients. Among MHP’s clients is EDF, the French firm that struck a controversial deal to build the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset. The deal, overseen by Sir Ed as energy secretary in the Coalition, was attacked as poor value for the taxpayer by critics because it involved paying EDF nearly three times the current wholesale price of electricity in return for constructing and running the massive project. One expert called the contract the “worst deal I’ve ever seen”.

Evening Standard 7th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

Sellafield

About 1,100 contractors have walked out at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria in a dispute over working conditions. The workers, including scaffolders, electricians and mechanics, stopped work after a mass meeting earlier. The contractors, who are members of the Unite union, are angry at the condition of some changing room facilities, the BBC understands. A spokesman for the site said security and operations were unaffected.

BBC 7th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

EDF

EDF Energy, the company behind the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, has acquired £400m-turnover engineering business Imtech from private equity firm Endless. The joint venture between EDF Energy and Dalkia has agreed to acquire Imtech UK and Ireland, with EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz saying the addition was a “significant step in the development of energy services and low carbon solutions for our valued customers”.

Insider Media 8th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

Poltics

Which party has taken the most ambitious stance on tackling air quality? Which would prioritise energy efficiency and ban fracking? And has anyone mentioned the Sustainable Development Goals? edie has rounded up the most important inclusions (and exclusions) from each of the main parties’ manifestos into a single document.

Edie 7th June 2017 read more »

Labour’s plans to nationalise energy would push up funding costs, according to a leading consultant. The manifesto of the Labour Party, which is threatening to overtake the Conservatives according to some opinion polls, states that it would “regain control” of energy supply networks by altering national and regional network operators’ license conditions. Last month, Labour’s energy spokesman Alan Whitehead told Utility Week that the party is exploring moves to rail franchise-style network licenses that would have an expiry date. Under the current licensing regime introduced by the 1989 Electricity Act and entrenched by the 2000 Utilities Act, Whitehead there are no cut off dates for network operating licenses. Whitehead said Labour would explore introducing termination points for network licenses akin to those used in train franchises where companies bid to run a section of the rail network for a set period of time. But Ryan Thomson, a partner at consultants Baringa Partners, said that Labour’s plans were “unworkable” and would increase funding costs.

Utility Week 7th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

Politics

The Greens would ditch Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. New support for fracking to extract shale and coal seam gas is the most striking pledge from the Conservatives, with the easing of planning rules, a new dedicated regulator and more of any future tax revenues going directly to communities hosting shale gas sites. Wind power remains ruled out in England, but offshore wind farms are supported. Labour: Four million homes would be insulated to cut emissions, improve health and lower bills. Fracking would be banned but new nuclear power stations and renewable energy, including tidal lagoons, are supported.

Guardian 7th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

Energy Costs

Former energy select committee chair Tim Yeo has backed Lord Turner to head the Conservatives mooted review of energy costs if the party is re-elected to government following the general election. The Conservative manifesto includes a pledge to launch a review of energy costs alongside the promise to cap householders’ bills. Yeo, who stood down as a Conservative MP at the 2015 general election and was a shadow environment secretary when the Tories were in opposition, said Turner’s appointment to chair the review would bolster business’ confidence in the exercise. “Adair Turner did a very effective job at chairing the Climate Change Committee (CCC),” said Yeo. “He has a good understanding of economics, gives very clear argument and he looks at the evidence. He’s not a Conservative, but he has the confidence of the business world.”

Utility Week 7th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

Energy Supplies

Wind, solar and energy efficiency have replaced the vast majority of power previously provided by the UK’s coal fleet, a new analysis shows. Since the start of the coalition government in 2010, coal’s role in the generation mix has fallen to historic lows, culminating in the country’s first coal-free day since the 19th century earlier this year. But the gap has not been plugged by natural gas, the UK’s now primary source of electricity. Renewables and energy efficiency have together covered nearly 85% of the power the UK no longer gets from its coal plants. Though gas power surged in 2016 as coal’s fall accelerated, and may yet rise still in the coming years, it is actually producing significantly less power than it was at the beginning of the decade. The UK’s electricity mix looks very different today than it did seven years ago, when the Conservatives first entered a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. In 2010 fossil fuels were producing nearly 100TWh more power than they are now, while renewable generation more than tripled by 2016, according to official government stats compiled by Biofuelwatch. Wind – mostly onshore, which the Conservatives now oppose – soared from 10.2TWh in the coalition’s first year to 37.5TWh last year. Solar went from practically nothing at the beginning of the decade to more than 10TWh in 2016. UK power demand also fell by 7% over that period, which is mostly down to energy efficiency — although it’s not exactly the same thing.

Energydesk 7th June 2017 read more »

Windy weather helped to push Britain’s renewable energy output to a record high yesterday. Wind turbines, solar panels, biomass plants and hydro-electric plants together generated an average of 19.3 gigawatts of power between 12.30pm and 1pm, according to Drax, which runs a website monitoring the power mix. The output equated to almost 55 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs. Wind turbines generated 9.5 gigawatts of power during the period while solar generated 7.6 gigawatts. With nuclear power plants also generating 8.2 gigawatts, low-carbon power sources together accounted for more than three quarters of the UK generation mix.

Times 8th June 2017 read more »

A blustery start to summer has helped the renewable energy industry to its highest ever output as wind turbines and solar panels help to meet more than half of the UK’s electricity demand. National Grid’s data at lunchtime on Wednesday showed that solar panels produced around 7.6GW of electricity while wind farms generated 9.5GW of power. In addition, the UK burnt 2GW of renewable biomass, made from waste wood, and produced a modest amount of hydro electricity to help squeeze traditional power plants off the system. The record 19.3GW output of renewable energy was enough to meet more than 50pc of midday power demand which reached 35.4GW.

Telegraph 7th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017

Flamanville

French nuclear regulator ASN is set to give safety clearance for the nuclear reactor vessel being built for French utility EDF at its Flamanville site, Le Figaro newspaper said on Wednesday. The newspaper said the regulator had provided EDF with elements of a preliminary report that indicate the equipment meets the safety conditions for the reactor to start normally. EDF’s shares closed up 2.2 percent at 9.518 euros. The company declined to comment on the report. An ASN spokeswoman said the investigation was continuing and that the ASN had not taken a decision. She said a provisional ruling would be issued this summer, followed by a final decision in September. Non-approval would have meant billions of euros in extra costs for EDF and jeopardised its planned takeover of nuclear engineering group Areva’s reactor business. Several sources familiar with the situation said the ASN had not yet finalised its technical report on the Flamanville reactor, which is due at the end of June. Once ready, the report will be reviewed by EDF, reactor maker Areva and a group of independent experts who will then issue a non-binding recommendation. Based on this, the ASN is expected to publish a provisional ruling, which will be available for public consultation for at least a month. Because of the summer break, that process is expected to last until September. The ASN is then likely to take a few more weeks to review the outcome of the consultation before it issues a final ruling in September or early October, experts say.

Reuters 7th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 June 2017