News

France

France is facing its most uncertain presidential elections in decades. The outcome is likely to have a material impact not only at geopolitical level, but also in terms of energy policy. The next French president will be the first since Jacques Chirac to open a new nuclear power plant. That person will also need to decide the future of France’s oldest reactors, now approaching the end of 40-year life-spans. EDF’s program to extend reactor operation – the ‘Grand Carenage’ – is hugely expensive, but the alternative of closures would hardly be cheap, with impacts on security of supply, power price, cross-border flows and France’s carbon footprint.

Platts (accessed) 20th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

China

So why are China’s carbon emissions stabilising and will this continue? This question is answered by the newly published book: China’s Role in Reducing Carbon Emissions – The Stabilisation of Energy Consumption and the Deployment of Renewable Energy. This book discusses the prospects for China achieving radical reductions in carbon emissions, within the context of the current economic and political landscape. With a particular focus on technologies such as such as wind power, solar power and electric vehicles, Toke examines the way in which China is transitioning to a state of stable energy consumption via a service-based economy and heavy investment in non-fossil energy sources. The book concludes that China may be set to reduce its carbon emissions by around two-thirds by 2050.

Dave Toke’s Blog 19th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

India

For long a pariah in the global nuclear technology market, Indian policymakers are pleasantly discovering how the boot is on the other foot as they are furiously courted by foreign firms themselves facing financial ruin. American nuclear giant Westinghouse, which is in talks with the Indian government on a proposed project in Andhra Pradesh, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. A year ago, the French energy major Areva, which has offered to build reactors at a Maharashtra site, began a process of major restructuring following huge losses. Westinghouse is proposing to build six reactors of 1,000 MW capacity each at Kovvada in coastal Andhra Pradesh. The government has indicated this site in place of the originally proposed Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, where the local population protested against plans to erect a nuclear plant in their area.

SME Times 17th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

Renewables

In times of Euroscepticism, nationalism and populism, those in favour of a united Europe urgently look for ways to reconnect the crisis-stricken continent. Renewable energy might be the answer. The continent has always been dependent on energy imports to grow its economy. More than half of all the energy consumed in the 28 member states is imported, at a cost of more than €1 billion per day. Energy also makes up more than 20% of total EU imports. Renewable energy provides the opportunity for the EU to get closer again to its citizens, to revive democratic participation and to strengthen its core values. The Dutch Gemeente Emmen and their German neighbour town Haren on the other side of the border are building a regional, decentralised and mostly communal cross-border renewable energy system: “We want to work with our neighbours in Germany to become carbon neutral and strengthen our local economy.” says Melinda Loonstra-Buzogány from the Dutch municipality Emmen.

The Beam 18th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

Renewables – solar

‘Big Six’ utility firm E.on has announced its entrance to the UK’s solar and storage market with a new consumer-focused offering. E.on Solar and Storage, launched in the UK today, aims to install solar and storage systems for both E.on and non-E.on customers, adding to its current energy supply model. The energy supplier says its systems will be capable of saving customers as much as 30% on their electricity bills, equivalent to around £300 and as much as £560 each year with storage. E.on has already launched a similar service in Germany and Sweden, and will launch its product in the Midlands first and foremost before expanding countrywide over the course of 2017.

Solar Power Portal 19th April 2017 read more »

West Sussex County Council is to invest up to £3 million in the roll-out of solar across schools in the region in a scheme intended to create new revenue for the council and save the schools millions. Following a successful pilot in 2015, the local authority’s Environmental & Community Services Select Committee approved an expanded programme to install solar PV systems in up to 52 additional schools in 2017/18. The original plans put forward by the ECSSC suggested between 38 to 48 schools however a council spokesperson revealed to Solar Power Portal this morning this could now increase, although they were unable to confirm an exact number.

Solar Power Portal 18th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

Transport

Electric cars could cause local power shortages if just six vehicles are plugged in to charge on the same street, a leading think tank has warned. Britain’s energy networks are unprepared for the growing numbers of electric cars and solar panels and ministers must intervene to prevent a “disaster” of “rising bills, blackout risk and angry consumers”, the Green Alliance said. Uncontrolled charging of electric vehicles could cause “brownouts” at evening peaks in half of the UK by 2023, where the voltage drops and some household appliances stop working. Even now “as few as six closely located vehicles charging together at peak time could lead to local brownouts”, the report warned. By 2025, up to 700,000 people could be affected by blackouts unless ministers mandate the use of “smart” charging points that manage usage and prevent cars drawing more power than the grid is capable of providing, it said. About 100,000 electric vehicles are on British roads and forecasts suggest this could rise to 4.6 million by 2025 as costs fall. There are more than 11,000 public charging points, but most drivers also install their own charging points at home. Meanwhile, the continued installation of solar panels is threatening power grids with the opposite problem of too much power when demand is low, the Green Alliance warned. The cost of solar panels is falling so rapidly that the government will soon lose the ability to deter people from installing them by cutting subsidies. A fifth of local networks are already so close to capacity that they will struggle to cope with new solar developments, leaving the authorities facing the “invidious choice” of either barring people from installing solar panels or undertaking costly network upgrades. A radical rethink could instead use batteries and smart household appliances to help tackle the problem, it said.

Times 20th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

Energy Storage

Flow battery provider redT will deliver a 1.08MWh energy storage project to support the distributed energy system in Cornwall and potentially take part in Centrica’s developing virtual energy marketplace. The storage technology company has signed an agreement with The Olde House, a working farm and holiday retreat situated in North Cornwall, to supply six of its energy storage solutions originally destined for a Scottish wind project. The installed batteries will be coupled alongside two grid-connected solar arrays with a combined capacity of 350kWp and will be used to timeshift excess solar generation during the day for use during peak times when electricity from the grid is most expensive. This is expected to save The Olde House up to 50% on grid imports during peak times.

Solar Portal 18th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuel firms have been given billions of pounds in financial support for their work overseas by the Government, files accidentally sent to the satirical magazine Private Eye reveal. Some £6.9bn in support was provided to oil, gas and coal companies under an export scheme since 2000, according to an analysis of the files by Greenpeace and the magazine. Most of that, some £4.8bn, was committed since 2010 when the Conservatives came to power, initially in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Green energy projects received just £39m in support since 2012, when the first such agreement for renewables was struck. The funding – administered by UK Export Finance, a Government agency – includes the underwriting of loans and insurance for deals that would otherwise be too risky for private firms to enter into.

Independent 19th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

Climate

Climate change will fuel acts of terrorism and strengthen recruiting efforts by terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram, a report commissioned by the German foreign office has found. Terrorist groups will exploit the natural disasters and water and food shortages expected to result from climate change and allow them to recruit more easily, operate more freely and control civilian populations, argues the report by Berlin thinktank Adelphi.

Guardian 20th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 April 2017

Moorside

GMB, the energy union, has described Toshiba’s involvement in the Moorside nuclear plant project as a ‘monumental cock up’. And it has called on the Government to get involved as nuclear jobs in Lancashire and Cumbria are at stake. Toshiba – one of the major financial backers of the project – has warned of £7bn annual losses. The Japanese company finally released its third quarter results after twice delaying them. Toshiba made the unusual move of releasing the details without them being signed off by auditors. Westinghouse has the Springfields site at Salwick, and there are fears the loss of Moorside could be a blow as it was due to supply nuclear fuel for the new power stations. Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary, said: “We are fast running out of adjectives to describe this ridiculous pantomime surrounding Toshiba and its involvement in the UK’s vital and much-needed new nuclear plant at Moorside As monumental cock ups go it’s hard to imagine a worse energy-related one in recent times. “This should an abject lesson to any government of any political persuasion as to why foreign companies and foreign investors should not be left with the responsibility of keeping the country’s lights on and economy working. “The key question now is what the hell the UK government is doing to take control of the situation?”

Blackpool 18th April 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 April 2017