The board of EDF remains deeply split over whether to proceed with the nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, with nearly half its members expected to vote against the giant project, according to French nuclear experts. The French state-owned energy group, which is grappling with debts of €37 billion and plunging wholesale electricity prices, delayed a key board meeting last Wednesday under growing pressure from French energy unions to abandon the project because of the huge costs and financial risks involved. Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based nuclear energy expert, said that the situation was very serious, adding: “The indications are that the unions, who have six board seats, would have voted against it and at least one more member. Maybe more.” Although the executive team of EDF, including Jean-Bernard Lévy, the chairman, is strongly backing the project with government approval, they are facing stiff opposition from other powerful industry figures. Upheaval within the French nuclear industry is complicating efforts to finalise the Hinkley project, which EDF intends to build with two state-controlled Chinese nuclear companies, according to a deal agreed in October last year during a visit to the UK by President Xi. The two companies also plan to build two more EPR reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk. Mr Atherton said: “Financing such a massive project will place a significant strain on EDF’s finances. That is why they have brought in Chinese investors.” However, he said that the project could still prove highly profitable to EDF in the long term because of the attractive subsidies offered by the UK, including a guaranteed “strike price” for Hinkley’s electricity of £92.50 a megawatt hour, nearly three times the present wholesale cost of power.
Times 1st Feb 2016 read more »
The industry minister Anna Soubry will find herself at the centre of a row this week over her suggestions that UK steel suppliers are not capable of producing key components for the £18 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Ms Soubry is to be called back to the Commons’ business select committee to be questioned over the accuracy of claims which the committee chairman has called “disturbing, sweeping and dismissive”. In a written response to MPs’ questions over why companies such as Sheffield Forgemasters had been frozen out of contracts for the French-built Hinkley Point C, the minister said: “It is widely understood and accepted in the nuclear and steel industries that the UK does not have this capacity.”
Times 1st Feb 2016 read more »
Hitachi has warned it could walk away from Wylfa Newydd scheme unless it receives viable subsidy from UK Government. The Japanese firm behind Wylfa Newydd warned they could walk away from the £14bn nuclear project unless a viable funding deal could be found. Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Hitachi, whose subsidiary Horizon is behind the Anglesey project, was talking following the setback by French conglomerate EDF for its planned nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Horizon is still is discussions with the Department and Climate Change on a strike price for Wylfa Newydd, which is tipped to create more than 6,000 jobs if construction does get underway later this decade.
Daily Post 31st Jan 2016 read more »
Wales Online 31st Jan 2016 read more »
BBC 31st Jan 2016 read more »
The ‘Moorside’ proposal (over an area of three farms by the river Ehen floodplain) would trash increasingly threatened wildlife, special sites of scientific and historic interest, miles of hedgerow and would double Sellafield’s sprawl visible from many Lakeland peaks. It would be the biggest new nuclear build in Europe. Former LDNPA boss Paul Tiplday is one of the “judges” of this unprecedented nuclear greenwash and grooming exercise in the plan to more than double the footprint of Sellafield. “The Royal Institute of British Architects has launched an open design competition for architectural elements on Cumbria’s £10 billion Moorside nuclear power station The unprecedented contest – described as a world first for the nuclear industry – aims to create a ‘positive lasting legacy’ for the 3.6GW triple-reactor plant. The surprise announcement comes a decade after former RIBA president Jack Pringle condemned government plans for a new wave of nuclear power stations on cost and safety grounds. Backed by plant operator NuGen, the RIBA contest seeks ideas for the 200 hectare site’s visitor centre, accommodation block and masterplan. A separate competition – organised by the Landscape Institute (LI) – has also been launched to find ‘creative and sustainable’ proposals for the controversial facility’s surroundings”.
Radiation Free Lakeland 31st Jan 2016 read more »
A design competition is being held to get architecture and landscape ideas for Europe’s largest new nuclear power station.
Construction Index 1st Feb 2016 read more »
The Areva share jumped 31% Thursday after the announcement of a capital increase of 5 billion. Two major obstacles remain: the green light from Brussels and the Finnish contract. France must therefore convince Brussels that by investing billions of euros in Areva, it acts “prudent investor” and not as a last resort to avoid bankruptcy of the public company. The group must demonstrate that its “business plan” is promising, while the uranium market or enrichment remains depressed. The management of OL3 folder, the name of the Areva EPR reactor built in Finland on behalf of TVO, remains the biggest thorn: EDF one will make a firm offer on Areva NP that “once the Total device EDF immunization against the costs and risks of the OL3 project “finalized. Today, “there are four or five solutions on the table, each with variants, so the range is very wide,” says a source close to the matter.
Les Echos 29th Jan 2016 read more »
While experts have long spoken of a “nuclear renaissance” in the global energy market, the Paris climate negotiations brought nuclear power to a new prominence. Climate change, regional political balancing, and other drivers have combined to push many countries to pledge increases in nuclear energy capacity in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted in advance of the 2015 climate conference. Though these national emissions-reduction plans are not yet legally binding in most countries, they are providing a greater level of detail that we normally see on long-term nuclear energy intentions. This, in turn, allows us greater fidelity in mapping the potential spread of the nuclear knowledge, technologies, and products of greatest concern — indispensable knowledge that we can use to minimize risks of the proliferation or terrorist acquisition of nuclear materials. India’s INDC submission specifically calls out fast breeder reactors — of higher concern for their rate of plutonium production — to illustrate the emissions mitigation technologies the country is eyeing. Indeed, press in India reported in early December that the country is planning six additional fast breeder reactors after the prototype that’s currently in the works becomes operational. This is a legitimate cause for concern in light of the “presence of groups interested in and capable of illicitly acquiring nuclear materials,” as well as other factors that recently led the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) to rank India as one of the countries of highest risk for theft of nuclear materials.
Climate & Security 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
A SPECIALIST nuclear services business based in Cumbria has been snapped up by a listed engineering services group.Nuclear Decontamination Services, which operates at Sellafield and other UK nuclear installations, has been bought by Leed-based Renew.The Yorkshire companys paying £235,000 for the company. Shepley Engineers, a subsidiary under the Renew banner, will absorb the business.
Business Desk 1st Feb 2016 read more »
Construction Index 1st Feb 2016 read more »
2015 saw a record 2.5% increase in renewables generation in Europe, which now makes up 29% of total European electricity supply,reports UK think tank Sandbag. However, as a result of lower output from hydropower and nuclear power stations, the amount of fossil fuel generation barely changed. CO2-emissions from the power sector fell only 0.5% after a 7.5% fall in 2014, but according to Sandbag this year will see a rapid fall again. How quickly will nuclear generation fall? Record-low wholesale electricity prices mean nuclear power plants may close sooner than thought, as they simply cease to be economic, meaning an increased reliance on fossil generation. A tax on Swedish nuclear output was the final straw for EON and Fortum, who in 2015 announced they will close 2 units of their Swedish nuclear plant, Oskarshamn – one unit has been offline since May-2013 so will never return, and the other unit needs a permit before a date is set, but is expected to be 2017-2019.
Renew Economy 1st Feb 2016 read more »
It’s enough to make you despair: French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal has announced the construction of 1,000 kilometers of solar panels, which would be fine if she didn’t plan to pave roads with them. Put solar on stuff, not stuff on solar, y’all (I’m looking at you, Netherlands). This week, a construction website announced the news in English, but it’s not hard to find it in French either, so it is apparently not a canard. As a part of its “Positive Energy” campaign, France is going to “test” a whopping 1,000 kilometers of solar panels to be installed over the next five years. Would someone please tell French leaders that putting stuff on solar is a bad idea in terms of power generation – and that solar panels are really bad as road pavement. Solar roads try to kill two birds with one stone, but it is really the other way around: trying to break two stones with a bird.
Renew Economy 1st Feb 2016 read more »
The US could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 80% below 1990 levels within 15 years just by using renewable sources such as wind and solar energy, according to a former government research chief. The nation could do this using only technologies available right now, and by introducing a national grid system connected by high voltage direct current (HVDC) that could get the power without loss to those places that needed it most, when they needed it. This utopian vision – and it has been dreamed at least twice before by researchers in Delaware and in Stanford, California – comes directly from a former chief of research in a US government agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Dr Alexander MacDonald, a distinguished meteorologist, was until recently, the head of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.
Climate News Network 31st Jan 2016 read more »
SNP MP Douglas Chapman has urged the UK Government to give the Scottish Government advance notification when nuclear material is being transported on Scottish roads. The issue was raised in Parliament earlier this month, with Westminster confirming that local authorities are not given advance notice of movements that involve the transportation of Defence nuclear materials. Currently, police forces are notified of any nuclear convoy being routed through their area but have no obligation to make local authorities or the general public aware of any movement of nuclear material. Earlier this month, campaign group Nukewatch UK raised concerns about the transportation of nuclear weapons through the Midlothian area.
STV 31st Jan 2016 read more »
The Samsoe story began in 1997 when the late Sven Auken, who was then Minister for Environment and Energy, challenged five Danish islands to reduce their use of fossil fuels and transition to clean energy. Samsoe won the contest and within a decade, using proven technologies, became independent of the mainland by relying almost entirely on renewable sources. By 2015, the island was carbon negative- an achievement both inspirational and impressive. However, perhaps even more significant, Samsoe accomplished this feat largely with their own financing. Initially, the island received a grant of approximately $100,000 for a study to devise a project plan. Thereafter, the Energy Academy developed an investment plan, ownership structure and drew up a budget. They contacted banks and credit institutions and presented the plan to the community. Working from project to project, the community invested nearly $80 million in renewable energy technologies. The islanders own the wind turbines – one turbine may be owned by one or several people and they can compare the amount their turbine is producing against someone else’s.
ACORE 26th Jan 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
The Government will clash with green energy companies at the Court of Appeal tomorrow about claims it acted unlawfully over the sudden, “cynical” ending of solar subsidies in 2014.The London-based Solarcentury and Lark Energy, in the East Midlands, are furious that the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) withdrew the solar renewables obligation (RO) two years early. The RO supported the construction of large-scale wind farms. The two companies are now appealing, having lost a court case in conjunction with two other energy businesses, Orta Solar Farms and TGC Renewables, in late 2014. Around 6,500 jobs in the solar industry were lost between the summer and Christmas last year, fuelling criticism that the Government is not living up to its clean energy responsibilities. The Government launched its plans to end RO for big projects with a consultation in May 2014. When the closure of the scheme was later confirmed, it was decided that solar companies which had not met certain criteria by the time the consultation started – such as having planning permission – would not qualify for the remaining subsidy, even though this was to run until April 2015. The claimants allege this lack of grace period for firms that had spent money and built business plans based on the subsidy was retrospective and unfair. These businesses, they argue, were not given sufficient warning to get their paperwork in order so they could still qualify.
Independent 1st Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Insurance and financial service giant Prudential has agreed to provide key “cornerstone” funding for the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon power generation project. The company building the UK’s first tidal lagoon project in Swansea has secured investment for further projects in the country through a stake sale to the commodity group Liberty House. Liberty and its sister company, Simec Group, which runs the Uskmouth power station in Newport, will buy a 10 per cent stake in Tidal Lagoon plc, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company hopes to build additional tidal lagoon projects in Cardiff and Newport, among other places. However, the news comes at a time when the political appetite for tidal power projects is in doubt, with David Cameron, prime minister, and others voicing concern at the costs involved. Tidal Lagoon Power, the parent company, aims to build a total of six tidal lagoons in the UK that it says could meet up to 8 per cent of the country’s electricity demand. The proposals have aroused interest in Westminster but politicians have expressed reservations about the level of subsidy needed to support the scheme.
FT 31st Jan 2016 read more »
There is a growing need for a clear strategy to reduce the demand for electricity in Scotland, according to conservationists, following official statistics just published by the Scottish Government. WWF said electricity demand in Scotland is on the rise, up almost four per cent year on year after eight consecutive years of annual reduction. Although green energy from the likes of wind and hydro power is increasing, the figures come just months after the Scottish Parliament’s Energy, Economy and Tourism Committee called for a demand reduction policy to help secure supply and reduce costs. The report, Energy in Scotland 2016, shows overall energy demand has fallen in Scotland by 14.1per cent over the last decade, exceeding the Scottish Government’s target to reduce demand by 12per cent by 2020 well ahead of schedule. However WWF’s said these figures show Scotland has the highest electricity use per household of any region in the UK. Independent research showed that reducing electricity demand by even one per cent a year would make it easier and cheaper for Scotland to decarbonise its electricity system and hit its climate targets, Dr Sam Gardner, Head of Policy at WWF Scotland said. He continued:
Herald 1st Feb 2016 read more »
The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told UK Energy Minister Amber Rudd that the cost of meeting the 2050 de-carbonisation target will be twice as high without a carbon-capture and storage programme. The CCC letter points out that their proposed budget to 2032 is a minimum, and suggests that government must be prepared to do more, not less, in order to reduce total UK domestic carbon emissions in line with the Paris agreement objectives. The committee also notes that increased decarbonisation ambition will be needed by the European Union. In short, we need to make more reductions. For that, CCS is essential and an urgent plan is needed for a minimum of 7GW clean power by 2030, and support for industry decarbonisation.
Scottish Energy News 1st Feb 2016 read more »
National Audit Office to investigate taxpayer value for money in George Osborne’s scrapping of CCS and question plans to secure UK energy supply. The spending watchdog said it would be looking into the expenses incurred in running, and then prematurely halting, a CCS auction. It will also examine how the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) plans to secure the country’s future energy needs.
Guardian 31st Jan 2016 read more »
Scotland has turned to people power in its efforts to tackle climate change, launching a citizen engagement campaign and renewing green funds for communities. From Monday, the Scottish Government is launching a TV and online advertising campaign under the tagline: “Saving the world isn’t just for the movies”.The campaign will seek to raise awareness of how making greener and cleaner lifestyle choices is easier than many Scots think, through taking action like washing clothes at a lower temperature, avoiding and recycling food waste, leaving the car at home to walk shorter journeys and turning thermostats down by one degree.“These small actions, if repeated across all Scottish households, would be a highly positive collective step forward, said Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod. Earlier this week, communities were also given a boost in their climate efforts after the Scottish Government renewed a £10.3m Climate Challenge Fund as part of its Draft Budget for 2016-17. The Fund, managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful on behalf of the Scottish Government, has already supported 756 community-led schemes covering energy efficiency, sustainable travel and food growth since its launch in 2008.
Edie 29th Jan 2016 read more »