A prominent clean energy campaigner has been banned from the European Energy Forum after tweeting remarks made by the EU’s energy commissioner describing the UK’s plan to hand out long-term contracts to nuclear companies as “Soviet”. Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger’s putdown of the €16.5-billion British plan will likely be met with furrowed brows in London, where the 35-40-year contracts have proved controversial to some because of their length, nature and the scale of the subsidy involved. Oettinger’s remark was made on 19 February at a meeting of the European Energy Forum, which brings together MEPs and leaders of industry, in meetings at which the Chatham House rule was assumed, although not advertised or announced. The Chatham House rule, which is often used in press briefings, protects the anonymity of speakers, while allowing the information they impart to be reported. But Mark Johnston, a well-known environmental expert on the Brussels scene, tweeted Oettinger’s unscripted comment, which EurActiv understands was made in response to a “knockabout” comment by a high-profile UKIP MEP. It was one of several colourful – and irreverent – remarks by the commissioner at the meeting. “When non-attribution is sought, I always respect it,” Johnston told EurActiv. “But when no such request is made, as was the case in this dinner, then attribution is fair comment.” Johnston, an external advisor to the European Policy Centre, and 350.org website, decided to tweet and damn the consequences. “That Commissioner Oettinger’s description of UK plans was widely applauded by many diners shows, I think, that there was a ring of truth to it and that concern was shared by others present,” he said.
Euractiv 30th April 2013 read more »
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) should consult with the energy sector more on the design of Electricity Market Reform (EMR). That is what six trade organisations have written in a letter they have sent to energy secretary Ed Davey and energy minister Michael Fallon. The letter – signed by Energy UK; the Renewable Energy Association; the Carbon Capture and Storage Association; Renewable UK; the Combined Heat and Power Association; and the Nuclear Industry Association – says it is “critical” that there is wide engagement with stakeholder across the energy sector. Membership of the expert groups, who have been consulted on for the design of the EMR policy, “has been restricted”. The coalition of trade associations is calling for the membership of these groups to be broadened out.
Utility Week 30th April 2013 read more »
The U.K.’s 376 billion-pound ($582 billion) program to switch from fossil fuel to renewable and nuclear power is headed for crisis because of looming energy shortages and spiraling costs, Liberum Capital Ltd. said. The U.K. government has “grossly underestimated” the engineering, financial and economic challenges posed by Britain’s goal to decarbonize its electricity, Peter Atherton, utilities analyst at Liberum, said today in a note. Investors will face the bulk of the financial pain as the government seeks to shield itself and voting consumers from a crisis, he said. Britain is overhauling its energy market to replace aging plants with cleaner supplies as a fifth of U.K. power capacity retires in the next decade. The reforms, including atomic power incentives as well as payments for peaker gas plants, suffered setbacks after SSE Plc (SSE) delayed investments and as government talks with Electricite de France SA over the price it will earn to build the first new nuclear plants in two decades falter. Liberum published its research as the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed Jonathan Brearley, the lead civil servant on its reform bill set to become law by the year-end, resigned with effect from July to take a career break after three years at DECC. Electricity market reform will not be disrupted by the change and recruitment is underway for a replacement, a DECC spokesman said today by phone.
Bloomberg 30th April 2013 read more »
In an excoriating 28-page report, Peter Atherton, of Liberum Capital, said policy makers did not appear to comprehend the risks of their drive to decarbonise the power sector by replacing old fossil fuel plants with nuclear reactors and wind farms. Doing so while keeping the lights on and consumer bills affordable may simply be impossible, he said. Britain risks two possible power crunches, in 2014-17 or after 2020, because of old plants being switched off. It also risks sky-high rises in energy bills – either as a result of power crunches or because of the subsidies needed to make the policies work. And when such a crisis hits, it will be the energy companies that will “get shot”. Future governments are likely to renege on their policy promises, he argues – urging Britain’s biggest energy companies to be wary of investing in the UK. The signs are that they already are.
Telegraph 30th April 2013 read more »
Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital said that successive UK governments had “grossly underestimated the engineering, financial, and economic challenges posed by the drive to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2030”. Ministers want investors to build new wind farms and nuclear power stations to provide low-carbon energy to keep the lights on as old polluting power plants are retired. The Energy Bill, currently passing through Parliament, is intended to encourage that investment through a series of policies offering subsidies. However, Mr Atherton said investors were still extremely unlikely to stump up the £161bn needed by 2020, and £376bn by 2030. If the investment does take place it will see electricity bills will rise by at least 30pc by 2020 and 100pc by 2030.
Telegraph 30th April 2013 read more »
The UK needs a revolution in its energy markets. Policy makers should be doing everything they can to reign in the power of the Big 6, encourage a diverse range of players in generation and supply, including mutuals and cooperatives, and putting the needs of individuals and communities first. To date the Labour Party has made the most progress in this area, calling for all wholesale trading to occur through a pooling system, similar to that used successfully in Europe.
Energy Desk 30th April 2013 read more »
Lima Curtis asks whether we have no option other than to invest in nuclear energy, or whether the costs – financial and otherwise – are just too great. While some may consider nuclear a renewable energy source, a report in Nature (2008) showed nuclear had twice the carbon footprint of solar PV and six-times that of onshore wind. But what other options do we have? Coal, oil and gas remain expensive and rapidly unsecure resources, leaving only solar PV and wind as environmentally friendly alternatives. Already solar PV panel use has soared in the Middle East, Australia, Europe and Africa, with the US army utilising it in several bases across America. And as prices continue to drop and its technology advance, solar will become the only option that makes sense. Nuclear is simply too risky and expensive.
Ecologist 30th April 2013 read more »
French electric utility EDF said on Tuesday cost-cuts and higher nuclear production should boost second-half profits after cold weather helped to produce a 4.7 percent increase in the company’s first quarter sales on a like-for-like basis.State-controlled EDF, the world’s biggest single producer of nuclear power, said that its profit outlook excluded results from its Italian subsidiary Edison, where margins are falling.
Reuters 30th April 2013 read more »
Shut Down Sizewell Newsletter May 2013 now available.
Shut Down Sizewell 30th April 2013 read more »
The Sizewell C New Nuclear Build team shared preliminary feedback from the Stage 1 consultation at the project’s Community Forum. Community representatives and other stakeholders from the area around Sizewell gathered for the second formal meeting last night at the Sizewell sports and social club in Leiston. Community representatives heard that 1,300 people had responded to the first round of public consultation on Sizewell C, more than twice the amount that responded to the Hinkley Point C stage 1 consultation in Somerset. Analysis of the feedback is continuing, but some themes have emerged already.
Nuclear Matters 29th April 2013 read more »
Mike Tynan, currently chief executive of Westinghouse UK, has been appointed chief executive of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) by the University of Sheffield. The appointment follows the government’s recent publication of the Nuclear Industrial Strategy which sets out a commitment to long-term collaboration between government, industry and academia to grow the UK’s global market share in the nuclear sector, and create sustainable jobs in new build, operations, maintenance and decommissioning. The Nuclear AMRC is at the heart of this collaboration in nuclear manufacturing.
Insider Media 1st May 2013 read more »
UKIP would supposedly spend £87bn building nuclear power stations over 25 years to provide half of Britain’s electricity.
FT 30th April 2013 read more »
Fukushima Crisis Update 26th to 29th April.
Greenpeace 30th April 2013 read more »
Poland has made “significant progress” in its programme for introducing nuclear power and is developing strategies for procuring the first plant.
Energy Live News 30th April 2013 read more »
Uranium mining on the doorstep of the Grand Canyon national park is set to go ahead in 2015 despite a ban imposed last year by Barack Obama. Energy Fuels Resources has been given federal approval to reopen its old Canyon Mine, located six miles south of the canyon’s popular South Rim entrance, that attracts nearly 5 million visitors a year. The Canadian company says that the Obama administration’s ban on new hard-rock mining over 1m acres doesn’t apply because its rights date from when it closed over 20 years ago.
Guardian 30th April 2013 read more »
Egypt has walked out of global nuclear talks in protest at the slow rate of progress. The country’s delegation in Geneva complained bitterly that other nations were not acting quickly enough to establish the Middle East as a zone free of nuclear weapons. The Foreign Ministry said Egypt had ended its participation in two weeks of talks out of frustration that the zone had yet to be created.
Morning Star 30th April 2013 read more »
Business Desk 1st May 2013 read more »
There is a bitter-sweet irony in the minister now demanding government departments, including the Ministry of Defence, to cut their budgets, being the one handling the “alternatives to Trident” review. The responsibility falls on Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury. He took over the task after Nick Harvey, the armed forces minister, was sacked last September. Plans to spend billions of pounds on a like-for-like replacement of Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine fleet are based on “outdated and ludicrous” ideas about deterrence, Harvey told a UN conference earlier this month.
Guardian 30th April 2013 read more »
PRESSURE from the UK’s international allies could put back for a generation the SNP Government’s desire to see an independent Scotland free from nuclear weapons, according to a Commons report. Westminster’s Foreign Affairs Committee today claims “serious gaps” exist in the Scottish Government’s prospectus for foreign policy should Scots vote yes to independence in next year’s referendum and says “there is a pressing need for more clarity and candour about what Scots would lose and what the Scottish Government could realistically deliver in foreign policy terms with the resources available to it”. However, in its report on Scottish independence and its impact on foreign policy, it also notes, should Scotland become independent, it would be “inevit-able” the UK’s reputation, in foreign policy terms, would be damaged and that if it had, because of Scottish independence, to relinquish its nuclear deterrent, it would be viewed by some as “a power in irreversible decline”.
Herald 1st May 2013 read more »
Many Nato members would be hostile to Scotland’s demands for the withdrawal of Trident nuclear weapons from the Clyde.
Guardian 1st May 2013 read more »
In April 2009, President Barack Obama gave hope to nuclear disarmament activists around the globe. Speaking in the Czech Republic, he affirmed “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” It was, and remains, the most laudable of objectives. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that the president is truly committed to eliminating these terrifying weapons of mass destruction.
Descrier 30th April 2013 read more »
Letter Walt Patterson: The ease of international collaboration on a technology is inversely proportional to the likelihood that anyone will ever make any money out of it. We now have the US, the UK, the European Union, Japan, Russia and other countries all collaborating on Iter, pouring their taxpayers’ money into the black hole of nuclear fusion technology. Fusion is fascinating basic science. It should be fighting its corner for funding with other big science, such as radio astronomy and particle physics. It will never be an energy technology. First you have to get the deuterium-tritium reaction to go at all. Then you have to get it to go continuously. So far so good; they’ve done this, at least for short periods. Then you have to get it to release more energy than you use producing the reaction. They’re not close. Then you have to capture the energy released. The plan is to surround the plasma chamber with a bath of molten lithium. Think about the engineering involved: a high vacuum on one side of the chamber wall, molten lithium on the other side, and a furious flux of hard neutrons bombarding the wall. You then have to run hot molten lithium through a closed circuit of heat exchangers to raise steam for a turbine. Experience with fast-breeder reactor heat exchangers – molten sodium on one side, water on the other – suggests that this is an engineering challenge we have yet to meet. For four decades they failed, all over the world. Let’s look a lot harder at the snake-oil PR that fusion people use to keep their hands in taxpayers’ pockets.
Independent 30th April 2013 read more »
Community owned renewable energy has received remarkable levels of vocal support from ministers and shadow ministers alike as the Energy Bill has progressed through parliament. However, it currently contains no supportive policy measures and, as it stands, represents a huge threat to this vibrant and rapidly growing sector. Currently, the Energy Bill threatens to prevent larger community schemes over 5MW, such as the Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative in Oxfordshire and the Lochcarnan Community Wind Farm in Scotland, from ever happening again. The problem is that the Bill has been developed with large commercial generators in mind. Participating in the proposed “contracts for difference” system would require a high degree of technical knowledge, creating an excessive administrative burden for community projects largely dependent on passionate and dedicated volunteers. Also, with the end of the Renewables Obligation, electricity suppliers will have little incentive to purchase renewable energy from community generators, who have limited bargaining power.
Guardian 1st May 2013 read more »
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published its “public attitudes tracker” survey which shows that a total of 68 per cent of people now support onshore wind, with just 11 per cent opposed. The poll found that 76 per cent of people support offshore wind, with just 7 per cent opposed. Overall, the poll found that support for renewable energy sources to provide the UK’s electricity, fuel and heat has hit 82 per cent. Some previous polling has indicated a larger opposition to wind farms generally.
Telegraph 30th April 2013 read more »
Business Green 30th April 2013 read more »
Farmers have been instrumental in creating a thriving renewables in Scotland, the president of the NFUS has said. Speaking at the opening of AgriEnergy 2013 today (Thursday) – a new two-day renewables event being held at Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, near Aberdeen – Nigel Miller said the country had made ‘huge progress’ in generating green energy and the sector was ready to move to the ‘next level’. But Mr Miller said that while much of the focus has been on generating electricity from onshore wind development, the opportunities that exist from areas like hydro, solar, biomass and anaerobic digestion (AD) remain largely untapped by farmers.
Farmers Guardian 25th April 2013 read more »
THE Government’s “energy policy crisis” is putting at risk a massive opportunity for the North-East to lead a renewable energy revolution, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls warned. The Labour heavyweight said it was “really frustrating” that more of the long-promised green jobs were not appearing in the region and blamed ministers for having “no idea what the plan is”. Speaking at Port of Tyne, Mr Balls said: “If we’re not careful, we’re going to look back and say the UK and the North-East missed a massive opportunity.
Northern Echo 29th April 2013 read more »
Eco-friendly labels on energy-saving bulbs are a turn-off for conservative shoppers, a new study has found. The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that it could be counterproductive to advertise the environmental benefits of efficient bulbs in the US. This could make it even more difficult for America to adopt energy-saving technologies as a solution to climate change. Consumers took their ideological beliefs with them when they went shopping, and conservatives switched off when they saw labels reading “protect the environment”, the researchers said.
Guardian 30th April 2013 read more »
Freedom of Information
16 tips for using freedom of information law in the UK.
RobEdwards 30th April 2013 read more »