People across North Wales will have the chance to have their say on Horizon Nuclear Power’s proposed new nuclear power station on Anglesey, Wylfa Newydd, as ten weeks of consultation gets underway today. The consultation is the first major step in the planning process for the development and will cover all aspects of Horizon’s proposals, taking in everything from construction to transport to how it might affect the Welsh language and the economy of the region. People will have the chance to input their views at public exhibitions and drop-in events across the island and North-West Wales, as well as through a dedicated website. The power station, which is proposed to begin generation in the first half of the 2020s, will bring billions of pounds of investment and thousands of jobs to the region during the construction phase. Once electricity generation begins up to 1000 people will be employed at the site, providing long-term, high-quality jobs for people from the local community.
Energy Business Review 29th Sept 2014 read more »
North Wales power station to continue generating electricity until December 2015 – five years after its original closure date. The world’s last operating Magnox nuclear power station has been granted an extra year of life and will continue generating electricity until December 2015. Wylfa on Anglesey was originally scheduled to close in 2010, and has been granted a number of lifetime extensions after demonstrating to the regulators that it can continue to meet safety requirements. Wylfa’s twin reactors, which began operating in 1970, once supplied enough electricity for almost half of Wales.
Wales Online 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Express & Star 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Reuters 30th Sept 2014 read more »
BBC 30th Sept 2014 read more »
The European Union is to approve the state aid deal to fund the construction and operation of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, with the developer, EDF Energy. The EU’s Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, has said he would “propose to the college of commissioners to take a positive decision and in principle the decision should be taken during this mandate of the commission in October”. The decision has delighted businesses with the Confederation of British Industry hailing news of what could be the first British nuclear plant in a generation. “This deal has been a long time in the making, and will play a significant role in further securing and decarbonising our energy supply”, said Nicola Walker, the CBI’s business environment Director. The move has not proved popular with everyone however, with Mark Breddy from Greenpeace arguing that the commission is performing a U-turn, and Günther Oeittinger, the German energy commissioner, once describing the 35-year length of the proposed Hinkley contract as “soviet”. In October 2013, the UK Government submitted the State aid notification for the Hinkley Point C investment contract to the European Commission following the announcement of the commercial agreement on key terms with EDF Energy. Earlier this year, the European Union announced that they were to launch an “in-depth investigation” into the UK’s plans to subsidise the construction and operation Hinkley Point C to determine whether it conforms to state aid rules. One of the main points to decide in this investigation was whether the construction of a nuclear power station could not be achieved by market forces alone, without state intervention. An investigation by the European Commission is a standard part of the state aid process for cases like Hinkley. Hinkley Point C will generate enough home-grown power for nearly 6 million homes, approximately 7% of the UK’s electricity supply by 2025. In addition it is estimated that around 25,000 jobs will be created during construction with a massive investment by EDF and its fellow investors of around £16 billion to build the plant. Zyda Law have been advising EDF Energy on various operational support and new build planning and environmental matters since 2007. Recently, our firm helped EDF secure consents for a Dry Fuel Store and an Emergency Response Centre at the Sizewell B nuclear station.
Mondaq 29th Sept 2014 read more »
Mark Johnston’s two-page briefing sent to the European Commissioners (28 private offices). Thirty-five years operating aid for two new 1600 megawatt nuclear units side-by-side at one location in Somerset, SW England. An index-linked fixed ‘strike’ price on all output at approximately double the current wholesale power price. Up to £17.6bn (€21.8bn) NPV total revenue to EDF spread across all UK customers. Loan/credit guarantee. Political shut-down guarantee. Options to vary & potentially increase operating aid levels after 15 and 25 yrs operation, without re-notification. HPC output = ~7% of UK power supply. Twelve-unit total programme around 35% of UK supply. In February 2013, VP Oettinger described the concept as “Soviet”.
Mark Johnston 30th Sept 2014 read more »
(Translated from German) The decision by EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, to allow British subsidies for the controversial nuclear power station Hinkley C in the southwest of England, provides dismay among environmentalists, parliamentarians and Member States. Finally Almunias applies intended successor, the Dane Margrethe Vestager, as far more critical of nuclear power. And Juncker has set itself ambitious targets for renewable energy. A decision for the atom-aid could jeopardize that. The outgoing Commission, only until the end of October officially in office, however, seems determined to make Britain and the nuclear lobby a parting gift. Already on October 8, the decision could fall.
Der Spiegel 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Balfour Beatty’s joint venture with AMEC and Jacobs has been assigned a framework contract to develop a new nuclear waste processing plant in Cumbria. The three-way joint venture will be the sole contractor on the four-year framework with Sellafield Limited, valued between £240 million and £336 million to construct the Box Encapsulation Plant to manage hazardous waste. The development is part of Sellafield’s wider programme to prepare hazardous nuclear waste, with process waste recovered from other areas on the Sellafield site after they are decommissioned.
Career Structure 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Former Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) legal head Rob Higgins has taken up one of the organisation’s three new executive positions following the exit of commercial director Sean Balmer this year. Higgins has been promoted to a new director position in charge of all business services, prompting the hunt for a new head of legal ahead of the public body’s imminent panel revamp.
The Lawyer 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Isis could acquire nuclear and biological weapons to launch attacks on Britain, the Home Secretary warned today as she set out new measures to clamp down on extremist groups.
Independent 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Telegraph 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Telegraph 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Governance and Disruptive Energy Systems: This paper explores the biases towards the conventional energy system currently in place in GB; it looks at potentially destabilising factors at work in the GB energy system; it looks at disruptive influences at work in the wider energy system; and it asks whether those wider factors are sufficient to force change in the GB energy system. From an energy system perspective, it seems clear that the dominance of centralised energy systems has been broken. There is a slow but steady move from centralised to decentralised energy systems which results from a complex mix of social preference, technological ability, regulatory flexibility, political processes, and economic reward. That some countries, for example Britain, are more at the centralised rather than the decentralised end of this spectrum is due to the same but opposite set of complex inter-relating factors – regulatory inflexibility, a lack of economic reward, a top down determination to build nuclear and insufficient consumer drive, arising from political governance and institution issues. However, there are also factors in Britain which, whether they recognise it or not, are together creating an assault on that bias towards centralisation and the conventional utility model. Three important questions are: are the rules and regulations of a country which are biased towards the conventional utility model sufficient to withstand that assault and maintain that conventional utility model? Or will social, economic and technological change force change on the alignment of the Government, the Regulator and the traditional utility model? And will it be disruptive?
IGov 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Although the ability of government to borrow at very low long-term interest rates makes the economics of nuclear power unusually attractive, the need to pretend that new-build is privately financed and off the public sector balance sheet means that this electricity is much more costly than it need be. Since the electricity is in effect being sold to the government at a long-term fixed price, the very real market risk to which suppliers are exposed is that of arbitrary changes in policy. Customers are paying heavily for this avoidable uncertainty. Britain’s experience of a highly centralised electricity system before 1990 was dreadful. In energy, as in other policy areas, the need is to learn how to run hybrid systems which combine the benefits of competition with the need to plan for public policy aims and which put private capital at risk in the achievement of social goals. But that requires a more mature debate than is possible with government by announcement.
FT 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Households could be forced to pay for the construction of power stations in Europe to keep the lights on in Britain. Subsidies that will add £13 per year to every household energy bill will be paid to the owners of power stations to make sure that there is enough electricity available to meet demand. Only UK power stations are eligible for the first tranche of payments, but this clashes with plans in Brussels to create a single energy market across the European Union. To comply with EU state aid rules, the subsidies could be shared with new or existing power stations in Europe that promise to transmit their electricity to Britain via interconnectors under the sea.
Times 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Anatoli Gubariev was an engineer in one of the fire departments sent to put out the fires raging in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. He was born in 1960, making him just 26 at the time of the disaster. He had served in the Soviet Army for two years before getting a job at a Kharkov machine-tool factory where he was earning a qualification in metal cutting from Kharkov Polytechnic. Here, he tells his story…
Daily Mail 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Members of European parliament have called on Jean-Claude Juncker to offer reassurances that EU environmental policy is not being downsized, before they consider approving Juncker’s Maltese environment commissioner-designate Karmenu Vella. “The biggest problem might not be Mr Vella as a person but his assignment, and that signals a bigger problem – that environmental policies are being downgraded across the entire commission,” Bas Eickhout, a Green member of the parliament’s environment committee’s coordinating group, told the Guardian. It is unclear what will happen if Juncker does not respond. The issue could be as much a shot across the EU president’s boughs ahead of Tuesday’s parliamentary hearings for the nominee climate a nd energy commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, as a serious threat to block Vella. Before giving Vella a pass, MEPs on the group say they want full implementation of the EU’s last environmental action plan, including sidelined tranches covering access to justice, endocrine disruptors and environmental inspections of illegally logged timber.
Guardian 30th Sept 2014 read more »
More than 11 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity have been installed in Japan over the past two years, when the country’s notable feed-in tariff incentive plan was launched, according to the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Renew Economy 1st Oct 2014 read more »
The Japanese government plans to push for the restart of two nuclear reactors, which are located close to active volcanoes, despite the sudden volcanic eruption in the central part of the country. Following the Fakushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the public are highly concerned over the government’s plans to restart the Sendai nuclear plant.
Energy Business Review 30th Sept 2014 read more »
The operator of Japan’s tsunami-battered Fukushima nuclear plant announced on Tuesday it had agreed to share knowledge and experience on decommissioning damaged reactors with Britain’s Sellafield. Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), has struggled with cleaning up the crippled nuclear plant, especially with safely storing radioactive water used to cool reactors, in the years since the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster sent them into meltdown. Sellafield, in England’s far north, was the scene of a 1957 fire that resulted in a radioactive leak, and the company has since built expertise in decommissioning nuclear reactors. Both companies will benefit from the other’s experience in cleaning up after a serious nuclear accident, according to a spokeswoman at the Tokyo company.
Japan Today 1st Oct 2014 read more »
A new deal allows a radioactive waste storage tank to continue leaking for more than a year before its contents are pumped out at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation’s most polluted nuclear site. The deal to pump nuclear waste tank AY-102, announced late Monday, is between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Under the deal, pumping of the double-walled tank would not begin until 2016, and it would take a year to complete.
Huffington Post 30th Sept 2014 read more »
The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday said it’s committed to cleaning up and resuming initial operations at the federal government’s troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico as early as 2016, work that’s expected to cost more than $240 million. The timeline and cost details were included in a recovery plan developed by the department over several months with help from nuclear industry experts. The plan outlines what needs to be done to decontaminate the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Shipments of plutonium-contaminated waste from federal installations around the country have been on hold since early February. That’s when a truck fire and an unrelated release of radiation several days later contaminated 22 workers and forced the closure of the plant.
ABC News 30th Sept 2014 read more »
It may be five years before a nuclear waste dump in New Mexico closed by a radiation leak is fully operational again, and the facility will need at least $240 million to pay for the initial recovery, a U.S. Energy Department official said on Tuesday.
Reuters 30th Oct 2014 read more »
The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced a significant step to help meet America’s future low-carbon goals with the release by its Loan Programs Office (LPO) of a draft $12.6 billion loan guarantee solicitation for advanced nuclear energy projects.
World Nuclear News 30th Sept 2014 read more »
India will be a “renewables superpower” according to its new energy minister, but its coal-fired electricity generation will also undergo “very rapid” expansion. However, Piyush Goyal dismissed criticism of the impact of India’s coal rush on climate change , as western governments giving “homilies and pontificating, having enjoyed themselves the fruits of ruining the environment over many years.”
Guardian 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
A year after Spain, the sunniest country in Europe, issued notice of a law forcing solar energy-equipped homes and offices to pay a punitive tax, architect Inaki Alonso re-installed a 250 watt solar panel on a beam over his Madrid roof terrace.”The government wanted people to be afraid to generate their own energy, but they haven’t dared to actually pass the law,” Alonso said as he tightened screws on the panel on a sunny summer day this month. He had removed solar panels from the roof last year. “We’re tired of being afraid,” he said. Halfway across the globe, in the “sunshine state” of Queensland, Australia, electrical engineer David Smyth says the war waged by some governments and utilities against distributed energy, the term used for power generated by solar panels, is already lost. “The utilities are in a death spiral,” he told Reuters by telephone while driving between a pub where he helped set up 120 solar panels to cut its A$60,000 ($53,000) annual power bill and a galvanizing plant which was also adding solar panels to reduce costs.
Reuters 28th Sept 2014 read more »
Solar could outpace fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear to become the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, the International Energy Agency said today. The Paris-based organisation released two roadmaps for solar thermal and solar photovoltaics (PV) this afternoon, suggesting they could generate up to 16 per cent and 11 per cent respectively of the world’s electricity by the middle of the century. Combined, these technologies could prevent the emission of more than six billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 – greater than the United States’ energy-related CO2 emissions or almost all of the direct emissions from global transport.
Business Green 29th Sept 2014 read more »
Sending chills down the spine of nuclear and coal utility executives across the world, the International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday released two reports that assert solar power could become the dominant source of global electricity production by mid-century. This is the same IEA that has consistently and dramatically underestimated the potential contribution of renewables over more than a decade. As we pointed out on July 17, 2014, since at least 2000, Greenpeace has been far more accurate when projecting renewable energy use than the IEA. As RenewEconomy, based in Australia, put it, “The forecasts from the IEA are not the most dramatic that can be found, but they are significant because the IEA is essentially a conservative organisation that was created in the 1970s to defend developed countries’ access to fossil fuels.”
Green World 30th Sept 2014 read more »
If you ask the people who run America’s electric utilities what keeps them up at night, a surprising number will say solar power. Specifically, rooftop solar. That seems bizarre at first. Solar power provides just 0.4 percent of electricity in the United States — a minuscule amount. Why would anyone care? But utilities see things differently. As solar technology gets dramatically cheaper, tens of thousands of Americans are putting photovoltaic panels up on their roofs, generating their own power. At the same time, 43 states and Washington DC have “net metering” laws that allow solar-powered households to sell their excess electricity back to the grid at retail prices.
Vox 29th Sept 2014 read more »
PLANS are being drawn up for the country’s largest community-owned solar power park to be built to help tackle fuel poverty, reduce CO2 emissions and regenerate derelict and contaminated land. The proposals would result in a local organisation owning a large-scale solar site in Dundee, with the income derived from the project funding energy-¬efficiency measures and renewable energy installations in hard-to-heat homes. Helen Grayshan, lead officer at Solar Cities Scotland, said the plans were at an exploratory stage.But in a speech next week at Dundee University’s Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience, she will say: “We believe there is great potential for the first community-owned solar energy farm of this scale to be built in Dundee.
Herald 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
Living close to wind farms may lead to severe hearing damage or even deafness, according to new research which warns of the possible danger posed by low frequency noise. The physical composition of inner ear was “drastically” altered following exposure to low frequency noise, like that emitted by wind turbines, a study has found.
Telegraph 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Bernard Matthews might not be the most obvious company engaged in green energy innovation, but its commitment to environmental issues is by no means “poultry”. Earlier this year, the brand famous for its “bootiful” turkeys secured £24.5m from the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to install 179 biomass boilers at its 21 UK farms, spread across Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire. Around 80 of the boilers had been installed by the end of August and all of the planned 179 will run on woodchip sourced from the local area by Stobart Biomass. The replacements are taking place in the two and a half week turnaround period between the turkeys being shipped from the farm to the factory and the new batch arriving. The programme should result in a “significant” reduction in carbon emissions and help the company towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by the end of the decade. The company owns nine large wind turbines on three separate sites, which are set to cover half its electricity demand, as well two solar farms – a 60-acre solar farm next door to its factory in Holton, Suffolk, which also hosts a 500kw anaerobic generation plant producing energy from waste, and a 30-acre solar farm at Weston, Norfolk.
Business Green 29th Sept 2014 read more »
Advocates of nuclear energy have long been predicting a renaissance, yet this mode of producing electricity has been stalled for years. Renewable energy, by contrast, continues to expand rapidly, even if it still has a long way to go to catch up with fossil fuel power plants, which account for roughly two thirds of world electricity production. Nuclear’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7 percent in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2012. Hydropower was the leading source of renewable electricity (16.5 percent of global power in 2012), while wind contributed 3.4 percent and solar, 0.6 percent. But wind and solar energy are the fastest growing electricity technologies worldwide. Between 2000 and 2012, wind power grew nearly 16-fold and solar jumped 49-fold.
Worldwatch Institute 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – hydro
SUNART has powered ahead to become the first community in Lochaber to offer a new way of investing in renewable energy projects with the launch of its community share offer. On Friday, Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, and Dave Hollings, from Co-operative and Mutual Solutions, will unveil the share offer for the Sunart Hydro project in Strontian at what is planned to be an evening of celebration led by the award-winning ceilidh band Trail West.
Lochaber News 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – geothermal
For years the geothermal industry has relentlessly boasted that it is a baseload resource, meaning it provides stable power similar to a coal or natural gas plant, except without all of those pesky carbon emissions. While upfront costs to develop a plant are higher than other renewable sources, geothermal leaders say that this baseload aspect makes it a more attractive resource in the long run since the grid needs more stable power as increasing amounts of intermittent renewables enter the landscape. Olsen said the geothermal industry must stop selling itself as a baseload power because baseloads are actually becoming a problem. Using California as an example, Olsen said that the closure of big resources like the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS) is actually making the grid much more stable and allows for the use of more solar and wind. “Baseload has gone from being valuable to being problematic as we add more wind and solar,” said Olsen. “When we shut down other fossil plants we will avoid curtailing thousands of megawatts of wind and solar.”
Renewable Energy World 30th Sept 2014 read more »
New report from HSBC says conventional generators will be the biggest losers from the upcoming energy storage boom, as both consumers and grid operators look to battery and other storage technologies. Conventional electricity generators have already received a battering from the revolution inspired by rooftop solar. Most fossil fuel generators – particularly those in Europe and Australia, are struggling to make a profit. But things are likely to get worse. The influx of battery storage is destined to further reduce demand from conventional generators. A major new analysis from global investment bank HSBC – Energy Storage, Power to the People – says the boom days for the fossil fuel generation are over. “There is no prospect of any return to anywhere near the level of profitability seen in the latter part of the last decade in generation,” it writes.
Renew Economy 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Ford Motor Company has this week announced one of the world’s largest LED lighting deployments, committing to invest more than $25m in installing 25,000 new energy-efficient lights at its manufacturing facilities across the globe. The company said replacing traditional high-intensity discharge and fluorescent lights with new LEDs will improve safety and lighting quality, while cutting energy use by around 70 per cent and reducing global energy bills by about $7m a year.
Business Green 30th Sept 2014 read more »
ALMOST 1,700 council and housing association homes will benefit from improved energy efficiency as part of a £4.5 million initiative, housing minister Margaret Burgess has announced. A total of 24 local authorities and social landlords are to be given grants to install measures that will make their properties both warmer and cheaper to heat. Work is to be carried out on 1,677 homes, thanks to the Scottish Government’s £4.5 million Green Homes Cashback Scheme. Mrs Burgess said the cash would “not only improve the quality of social rented properties up and down the country but it will make a real difference to families who are struggling to make ends meet”.
Scotsman 1st Oct 2014 read more »
Fracking plans reversed if government gets increased powers.Scottish Government. Plans to allow fracking companies to drill below people’s land without their agreement would be reversed if Scotland is given increased powers over oil and gas drilling, finance secretary John Swinney has said. Scottish ministers called for the devolved powers last week after Westminster announced it will press ahead with UK-wide proposals to give companies the right to drill at depths of 300 metres or more under private land without negotiating a right of access. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) ran a consultation earlier this year asking whether the Government should legislate for underground access to gas, oil and geothermal developers below 300 metres.
STV 30th Sept 2014 read more »
Herald 1st Oct 2014 read more »