Power company profits have risen by nearly three quarters in just four years, according to headlines in today’s papers. But the energy industry says the calculation – which comes from the Labour party – doesn’t give the whole story. The so-called big six energy companies have something of a stranglehold on the energy industry in this country, providing 98 per cent of households in Britain with gas and electricity. But as energy bills rise, there’s been a lot of criticism of their profit margins – and even accusations of “cold-blooded profiteering” from pressure groups. Today’s story is based the Labour party’s calculation that the big six made a total profit of £3.7 billion in 2012. That’s 73 per cent more than the profit it calculated for 2009. Energy company profits are notoriously opaque – and in the face of a sceptical public, the industry is probably going to continue facing questions about quite how much money it really is making.
Carbon Brief 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Energy bills could be about to soar by up to 10%, households were warned today. Price comparison website Energyhelpline.com reckons suppliers are gearing up to hike prices within the next two months – hitting customers before the winter. It believes an increase of between 5% and 10% is on the cards, adding between £70 and £140 a year to the typical gas and electricity bill. Energy firms have refused to rule out further increases, blaming a sharp rise in add-on costs to them
Daily Mirror 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Telegraph 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Enthusiasts for nuclear power detest the phrase “too cheap to meter”. They treat it as a nasty urban myth. Lewis Strauss, then chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, certainly used the words in 1954. But he was talking, say apologists, in a kind of visionary, world-of-far-tomorrow way, not about electricity bills 60 years hence. The shorthand caught on, nevertheless, and it endures, usually as a reproach to the nuclear industry. Yet those who favour that kind of power probably shouldn’t complain too much. Had the public learned what Strauss and his colleagues in Britain and North America were really saying in the fifties, enthusiasm for the friendly atom might have been muted. From the start, the sole realistic hope was nuclear might one day produce energy at a “viable” price. It would always struggle to match coal, oil and gas in terms of simple direct cost. It had no chance of ever being as cheap as hydro. Nuclear was one answer to a perceived capacity problem. Somehow, nevertheless, the industry never got around to killing the idea nuclear generation would become cheap. You are entitled to pause, then, w hen David Cameron makes a pitch for hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. “I think we would be making a big mistake as a nation,” says the Prime Minister, “if we did not think hard about how to encourage fracking and cheaper prices right here in the UK.” In short, here we go again.
Herald 10th Aug 2013 read more »
CALLS have been made to ensure Anglesey becomes a world leader in renewable energy. Segen Wales, a partnership between Marine Current Turbines and RWE npower, is consulting on plans for a tidal farm off the Skerries, and Anglesey MP Albert Owen hopes the project will create employment in the region. He said: “Anglesey and north west Wales can be world leaders in low carbon technology, nuclear, tidal and other renewables. “As an Energy Island we can lead the way in the British Isles making it attractive for investment for outside investment and local companies and people.”
North Wales Chronicle 7th Aug 2013 read more »
Zimbabwe’s Government has signed an agreement with Iran to sell raw materials for a nuclear weapon in direct breach of international sanctions, a senior government official has told The Times. The move by Harare and Tehran is expected to provoke international outrage because of the attempt to circumvent punitive Western sanctions imposed on the two regimes.
Times 10th Aug 2013 read more »
Fukushima Crisis Update 6th to 8th Aug. Japan’s problems with contaminated water leaks reached a new crisis point this week, as the government released estimates that approximately 300 tons (75,000 gallons) of “highly” radioactive water is flowing into the Pacific Ocean each day.
Greenpeace 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Greater investment in nuclear regulation will pay dividends for Japan as it moves to restart nuclear reactors. Mobilising more safety review teams could save the country ¥850 billion ($8.8 billion) if it means more reactors can restart sooner.
World Nuclear News 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Rising anger at Tepco two years after Japanese tsunami and nuclear meltdown as contaminated water seeps into Pacific. Despite his age, 63-year-old Kazuo Niitsuma believes there are many more years of fishing ahead of him. The sea is in his family’s blood, he says. His octogenarian father began working on boats when he was 12, and only retired three years ago. But even if his health permits, Niitsuma knows he may never again get the chance to board his boat and head out into the Pacific in search of sole, whitebait, flounder and greenling.
Guardian 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Germany hit an impressive milestone one day last summer when solar energy provided nearly half of the country’s total electricity. The country is moving rapidly in the renewable energy direction with wind energy now providing 10 percent of Germany’s total electricity demand. Germany plans to reach 35 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050.
Greenpeace Blog 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Taiwanese authorities said a water leak that began 3 1/2 years ago inside a state-owned atomic power plant is yet to be halted, as lawmakers debate whether to put the island’s nuclear future to an island-wide vote. About 19.8 liters (5.2 gallons) has been collected from two leaking used-fuel pools inside Taiwan Power Co.’s No. 1 plant in the period, according to a report from the state oversight body, the Control Yuan. The Ministry of Economic Affairs was faulted for failing to properly supervise the utility, the report shows. Opposition lawmakers brawled in the legislature on Aug. 2 to stave off an island-wide referendum on a fourth nuclear plant under construction 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Taipei and estimated to cost almost $9 billion. President Ma Ying-jeou has pledged to abandon atomic energy as soon as economically a nd environmentally viable alternatives are found.
Bloomberg 9th Aug 2013 read more »
A nuclear power plant in Taiwan may have been leaking radioactive water for three years, the government has said, adding to a growing crisis of confidence in North Asia about nuclear safety. Japan is struggling to contain radioactive water pouring out of the Fukushima nuclear plant that was wrecked by a 2011 tsunami. In South Korea, prosecutors are conducting a massive investigation into forged safety certificates and substandard parts at many of its reactors. Nuclear power has long been used as a reliable alternative to fossil fuels in natural resource-starved parts of Asia like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, but the safety worries are forcing a rethink. A plan to build Taiwan’s fourth nuclear plant has been held up for years by street protests and a brawl in the legislature over safety issues. Most nuclear plants in Japan remain closed and nine of South Korea’s reactors have been shut down, six for maintenance and three to replace cables that were supplied using forged certificates.
Trust 9th Aug 2013 read more »
North Korea appears to have doubled the size of a uranium enrichment plant at its main nuclear complex, satellite images from a Washington-based think-tank indicate, raising fears that it is accelerating its weapons programme. North Korea says that it is using the Yongbyon nuclear site to produce low-level enriched uranium fuel to generate energy. However, researchers at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington say that satellite images taken between March and the end of July show that the space allocated to uranium enrichment has doubled.
Times 9th Aug 2013 read more »
In the UK, Labour’s nuclear disarmament policies of the 1980s were not to blame for electoral failure, argues Rebecca Johnson. A sensible, fact-based debate about Trident replacement requires Ed Miliband to overcome the Party’s ‘electoral defeat traumatic syndrome’.
Open Democracy 9th Aug 2013 read more »
The summer 2013 issue of NIS update includes news about the government’s Trident Alternatives Review, an official report on nuclear safety performance within the Ministry of Defence, and problems during refit work of the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance.
NIS 1st Aug 2013 read more »
NAGASAKI’S mayor has criticised Japan’s Government for failing to sign on to an international nuclear disarmament effort as the country marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of his city.
Herald 10th Aug 2013 read more »
Independent 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 9th Aug 2013 read more »
An “obsession” with fracking is blinding the government to greener sources of energy, according to proponents who claim the economy will miss out on up to £3bn a year and tens of thousands of jobs by failing to exploit organic biogas. Figures from the government and the biogas industry show that generating gas from waste can produce cheaper energy in the short term with fewer carbon emissions than current controversial hydraulic fracturing projects. Alan Whitehead, a Labour MP who sits on the energy and climate select committee, said: “This coalition seems to have an obsession with fracking, to the exclusion of other possibilities, and despite the very clear issues with fracking and the opposition we’ve seen from local communities. It is very short-sighted.” Whitehead said the current incentives for biogas should be bolstered. “The government is not putting enough behind this. There is a lot at stake and a lot of potential here, but the coalition seems to prefer shale gas, even though it is problematic, than this cheap and readily available form of fuel.”
Guardian 9th Aug 2013 read more »
SSE has launched a £250,000 community fund linked to the Hunterston offshore wind turbine test facility. SSE has launched a £250,000 community fund linked to the Hunterston offshore wind turbine test facility. SSE Renewables, the renewable energy development division of SSE, is constructing an offshore wind turbine test facility at Hunterston. Works are being progressed on site with turbine erection planned for September this year.
Largs and Millport News 8th Aug 2013 read more »
The Liberal Democrats have floated plans to significantly bolster the Green Deal and support green growth if they are elected to government in 2015. The plans form part of a policy paper on green growth which will be put to party members for approval at the party’s annual conference this autumn. The policy paper includes commitments to introduce incentives for people to take-up the Green Deal by bringing in variable rates of stamp duty and council tax based on the energy efficiency of a property. The paper, drawn up by a committee of party members including the director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy Andrew Warren and MEP and energy campaigner Fiona Hall, also proposed that the party should back the introduction so-called consequential improvement proposals, which would require householders to upgrade the performance of their homes when building extensions.
Building 7th Aug 2013 read more »
Fresh fears that the government’s path to introducing zero-carbon homes may put the nascent housebuilding recovery at risk have emerged after its long-awaited consultation on part of its plans failed to provide the industry with certainty on key questions. This week the government published its consultation plans for allowable solutions – where housebuilders undertake actions outside of the building itself to contribute towards meeting their zero-carbon obligations, such as renewable energy schemes for the community or paying into a fund to offset carbon emissions.
Building 8th Aug 2013 read more »
Surging oil production from America’s giant shale fields in Texas and North Dakota is offsetting a drop in Opec output caused by a wave of terrorist attacks, protests and theft, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). US crude production averaged 7.3 million barrels a day in the second quarter, 15 per cent higher than a year ago, and is forecast to jump by another 300,000 barrels by the fourth quarter with almost all the increase coming from shale oil. The US accounted for almost half the entire increase in production from non-Opec countries to 54.9 million barrels a day last month.
Times 10th Aug 2013 read more »