The energy secretary, Ed Davey, has urged the energy regulator to look into the profits being made by the Big Six energy companies through supplying gas. The Liberal Democrat said Ofgem should examine whether their profit margins – in some cases five times higher for gas than for supplying household electricity – should be the subject of a market investigation. Such an investigation, if it found evidence of a monopoly, could lead to a company being broken up.
Guardian 10th Feb 2014 read more »
The Energy Secretary has questioned the profit margins made on gas by Britain’s biggest energy companies, going as far as suggesting that the UK’s biggest supplier, British Gas, could be broken up. In a letter to regulators, Ed Davey estimated that margins on gas bills are up to five times those made on electricity. He pointed to evidence indicating that British Gas was using its grip on the market to boost profits, and said the company could face a market investigation.
Telegraph 10th Feb 2014 read more »
Ed Davey’s letter to Ofgem.
Telegraph 10th Feb 2014 read more »
Westminster has turned its guns on the energy industry, with both gas and electricity providers under fire for their treatment of customers. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has accused the Big Six gas suppliers of boasting an average profit margin three times higher than that of electricity companies, reserving particular ire for the market dominance of British Gas.
Times 10th Feb 2014 read more »
ANTI-nuclear campaigners in Cumbria are hoping to take their fight to halt the controversial deer cull at Sellafield to Whitehall. In just over a week thousands have put their name to an online petition launched after it was revealed the group of trapped wild roe deer would be shot. Radiation Free Lakeland is urging Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron to lobby the government in a bid to get Sellafield bosses to change their minds.
NW Evening Mail 9th Feb 2014 read more »
Alex Salmond warns that the remaining UK’s power grid would be unable to cope with the peak in electricity demand unless London agreed to maintain a shared energy market. The view that it would be in the remaining UK’s interests to accept a continued shared electricity market – including the cost of funding renewables such as wind power – is at the core of Scottish government plans for a post-independence energy policy. Mr Salmond’s governing Scottish National party says Scotland’s power stations are essential to maintaining sufficient capacity across the grid it shares with England and Wales and would continue to be needed to keep its neighbours’ lights on after independence. Scotland provided 13.6 per cent of UK electricity generation between 2011 and 2012 and exported more than a quarter of its output. Energy officials in London suggest that if Scotland departed, the remaining UK could choose between Scotland and rival suppliers such as France, the Republic of Ireland and Iceland for electricity imports. Some researchers say Scotland could benefit from a more separate approach. As part of a team of researchers, Aberdeen university energy policy expert David Toke said in early 2013 that leaving the UK would probably make it more expensive for Scotland to meet its green targets, which include generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity demand by 2020. But the researchers have revised that view following the UK government’s decision to offer long and high-premium price contracts for new nuclear capacity – none of which will be in nuclear-sceptical Scotland. Mr Toke thinks greater political devolution within the UK would be best for Scotland, but he says that independence and a separately run electricity system could be better than the status quo. “That’s very plausible,” he says.
FT 9th Feb 2014 read more »
As most observers of climate and energy policy know by now, the European Commission has put forward a 2030 draft package that has a carbon target, but no nationally binding renewables or energy efficiency targets. The European Parliament voted last week for a more ambitious package including those last two elements, but it has no power to impose this on ministers who will meet in March to potentially seal a deal. The plain fact is that we are still trying to make the ETS work, and locking in market design for long periods is slowing that process down massively, without any particular gain in terms of credibility or effectiveness. There are alternatives, including a return to shorter phases for a while, or the possibility of windows for reviewing design built into phases, as happens in so-called ‘re-openers’ in energy network regulation.
IGov 10th Feb 2014 read more »
The aim of this public consultation is to seek the opinions of the general public and all stakeholders on the issues related to energy efficiency policies and measures for 2020 and 2030. Particularly, the replies submitted to this consultation will provide an important input to the review of progress towards the 2020 energy efficiency target under Article 3(2) of the Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU. They will also be taken into consideration for the follow-up of the Communication “A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030” to establish the exact ambition of future energy savings policy and the measures necessary to deliver it.
European Commission 3rd Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables are making headway in Europe and bringing a low-carbon electricity system to the forefront. Renewables were 69 percent of new capacity added in 2012 in Europe and 49 percent in the United States. Not surprisingly, this threatens utilities unwilling to let go of outmoded business models and fossil-fuel generation. Laments for Europe’s money-losing electric utilities were featured in an October 2013 cover story in the Economist. It said Europe’s top 20 energy utilities have lost over half their 2008 value, or a half-billion Euros – more than Europe’s banks lost. Many utilities therefore want renewable competition slowed or stopped. Indeed, some European giants, like Germany’s E.ON and RWE, are in real trouble, and five of Europe’s top ten utilities have suffered credit downgrades. Clinging to and investing in antiquated business models should be neither rewarded nor celebrated. After all, it’s not as if their authors didn’t know big changes were coming. Ordering new coal plants in the face of renewable mandates and emerging carbon trading is akin to buying up carriage-makers just as automobiles began to relieve London’s horse-manure crisis.
Renew Economy 10th Feb 2014 read more »
The number of young people in Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer, which is often associated with radiation exposure, has risen to 75, prefectural officials said Feb. 7. That is 16 more than in November, when figures were last released. The number of definitive cases rose by seven, from 26. The 75 are among 254,000 individuals for whom results of thyroid gland tests have been made available to date. Only residents of Fukushima Prefecture who were aged 18 or under at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster are eligible to receive the thyroid gland tests administered by the prefectural government.
Asahi Shimbun 7th Feb 2014 read more »
A pro-nuclear politician has won the race to become governor of Tokyo on Sunday, exit polls suggested, in an election widely seen as a referendum on the future of atomic power. Yoichi Masuzoe, a former cabinet minister, beat anti-nuclear rivals to rule Japan’s capital by a comfortable margin over 15 other candidates, taking over 30 per cent of the vote, according to a television exit poll.
Telegraph 9th Feb 2014 read more »
Guardian 9th Feb 2014 read more »
This week, we have already spoken twice about the new Fraunhofer IWES study showing that a switch to 100 percent renewable energy (not just electricity!) would be a good investment by 2050 based on the offset expenses for conventional fuel. But how much installed capacity would be needed? And what is the design? The paper is obviously an exercise in demonstrating potential; as I previously pointed out, Germany has a target of 60 percent renewable energy by 2050, not 100 percent (unlike Denmark and possibly the Netherlands). So what does the study propose, and what does it tell us about where we need to go?
Renewables International 7th Feb 2014 read more »
Corrosion of fuel rods at 25 of EDF’s 58 French nuclear reactors could lead the French nuclear watchdog to tighten maintenance rules for the utility, investigative website Mediapart said on Friday. The website, which published what it says is an EDF document obtained from an anonymous sender, said French nuclear watchdog ASN would produce a report on the subject in the “coming days”. ASN was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for EDF said ASN had raised the question of fuel rod corrosion but he said there was no safety problem and the issue would have no impact on the reactors’ operations.
Reuters 7th Feb 2014 read more »
The Savannah River Site received $1.134 billion in funding for the fiscal year – $46 million above the Department of Energy budget request. “Under this budget, we will continue to make solid progress on our clean-up missions at SRS and build on our future as a successful DOE site,” said the Site’s DOE spokesperson, Jim Giusti. Constructed during the early 1950s to help create nuclear weapons as part of the nation’s defense program, the Site is now undergoing clean-up missions as a result of that Cold War era and has taken on other national and international clean-up missions as well. So what exactly is being done today at the Savannah River Site? The Aiken Standard looks at some of the Site’s ongoing missions this fiscal year.
Aiken Standard 9th Feb 2014 read more »
Exelon Corporation is considering closing some of its nuclear power plants because they have become unprofitable. Despite what CEO Christopher Crane said during its fourth-quarter earnings call was its “best-ever year in generation,” Exelon blames low electricity prices and “bad energy policy” for making some of its units unprofitable to continue to run. By “bad energy policy,” Crane is referring to subsidies for renewable energy that Exelon has long campaigned against.
Oil Price 9th Feb 2014 read more »
Tehran has agreed to take seven practical, preliminary measures on nuclear co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency by 15 May, Iran said in a statement with the UN watchdog on Sunday.
Independent 9th Feb 2014 read more »
Iran said the controversial Parchin military site is not included in an agreement it struck on Sunday with the UN atomic watchdog. The IAEA suspects explosive tests took place in Parchin, a military site near Tehran, that are “strong indicators of possible nuclear weapon development”. It has asked in vain for years to visit the facility, pointing to new information it has uncovered since its last visits to the site in 2005.
Middle East Online 9th Feb 2014 read more »