Conservative think-tank Bright Blue has said that renewables must be the government’s ‘Plan B’ in the event that the controversial Hinkley C nuclear power project falls through. Bright Blue’s ‘Keeping the lights on’ report, published yesterday, profiled how it considered the UK should best fuel its energy sector as unabated coal firing plants are phased out by 2025. It uses research commissioned from Aurora Energy Research to provide three scenarios – ‘base case’, ‘low stress’ and ‘high stress’ – under which the security of the UK’s energy supply is tested in light of the government’s planned coal phase out. While all three scenarios indicate that energy security will be maintained, the ‘low stress’ scenario – which entails above-expectations deployment of renewables, nuclear and energy efficiency technologies – results in greater energy security and cheaper household energy bills. Principle in the report’s findings however is the government’s actions in the event that the planned 3.2GW nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C is not built. The project’s fate continues to be scrutinised and EDF has yet to commit to a final investment decision despite repeatedly granting assurances that a positive announcement would be forthcoming. The report indicates that should it collapse, greater renewables deployment “should be ‘Plan B’” given the technology’s capability to “easily fill in the capacity gap” throughout the late 2020s.
Solar Power Portal 8th June 2016 read more »
Phasing out coal from the UK’s energy mix two years ahead of the government’s current 2025 target would bring significant carbon and air pollution benefits, a think-tank said in a report Tuesday. “We believe that the 2025 target should be brought forward to at least 2023 to give investors greater certainty, particularly those planning new gas capacity. This can be achieved without threatening security of supply,” Bright Blue said in its report. RENEWABLES AS ‘PLAN B’ FOR HINKLEY DELAYS Long-running delays in EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C nuclear program has cast doubts over whether the nuclear capacity would be available at the scheduled delivery date of 2026. It has also spurred the need for another generating asset to offset the unavailable capacity if Hinkley suffers further delays or is cancelled. “The future of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station appears to be highly uncertain. Should the project not materialise, renewables can easily fill the capacity gap in the late 2020s,” the report said.
Platts 8th June 2016 read more »
Cumbria Wildlife Trust Team Up with NuGen for World Environment Day.
Radiation Free Lakeland 9th June 2016 read more »
Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons program has suffered a skills shortage for the last 10 years, posing a threat to nuclear safety, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) report says. The latest annual report from the MoD’s internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), says staff shortages are a “key strategic issue” which requires attention to ensure continued “safe delivery” of the nuclear weapons program. DNSR has expressed concern about this issue since 2006, the report says.
Russia Today 9th June 2016 read more »
BBC 9th June 2016 read more »
Defence Police guarding nuclear deterrent could be replaced by army. The police force that guards Britain’s nuclear arsenal is operating “at the limits of its resources” and further cuts would damage national security, a leading officer will warn. Chairman of the Defence Police Federation Eamon Keating is set to speak out as the civilian Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) faces a potential further reduction of 15% in its workforce and possibly being axed from guarding Trident warheads. In a speech to the federation on Thursday, which is due to be attended by defence minister Lord Howe, he will say: “There have been suggestions that the MDP’s role in guarding the nuclear deterrent might change.
Scotsman 9th June 2016 read more »
THE police force that guards Britain’s nuclear arsenal is operating “at the limits of its resources” and further cuts would damage national security, a leading officer will warn. Chairman of the Defence Police Federation Eamon Keating is set to speak out as the civilian Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) faces a potential further reduction of 15% in its workforce and possibly being axed from guarding Trident warheads.
NW Evening Mail 9th June 2016 read more »
Express 9th June 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy policy
With November’s fuel poverty targets set to be missed, pressure needs to be applied to the Scottish Government to deliver a Warm Homes Bill to tackle Scotland’s 1.5m cold homes, says Sean McLaughlin, managing director of Matilda’s Planet. The SNP’s pledge to introduce a Warm Homes Bill to tackle fuel poverty and increase energy efficiency during this Parliament has been heralded as a bold move, but there are reasons why their minority administration needs to pull out the stops to deliver this sooner rather than later. In 2002 the Scottish Government committed to eradicating fuel poverty as far as is reasonably practicable by November 2016. As this target is impossible to meet Scotland now needs a comprehensive and realistic new strategy to improve domestic energy efficiency in order to eliminate fuel poverty and eradicate Scotland’s scourge of c old homes. It’s time for solid deliverable plans not more grand aspirations without a strategy to deliver them. In April the Existing Homes Alliance compiled some excellent data which revealed there are an estimated 1.5m ‘cold homes’ in Scotland – homes with Energy Performance Certificates ranging between D to F ratings.
Scottish Housing News 9th June 2016 read more »
Bristol’s newly elected mayor, Marvin Rees, has approved the city’s first major step towards becoming carbon neutral by 2050, giving the go-ahead for £5m in capital funding to build a low-carbon district heating network to serve the city. The first phase of the heat network, which was approved earlier this week, will supply low-carbon heat to buildings throughout Bristol via a network of underground pipes connected to a number of energy centres, including biomass boilers and gas combined heat and power plants. Over time the city plans to phase out the use of natural gas in favour of renewable alternatives.
Guardian 9th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Dong Energy, a Danish company that owns offshore windfarms around the UK, was valued at Kr 98.2bn (£10bn) as it successfully pulled off Europe’s largest stock market flotation this year. The Copenhagen-based group, which employs 700 people in Britain and is in the middle of a transition from a focus on fossil fuels to renewables, saw its shares soar a further 10% after they were sold to new investors at Kr235 each. The Danish government said last month it hoped to see the business valued at £11bn if possible but settled for slightly less only to see both institutional and small buyers keen to pick up for stock after the initial public offering.
Guardian 9th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The European Commission has awarded just over £3 million to support tidal energy testing and demonstration in Orkney waters. Awarded under the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) scheme, the funding is split between two projects – the InToTidal project and Ocean 2G.
Scottish Energy News 10th June 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: Bristol Heat Networks; LEDs could lop 8GW off peak demand; Ferry Farm Community Solar Project Share Offer; Good Energy Share Offer; solar car port for Hereford; Barnsley solar PV project Re-energised; Energy companies are cheaper and cleaner when run by the council.
Microgen Scotland 9th June 2016 read more »
Scottish and Southern Energy – the Perth-based utility giant – has told MPs that there will be no connections to the UK grid from Scotland’s ‘energy isles’ until 2020 at the earliest. Andrew Huthwaite, the transmission development director at SSE – which builds and maintains Grid infrastructure in the Highlands and Islands – said it ‘depended on getting regulatory approval’ He was giving evidence yesterday in Edinburgh to MPs on the House of Commons’ Committee on Scottish Affairs – which is currently carrying out an investigation into the electricity and renewable energy industries in Scotland. Huthwaite said: “The earliest we are feasibly looking at for mainland UK Grid connections is by December 2020 for the Western Isles, by March 2021 for Shetland and by 2022 for Orkney.”
Scottish Energy News 10th June 2016 read more »
Global consumption of coal fell by a record amount last year thanks to waning Chinese demand and increasing use of cheaper gas and oil, according to data from BP. The energy giant said that demand for oil, gas and renewable energy all increased last year despite sluggish economic growth but that there was a distinct shift away from coal, the most polluting of energy sources. Oil increased its market share of global primary energy consumption for the first time since 1999, to 33pc, as low prices spurred demand. Coal retained its position as the second largest source but was the only energy type to lose market share last year, according to BP’s annual review of the energy markets.
Telegraph 8th June 2016 read more »