Friday’s You and Yours Programme on BBC Radio 4 is characterised by investigative journalism, often having a go at corporate nasties on behalf of the consumer. Not this Friday though…. This Friday, You and Yours managed to be a mouthpiece for what sounded like an EDF PR campaign, without even asking them the obvious questions that any intelligent listener (whether or not anti-nuclear) would have wanted asked. What began as an item on energy prices turned into propaganda for Hinkley C.
Radiation Free Lakeland 9th Nov 2014 read more »
Householders living in the South East of England are overpaying for their energy by hundreds of pounds, far more than bill payers living further north. Figures compiled for Telegraph Money show that people living in Surrey and Greater London overpay by as much as £275. This figure is the difference between the current average bill paid in the region and the best available rate there. Householders across the country pay an average of £1,275 for gas and electricity, but the research reveals a “postcode lottery” for customers attempting to switch to the cheapest deals.
Telegraph 9th Nov 2014 read more »
As government ministers and regulators promote the notion of shopping around beyond the big six energy suppliers to cut household bills, the evidence is that consumers are voting with their feet. The market share of competitors to the UK’s big six gas and electricity suppliers has jumped from 3 per cent to 9 per cent since last year, according to industry body Energy UK. This suggests that – beyond the persistent criticism suggesting lack of competition in the sector – some structural change and challenge to incumbent suppliers has been brought to bear. In September First Energy announced it had breached the 1m mark of customer accounts giving it a 2 per cent market share, establishing it as the leading challenge to the big six providers led by Centrica. As recently as three years ago, major suppliers commanded more than 99 per cent of the household ma rket. Higher volumes of consumers were switching then, but merely from one big six supplier to another. Ovo Energy, the second-ranked challenger to the big six comprising Centrica-owned British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, EDF, Npower and Eon, has also nearly trebled its customer base to 400,000 customers, operating 750,000 electricity and gas accounts over the past year. However, the surge in switching away from the big six and the market share gains by challengers has not lessened complaints from new entrants that incumbent suppliers – in effect a range of UK and foreign companies that have acquired Britain’s electricity retail businesses alongside former state monopoly British Gas – still have the advantage because customers, for whatever reason, fail to shop around. According to Guy Newey, Ovo’s head of policy: “People have got totally fed up with the big six – something has clinked in their heads. The political debate has driven switching.” Ovo is attempting to extend its reach wi th its own take on the “white label” tie-ups between the big six and retailers such as those between British Gas and J Sainsbury and SSE and Marks and Spencer. Last month, it launched Plymouth Energy Community through a tie-up with Plymouth Council, the first of a number of other promotional links it is seeking with local councils aimed at promoting Ovo over incumbents.
FT 9th Nov 2014 read more »
World Energy Forum
Demand for electricity in the emerging economies is growing very strongly – between 5% and 6% each year, on average, compared to 1% or less in developed economies – and will continue to rise in the decades ahead. Moreover, many of these same countries have goals to improve energy security and avoid emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. It’s impossible to rely solely on natural gas or sources of renewable energy to meet this demand. Nor is it possible to rely exclusively on coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel. Countries pursuing an expansion of nuclear power face big challenges. Nuclear power plants have high upfront investment costs and long construction times, which creates particular issues in competitive markets where utilities face significant market and regulatory risk. Nuclear power also faces intense public concern about a wide range of issues. Safety is the dominant concern – safety in plant operation, safe radioactive waste disposal and safeguards against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. And perhaps most importantly, there is the need to improve confidence in the competence and independence of regulatory oversight. If these challenges are not adequately addressed, the nuclear component of future generation may be lower than many expect.
Alarabiya 9th Nov 2014 read more »
France – Drones
An epidemic of mysterious – and potentially disturbing – drone flights over French nuclear power stations remains unexplained despite the recent arrests of three young model aircraft enthusiasts in central France. The illegal flights by the tiny, pilotless helicopters, mostly at night, were initially dismissed as a nuisance. But a recent spate of five co-ordinated “visits” in one evening to nuclear reactors hundreds of miles apart has now placed the French government on high alert. A campaign of harassment by anti-nuclear campaigners is considered the most likely explanation. Surveillance flights by a terrorist group testing the security of France’s 19 nuclear sites have not been ruled out.
Independent 9th Nov 2014 read more »
Russia and Iran will be signing off a construction deal for two nuclear power plants on Iran’s southern Gulf shores when the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, travels to Russia on Tuesday (11 November).
IB Times 9th Nov 2014 read more »
President Barack Obama dampened hopes of a historic deal over Iran’s nuclear programme on Sunday as intensive talks began ahead of a looming deadline for reaching an agreement. The US leader warned that “we may not be able to get there” while acknowledging that “a big gap” remains between the negotiating positions of Tehran and six world powers over the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment activities, which the West and Israel fear is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb.
Telegraph 9th Nov 2014 read more »
Reuters 9th Nov 2014 read more »
Guardian 9th Nov 2014 read more »
The US nuclear weapons program has become costly to sustain and Washington has neither a clear plan to turn the tide to save the industry nor money to develop and replace decades-old equipment, weaponry and nuclear delivery vehicles. The US nuclear deterrence potential has decreased 15 times since the Cold War, yet the maintenance of the existing stockpiles is costing American taxpayers more than at the peak of the confrontation with the Soviet Union. The whole weapons program is bloated and mismanaged at its very core, former Energy Department officials, outside experts and members of Congress tell the Los Angeles Times.
Russia Today 9th Nov 2014 read more »
The “biggest and ugliest” electricity pylons slicing through some of the UK’s most treasured beauty spots are set to be torn down. National Grid will investigate ways to remove pylons from a shortlist of eight rural areas by putting the high-voltage transmission lines underground. The firm has 571km (355 miles) of pylon lines running through national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) in England and Wales. The shortlisted areas are in the Snowdonia, Peak District, New Forest and Brecon Beacons national parks, and the Dorset, Tamar Valley, High Weald and North Wessex Downs AONBs, totalling 25km of lines.
Guardian 9th Nov 2014 read more »
The UK’s coal power stations could operate into the 2030s and risk breaching mandatory emissions reduction targets unless the government acts, a report has found. David Cameron has pledged to close all unabated coal power stations in the mid-2020s, in line with European clean air regulations. But researchers at Imperial College London modelling the effect of current government policy on the UK’s 11 coal-fired power plants found nearly half of the UK’s existing 40 to 50 year old coal-fired generating capacity could still be operating in 2030.
Business Green 10th Nov 2014 read more »
While we cannot revisit our decision in regard to North Sea oil, we now have a chance to take a different approach with the second gift we have received from nature, in the shape of our potential supply of gas from fracking. Today the House of Lords will debate an amendment I have proposed to the Infrastructure Bill that will give the Government powers to establish a sovereign wealth fund to receive part of the one-off revenues that may result from the extraction of shale gas.
Telegraph 10th Nov 2014 read more »