Germany may consider “legal steps” over the European Commission’s approval of a UK subsidy to EDF to build the 3.2 GW Hinkley Point nuclear plant, government officials said on Thursday. The ministries of energy and enviroment are looking closely at the deal to ensure “it’s within the framework of European state-aid guidelines”, they told Montel. “The environment minister wants to see the government clarify whether Germany should consider legal steps against the EC decision similar to those of Austria,” said Environment Ministry spokesman Michael Schroeren. In a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, German environment minister Barbara Hendricks said she considered the EC decision “utterly wrong .As far as I know, the nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C will receive guaranteed prices for more than 30 years, which are considerably higher than our feed-in tariffs that are being decreased successively,” she said. This clearly highlighted that nuclear power is not competitive compared to renewable energy “or else prices wouldn’t need fixing for 30 years”, Hendricks said.
Montel 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Business Green 10th Oct 2014 read more »
Doug Parr calculates the total (undiscounted) subsidy to Hinkley over its lifetime would be £37bn, with a £14 increase per household per year. The Chief Technology Officer at Siemens has said that renewables developers would ‘give an arm and a leg, at least’ for the kind of terms being offered to nuclear in UK – yet even so, some renewables will be cheaper at a headline level than nuclear by the time Hinkley opens in 2023 at the earliest. But most of the support for Hinkley is not available to low carbon generators like renewables, or not available at the same rate. For example onshore wind will have a lower ‘strike price’ than Hinkley from 2017, and will in any case now be subject to competitive bidding processes which would lower the price further, again, unlike the Hinkley project. Also, Hinkley’s 35-year strike price contract is unprecedented – and will mean someone leaving school now could still be paying for this contract after they retire.
Energy Desk 8th Oct 2014 read more »
The Stop Hinkley Campaign expressed “extreme disappointment” at the news that the final go-ahead has been given by the European Commission for the new £16 billion nuclear power station in the UK. Spokesperson Allan Jeffrey said: “This deal is clearly illegal under European law. It will saddle UK consumers with the bill for paying huge subsidies for decades, and yet there are more cost effective and safer ways of providing low carbon electricity or not using the energy in the first place. It is mind boggling how the UK government managed to convince the Commissioners to go along with this crazy plan without even the pretence of a competitive process. “The technology proposed for Hinkley Point C is well past its sell-by-date. It’s time for Somerset to look to the futue and develop a locally-controlled sustainable energy industry which doesn’t involve leaving a toxic legacy for our grandchildren’s children and which can tackle climate change and fuel poverty in a much more cost effective way.”
Western Daily Press 9th Oct 2014 read more »
The European Commission’s approval of agreements between EDF Group and the UK government to build Hinkley Point C demonstrates that they are “fair and balanced for investors and consumers now and for the long term,” EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said. Approval by the European Commission is “another important milestone” for the Hinkley Point C project, EDF Energy said. As well as agreement between EDF and the UK government on key commercial terms, the company already has planning permission from the secretary of state for energy and climate change, nuclear site licences and the approval of the European Pressurized Reactor reactor design by the UK nuclear regulator. The remaining steps require the conclusion of agreements with strategic and financial partners. In parallel the waste transfer contract arrangements must be approved by the European Commission and by the secretary of state as part of the Funded Decommissioning Program. This means that, for the first time, the eventual decommissioning and waste management costs associated with Hinkley Point C will be paid by the generator at the time of generation. The cost of this Funded Decommissioning Program has already been taken into account in the strike price. Subject to a final investment decision, commissioning of the first unit at Hinkley Point C is expected to be completed in 2023.
World Nuclear News 8th Oct 2014 read more »
Last night, at a conference designed to encourage better engagement between politicians, energy companies and the public, the chief executive of SSE, Alistair Phillips-Davies, said this deal with EDF “is an expensive way to get nuclear power stations built”. He told me afterwards that when Hinkley Point is finally hooked up to the grid in 2023 the price of the average bill will go up by around 3%. This is not an SSE figure but is, I’m told, widely accepted within the industry. The EC is clearly of the view that the government was too generous in the deal it struck with EDF.
ITV 8th Oct 2014 read more »
The Stop Hinkley Campaign say they will continue to fight to halt EDF Energy building the Hinkley Point C power plant. “It will saddle UK consumers with the bill for paying huge subsidies for decades, and yet there are more cost effective and safer ways of providing low carbon electricity or not using the energy in the first place. It is mind boggling how the UK government managed to convince the Commissioners to go along with this crazy plan without even the pretence of a competitive process. The technology proposed for Hinkley Point C is well past its sell-by-date. It’s time for Somerset to look to the future and develop a locally-controlled sustainable energy industry which doesn’t involve leaving a toxic legacy for our grandchildren’s children and which can tackle climate change and fuel poverty in a much more cost effective way.” Allan Jeffrey, Stop Hinkley spokseman.
ITV 8th Oct 2014 read more »
Commenting on the news a new £16bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is to go ahead, SNP Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP said: “The UK is about to build its first nuclear power plant in almost 20 years, at a massive cost to taxpayers. “The UK government will be turning taxes into guaranteed profits for a nuclear power company. A report by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has previously said the UK Government’s deal for the construction of two reactors at Hinkley would see increased energy bills for the next 35 years.
SNP 8th Oct 2014 read more »
Austria will challenge a decision to let the UK spend money on a new nuclear power plant in court. Its Federal Government announced the lawsuit plans after the the EU Commission gave a green light for Hinkley Point to be built in Somerset today. Chancellor Werner Faymann and Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner said they do “not accept” the decision. Their joint-statement declared: “We will prepare and bring an action before the European Court of Justice.”
Energy Live News 8th Oct 2014 read more »
The UK’s political mainstream has performed a complete U-Turn in policy on nuclear power, culminating yesterday in the European Commission’s approval of a £15-20 billion subsidy package for the Hinkley C project. Donnachadh McCarthy delves into the nuclear industry’s deep and far-reaching political links. Why are all the main political parties betting the farm on nuclear power in spite of its madhouse economics – and against all their promises to either oppose nuclear power altogether, or to refuse subsidies for it? In my new book, The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought, I set out my view that there is a single problem at the root of our nation’s difficulties. A corporate elite have hijacked the pillars of Britain’s democracy. The production of thought, the dissemination of thought, the implementation of thought and the wealth arising from those thoughts, are now controlled by a tiny, staggeringly rich elite. As a result the UK is no longer a functioning democracy but has become a ‘Prostitute State’ built on four pillars: a corrupted political system, a prostituted media, a perverted academia and a thieving tax-haven system. This has disastrously resulted in a flood of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the top 1%. This stolen wealth is built on the destruction of the planet’s ecosystems, which are essential for humanity’s survival. My simple answer is that the nuclear industry has poured millions of pounds year after year into a massive political lobbying campaign. They bought a whole swathe of senior ex-politicians to work as nuclear lobbyists, spent a fortune on trying to manipulate public opinion through media and advertising, and even funded school trips to their nuclear plants. As they managed to persuade a Labour government to abandon their 1997 election manifesto commitment to oppose new nuclear power stations, it is crucial to understand how deeply the nuclear lobby is embedded in the Labour party.
Ecologist 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Craig Bennett: There are so many things I could write about yesterday’s shameful decision by the European Commission to approve the coalition government’s plan to hand over £17.6bn to EDF to build a 1970s style nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. But the overwhelming sentiment felt by many who have watched this saga is just how extraordinarily disingenuous the advocates of new nuclear have had to be to get this far; and what a shockingly bad and expensive deal it is for the British taxpayer and energy bill payers.
Left Foot Forward 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Yesterday’s authorisation by the European Commission of massive subsidies for the UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear project is an enormous set-back for the country’s development of a sustainable and clean energy future. Not only that, it may well stall the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in large parts of Europe for the next decade. Strong nuclear lobbies in countries like Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are pinning their hopes for survival on the Hinkley project. The chance to funnel large sums from state coffers and consumers’ pockets to these megalomaniac pet projects will cause frantic activity in those countries where old, centralised energy systems are still popular with politicians.
Greenpeace 9th Oct 2014 read more »
APPROVAL has been given for a £16billion nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point, Somerset just 14 miles across the Bristol Channel from Barry Island. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Cymru national secretary Jill Gough, spoke on the issue saying: “Radionuclides know no boundaries. Hinkley Point is 14 miles from Barry. Any leak or accident at Hinkley would mean that thousands of families might have to flee their homes, farmland would be made worthless for generations and the Welsh economy would be in tatters.”
Penarth Times 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Greenpeace called it “a world record sell-out to the nuclear industry at the expense of taxpayers and the environment” and the Stop Hinkley Campaign expressed “extreme disappointment”.
Express 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Commenting on the announcement that the European Commission has given the new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset EU state aid approval, Ian Larrard, Director of the Initiative in Swindon & Wiltshire, part of Business West said: “Today’s news is a massive economic boost for Swindon, Wiltshire and the South West. After many months of uncertainty, business will be very pleased that the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in decades has been given the go ahead.
Wiltshire Business 9th Oct 2014 read more »
All the signs are that the new £16 billion nuclear power station, long planned for the Hinkley Point site in Somerset, has crossed its final hurdle, with the go-ahead from EU Commissioners, who have to approve the way the project has been funded. Greenpeace, the environmental group, may be hugely disappointed but the rest of us ought to be breathing a big sigh of relief. Because on both environmental and energy generation grounds, nuclear power is an essential part of keeping the lights on and the wheels of industry turning, here in the Westcountry and across Britain. The risks of an alarming energy crisis looming in Britain if replacement nuclear power stations are not built should not be underestimated. Coal is too dirty; home-produced oil and gas is running short and gas imported from abroad makes the UK vulnerable to global instability and shifting allegiances in countries like Russia. Not a good situation to be in.
Western Morning News 9th Oct 2014 read more »
The news means the Government can press ahead with a whole wave of new reactors, such as Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Anglesey in Wales, to bridge the country’s yawning energy gap, which will only widen over the next decade as existing nuclear plants reach the end of their lives.
London Evening Standard 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Avowed nuclear power supporter Kirsty Gogan wades into the recent row over Friends of the Earth’s stance towards the technology and argues a shift is now needed. I am pleased that Hinkley Points C (despite being eye-wateringly expensive) has got the green light from the EU. Once built, it will save nine million tons of carbon dioxide each year, and reliably generate seven per cent of UK power for more than 60 years. In contrast, Germany’s ambitious (and far more eye-wateringly expensive, incidentally) renewables programme represents something of a climate disaster by replacing nuclear, not coal. Whilst phasing out nuclear, Germany will build 10GW of new coal and emit an estimated two billion tons CO2 over the plants’ life. As Carbon Brief reported, a spokesperson for the German energy ministry admitted: “A simultaneous exit from nuclear energy and coal is not possible in a highly industrialized country like Germany”. Quite.
Business Green 9th Oct 2014 read more »
The EU approval of the Hinkley nuclear reactor in Somerset has been roundly condemned by senior figures in the renewable energy industry, who called the decision a “world record sell-out” and a “shocking decision”.
Edie 9th Oct 2014 read more »
CRACKS have been found in the reactor core at Hunterston B nuclear power station, raising question marks over the future of the ageing plant. Yvonne McLennan, co-convener of the Ayrshire branch of the Scottish Green Party commented: “The new cracks that have been discovered at the nuclear reactor at Hunterston B are a sign that the future of these facilities is becoming unreliable.“Should further cracks appear, the potential risk of core distortion is simply unacceptable.“We should be harnessing the further growth in our renewable capacity with a view to increasing it to a stage of being able to switch from nuclear power to renewables on a permanent basis.“This added to the prospect of waste being transported in lorries through the central belt from Torness in East Lothain, paving the way for others, to Hunterston all makes for an intolerable situation for those living within Ayrshire.”
Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald 8th Oct 2014 read more »
Built in the 1950s to push forward the UK’s nuclear energy ambitions, Dounreay is now at the centre of complex £1.6bn demolition job. The incident which saw cargo ship Parida drifting in the Moray Firth has, and not for the first time, cast a spotlight on the issue of dealing with part of Dounreay’s legacy – its tonnes of radioactive waste, nuclear fuel and other contaminated material. So how are these toxic leftovers being handled, and what kinds of material are involved?
BBC 8th Oct 2014 read more »
Plans for a third nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast have moved a step closer after the EU gave final approval for a station with the same design, supply chain and engineering in Somerset. The go-ahead for a new £16 billion plant at Hinkley Point has been welcomed by ministers as kick-starting Britain’s nuclear power programme, which includes plans to build two new reactors at Sizewell C.
Ipswich Star 8th Oct 2014 read more »
Wylfa Newydd has been boosted by a European Commission decision not to block a Government backed ‘strike’ price for power from new nuclear plants in the UK. Horizon Nuclear Power, the company behind Wylfa Newydd, today welcomed the announcement from the European Commission which clears the way for EDF’s new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. Following an inquiry and consultation by the Commission into the terms of EDF‟s Investment Contract with the UK Government, the Commission has ruled that the modified Contract is compatible with European Union State Aid rules.
Daily Post 8th Oct 2014 read more »
Hopes that Cumbria will host a new nuclear plant have been given a boost after a facility at Hinkley Point in Somerset was finally given official approval. Last month NuGen, the UK nuclear company developing plans for the Moorside project, restarted site assessment work on what would be Europe’s largest new nuclear construction project. A NuGen spokesman said they were confident that the state guarantee arrangements were consistent with rules relating to other low carbon energy projects in Europe. He added: “NuGen welcomes the positive decision.
Carlisle News and Star 9th Oct 2014 read more »
A fire on a ship carrying radioactive waste from Dounreay as part of its site closure program has been extinguished and posed no threat to the cargo, crew or environment, Tina Wrighton, spokeswoman for Dounreay Site Restoration Limited, told World Nuclear News. Dounreay is an experimental nuclear power plant near Thurso which is being decommissioned. Wrighton was responding to media reports that Danish-owned MV Parida was drifting in the Moray Firth after losing power. The fire occurred during the evening of 7 October in one of the two funnels of the Parida, which is carrying six 500-litre drums of cemented waste in transport flasks from Scrabster to Antwerp. The fire was extinguished but the vessel was unable to regain power.
World Nuclear News 8th Oct 2014 read more »
The ship at the centre of the Moray Firth fire drama is now alongside at Invergordon. The MV Parida was moved from her anchorage at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth and tied up at the Saltburn Pier about 8pm last night. She was brought in by tugs the Erland and the Einar. A police statement said the vessel was brought in to allow repair work to be completed.
Press and Journal 9th Oct 2014 read more »
The Parida is now undergoing repairs at dock at Saltburn in Invergordon. The ship was towed into the Cromarty Firth by a pair of tugs at around 8pm on Wednesday. A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Resilience Partnership said: “We can confirm the vessel has been brought alongside a secure pier within the Port of Cromarty Firth. “This is to allow repair work to be completed. There are no public safety concerns with the vessel or its cargo. The integrity of the vessel and the cargo has not been affected. “The vessel will remain alongside the pier with appropriate security measures until the repair work is completed. Once a final inspection has taken place, a decision will be made on when the vessel can resume its journey.”
STV 9th Oct 2014 read more »
HOLYROOD should unite around calls for devolution of the appropriate powers to manage and prevent incidents involving nuclear waste in its waters, the First Minister has said. Alex Salmond was responding to an incident in the Moray Firth earlier this week when a ship carrying radioactive material began drifting after losing power. The ship, named Parida, suffered a blaze in one of her funnels on Tuesday and began drifting towards the Beatrice oil platform, which was then shut down and evacuated as a precaution.
Scotsman 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Energy Reporter 9th Oct 2014 read more »
CIWM 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Standard & Poor’s, which a month ago said it was considering whether to downgrade French nuclear group Areva’s credit ratings by one notch into non-investment grade territory, said it had decided to leave the firm’s rating unchanged. “The rating affirmation takes into account our expectation that Areva will issue hybrid debt in the short term, sell assets for 450 million euros by end-2016, and curb capital expenditures over 2015-2016 in order to limit the increase in its adjusted debt,” the rating agency said in a statement.
Reuters 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Eurelectric has urged policymakers to develop renewable energy policy that is market-based, using the European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS) as the key driver. In a new report the pan-European electricity association said that for the period after 2020 a market-based approach should be taken to ensure cost-effective deployment of renewable energy technologies, which progressively phases out the need for subsidies. “On the one hand, renewable generation must be made fit for the market; on the other hand, the market must be made fit for renewables,” a statement from the group said. The report explained that policy should be approached with the EU ETS as main driver for mature low-carbon technologies, with support for immature technologies made specifically through research, development and demonstration funding.
Utility Week 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Back in August, my colleague Catherine Mitchell wrote about Britain’s new Capacity Market being introduced as part of the Electricity Market Reform package. National Grid has now released figures on what capacity has pre-qualified for the CM. Apart from the point made by Greenpeace and Sandbag that the CM looks likely to prop up our old coal-fired capacity, what is particularly disappointing but not surprising is the picture on demand-side response. In total, just over 1 GW of DSR units applied for pre-qualification, of which around 794MW has been pre-qualified or conditionally pre-qualified, and which is represented in the thin purple wedge in the figure above. Rejected units may still prequalify on appeal, but this is still a paltry amount. Qualifying DSR represents less than 1% of GB peak capacity, compared with the 10% of peak capacity actually delivered by DSR in the PJM market in the US. It is of course early days, but given the extensive experience of DSR in the US, it does appear that few lessons have been learned in terms of auction design and the need to proactively build the DSR market.
IGov 9th Oct 2014 read more »
More customers are switching away from the big six for their electricity supply, a new report by Energy UK has shown. According to its figures, nearly half of the 259,855 households that changed their supplier in September opted for an independent supplier. This was the second highest monthly rate of customers who moved to small suppliers since 2012, although September’s numbers still fall short of those seen in April this year. Three times as many people moved to a small provider last month than they did in the same time last year, the report added.
Utility Week 9th Oct 2014 read more »
A new €850m programme has been launched by the European Commission to foster development of nuclear fusion as a future energy source. The EUROfusion programme, funded through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation framework, is a joint venture between the EU, Europe’s fusion laboratories, Euroatom and Fusion for Energy, Europe’s agency responsible for the delivery of ITER, the world’s largest experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor which is currently being built in southern France. Covering the period between 2014 and 2018, the EUROfusion programme aims to address key scientific and technological challenges identified in a roadmap outlined by Europe’s fusion research laboratories in 2012.
Engineering & Technology 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Talks between the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran this week appear not to have substantively advanced an investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Tehran, potentially dimming chances for a broader deal between the Iranians and big powers. Western officials say Iran must improve cooperation with United Nations nuclear sleuths if it wants to reach a settlement to a protracted dispute with six world powers over the country’s nuclear programme and be rid of crippling financial sanctions.
Reuters 9th Oct 2014 read more »
International researchers, in what they believe is the most comprehensive global assessment of clean energy’s potential, report that a low-carbon system could supply the world’s electricity needs by 2050. A global low-carbon energy economy is not only feasible, it could double electricity supply by 2050 while actually reducing air and water pollution, according to new research. Even though photovoltaic power requires up to 40 times more copper than conventional power plants, and wind power uses up to 14 times more iron, the world wins on a switch to low-carbon energy.
Climate News Network 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Businesses could save more than £31,000 on their annual energy bills, amounting to a total of £5bn for the entire UK corporate community, by installing solar power panels on their roofs, a new study from insulation company Kingspan has claimed. The report, released on Wednesday, also found that the UK could generate its entire electricity demand from solar PV if panels were fitted across 61 per cent of the country’s south-facing commercial rooftops.
Business Green 9th Oct 2014 read more »
A proposed 20MW wood-burning biomass plant is to be discussed by Perth and Kinross Council. A proposal of application notice has been lodged for a renewable energy facility at the Inveralmond industrial estate. The plant would feature four 40m tall stacks and would burn up to 200,000 tonnes of timber a year. Three major biomass projects in other Scottish cities were dropped earlier this year. The proposed development, on two hectares of land currently used for agriculture directly to the west of the industrial estate, would export electricity to the national grid as well as providing heat to surrounding developments and businesses.
BBC 9th Oct 2014 read more »
The UK’s domestic energy efficiency market may be struggling to cope with fluctuating government policies and subsidy cutbacks, but a new report today reveals a very different scenario for those working with offices, schools and universities. The latest Energy Efficiency Trends Report, by analyst EEVS Insight, supported by the UK Green Investment Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, shows that confidence in the £10-£15bn non-domestic energy efficiency market is at an all-time high.
Business Green 9th Oct 2014 read more »
Scottish Energy News 10th Oct 2014 read more »
The Zero Carbon Hub “has proved to be the acknowledged entity to which everyone turns – companies and Ministers alike – to consider how best to progress towards ensuring that only the most energy- and carbon-efficient new buildings are constructed”. Warren is now calling for a similar hub to be created to deal with the upgrade of the UK’s 26 million existing buildings, most of which will still be around for the next 40 years. Since the UK has one of the poorest housing stocks in Europe and despite a long history of policies aimed at tackling the energy efficiency of existing buildings, much remains to be done.
Sussex Energy Group 9th Oct 2014 read more »
ACE 7th Oct 2014 read more »
More than 100,000 homes across the UK could be given a carbon-neutral retrofit by 2020 if the EU approves funding for a ground-breaking green social housing project this month. The first pilot projects are due to start within a year on council estates and housing association properties in London, Birmingham and southern England and are set to save 1,950GWh of electricity. The Energiesprong (Energy Leap) initiative involves completely wrapping houses with insulated panel-facades that snap on like Lego. Insulated roofs adorned with 24 high-efficiency solar panels each are fastened on top, while heat pumps, hot water storage tanks and ventilation units are stored in garden sheds.
Guardian 10th Oct 2014 read more »
Could Scotland be sourcing 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, by investing now in cutting-edge energy storage technologies? That’s the topic being explored when a group of energy experts from across the UK and Europe meets at Heriot-Watt University later this month. The workshop, on 21 October, will be held at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation and hosted by Professor Sue Roaf of Heriot-Watt’s Energy Academy. The workshop will provide a great opportunity to share knowledge and discuss emerging technologies to gain a clearer understanding of the prospects for green energy storage in Scotland. Participants include specialists in the field of energy storage from Germany, Denmark, Italy and the UK.
Scottish Energy News 10th Oct 2014 read more »
The government’s failure to secure progress on fracking poses a threat to job creation, according to Britain’s biggest business group. John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, said that one in five of its members believe that Britain’s energy security is worse than five years ago. He added that high costs were affecting manfacturers’ ability to compete. Heavy industry already complains that it is penalised by higher energy prices than competitors in continental Europe. Mr Cridland said that heavy energy users pay 35 per cent more than the median of the 15 biggest economies in the EU and that some CBI members reported costs were 50 per cent higher than in some European countries. Developers attempting to exploit British deposits of shale gas have been stymied by protests and reluctance from local authorities and landowners.
Times 10th Oct 2014 read more »