Interview with Prof Jim Skea is the chair in sustainable energy at Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy. He is a founding member of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change and in 2015 was elected co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s Working Group III. He is vice-president of the Energy Institute. Do you think Hinkley C [nuclear power plant in Somerset] will be built? And, if not, how will that gap in the UK’s energy mix be plugged?: With the various positions I hold, I am very reluctant to comment on individual projects. But the decision on Hinkley C, I don’t think hangs so much on UK energy policy as on decisions that are being made in France, because there are well publicised differences among different members of the EDF board, for example. I think the other thing to mention is that Hinkley Point isn’t the only nuclear game in town for the UK. The Hitachi Project, with the boiling water reactor, is also going through its regulatory process. You could argue that Hitachi probably has deeper pockets than EDF to carry this one through. So even if Hinkley were not to go ahead, it wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the nuclear story for the UK. But it would presumably leave a big hole – a 7% hole or whatever we variously get told about what it would mean. So, you think other nuclear would fill that void, or do you think other low-carbon sources of power would come into play at that point? It depends how strong any government wanted to be about the carbon intensity of electricity by around 2030 because there are many things, actually, that could fill the gap covered by Hinkley Point. And I don’t think security of supply is necessarily a worry that’s caused by Hinkley Point. It could be filled in by renewable energy and renewables projects have a three- or four-year planning timeline to get them through, whereas a nuclear station it’s decade at least, on experience. So there are other technologies that could come and fill the gap more quickly. If we were not to be strict on the carbon intensity of electricity, then you would find gas could fill the gap as well, if all you were worried about was getting the kilowatt hours out and you weren’t so troubled about the carbon dimension of it.
Carbon Brief 11th July 2016 read more »
Nuclear waste from decommissioned submarines is set to be stored at Capenhurst. After being shortlisted the Ministry of Defence says now Capenhurst Nuclear Services (CNS) will be used for the storage project. It will hold steel Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) from 27 defuelled nuclear submarines after they have left the Royal Navy’s service. The announcement was made in a written ministerial statement to Parliament by Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne MP. The decision follows a site selection process conducted by the MOD over the past two years including a formal 12-week consultation with the community around Capenhurst between November 2014 and February 2015.
Chester Chronicle 10th July 2016 read more »
“The Low Level [Radioactive] Waste Repository (LLWR) is situated near to areas of Cumbrian coastline where historical evidence indicates that the coast has receded in the past, and as it is anticipated that sea level will rise, it is expected that the repository area will be disrupted through coastal erosion and sea-level rise will accelerate this process.” (NDA, 2015) Looking at the picture above, it doesn’t take much imagination to see that the LLW Nuclear Waste Dump at Drigg will fall onto the beach and eventually into the Irish sea, (unless it’s moved). Official documents even say so. It’s not a matter of if, only how quickly.
Mining Awareness 10th July 2016 read more »
The changes taking place in the world energy market are not just a matter of oversupply or the unwillingness of Saudi Arabia to rein in production. Demand has stagnated and in some areas is falling. The fall is unexpected — all the standard projections still cheerfully predict ever rising demand driven by population growth and the spread of prosperity in emerging economies. That assumption, however, begins to look too simplistic. The reality is more complex and, for producers, much more challenging. Forget the old debate about peak oil. Now it seems we are approaching peak energy. The crucial factor in the shift in the relationship between economic growth and energy use is not price but technology. Those thinking of the future should take note of the fact that the obvious gains in energy efficiency and intensity clearly have further to go. As yet we have barely seen the benefits of smart meters and grids, the application of advanced materials and the continuing gains in areas such as fuel efficiency. There is more to come and an obvious target is the amount of energy that is still wasted. Worldwide, population growth continues and in addition there are still well over 1bn people excluded from the world market by poverty. If that number can be reduced, energy demand should grow — but, with OECD demand beginning to fall, the net result could well be that we will see peak global energy demand within the next decade.
FT 11th July 2016 read more »
The government has been forced to increase the buying target for the main capacity market auction because several plants missed their delivery deadlines. Energy secretary Amber Rudd said the target recommended by National Grid had failed to take full account of the delays. The government will purchase 52GW of capacity in the four-year-ahead (T-4) auction for the winter of 2020/21, which is scheduled for December. In a letter to National Grid, Rudd noted that three plants – Trafford, Cottam and West Burton – had failed to meet their capacity market milestones for delivery in 2020/21. She said the recommended target had only accounted for delays at two of the plants and not all three and the delay to the third plant would mean the absence of 5GW of capacity rather than just 3.4GW.
Utility Week 8th July 2016 read more »
The UK Government has set out how much electricity capacity it intends to buy in the forthcoming Capacity Market auctions.
Scottish Energy News 11th July 2016 read more »
The Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) of MPs has launched an inquiry to explore the implications for UK climate policy of leaving the European Union (EU), amid major concerns over the uncertain futures of shale gas exploration and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Edie 8th July 2016 read more »
Energy and Climate Change Committee chair Angus MacNeil raised concerns about the impact leaving the European Union will have on the renewable energy industry. MacNeal said that the future of the industry was “dependent on many things” but that “either way it is not good”. “The future of renewables is dependent on many things and dependent really on what form Brexit takes. “Either way it is not good and Brexit doesn’t seem to have been a very good option at all for renewables,” he said.
Utility Week 8th July 2016 read more »
Since 2013 EU member states are required to report annually on revenues received from auctioning allowances used in the greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). The table below shows each country’s total income for 2013 and 2014, as recorded in the Reporting Obligations Database. Over two years Germany received the most cash at €1,540 million while Cyprus the smallest at €2.7 million.
Mark Johnston 10th July 2016 read more »
The latest draft version of the TTIP agreement could sabotage European efforts to save energy and switch to clean power, according to MEPs. A 14th round of the troubled negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal between the EU and US is due to begin on Monday in Brussels. A leak obtained by the Guardian shows that the EU will propose a rollback of mandatory energy savings measures, and major obstacles to any future pricing schemes designed to encourage the uptake of renewable energies. Environmental protections against fossil fuel extraction, logging and mining in the developing world would also come under pressure from articles in the proposed energy chapter.
Guardian 11th July 2016 read more »
The Royal Navy has raised objections to a £590 million project backed by National Grid to build a giant subsea electricity cable between Britain and France, amid concerns that it could affect military aircraft. The so-called IFA2 link, a joint venture between National Grid and its French equivalent, RTE, will stretch 127 miles beneath the seabed from Tourbe in Normandy to a site near Portsmouth on the Solent. Supporters say it will help bolster UK electricity supplies by providing up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity — roughly equivalent to the output of Dungeness B nuclear power station — when it enters service in about 2020. But a dispute has broken out over where the high-voltage cable should come ashore — and thus where National Grid will need to build a giant solid-state transformer to feed French electricity into Britain’s power network. The preferred site for the transformer is currently the southern edge of a First World War naval airfield, Daedalus, four miles west of Portsmouth. The historic site was used as a seaplane base and training centre by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm but is now owned by Fareham borough council.
Times 11th July 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Political uncertainty in Westminster is raising further doubts over a £1.3bn tidal power project in Swansea Bay even as backers of the scheme. A review by the Department of Energy & Climate Change of the prospects for tidal power generation in the UK is due to report in late-2016. Advocates hope it will recommend the go-ahead for the Swansea plan as a first step towards developing several larger schemes around the British coast.
FT 10th July 2016 read more »
Kangaroo Island is one of the great icons of Australian tourism. As Andrew Boardman, the chief executive of the Kangaroo Island council, says: “You can’t buy a name like that.” But now the third-biggest island in Australia, which lies just 120kms from Adelaide, wants to make its mark in a different way: by supplying 100% of its electricity needs and much of its transport fuels through locally sourced renewable energy. The island is calling for proposals that could use a mixture of its local resources – solar power, wind energy, biomass and even ocean energy – and combine those with battery storage, smart software and the existing diesel back-up. Even more dramatically, it is also supporting a push to cut the island from the mainland grid.
Guardian 11th July 2016 read more »
The shale developer IGas is on alert for a possible hostile takeover after a mystery fund snapped up over a quarter of its bonds to put it within 6pc of a controlling interest. The move has raised hackles among City sources, who say it echoes the recent stealth takeover of the indebted oil explorer Petroceltic, which was snapped up by its rebel shareholder Worldview Capital after losing control of its debt.
Telegraph 9th July 2016 read more »