Electricity Market Reform
Nick Clegg has promised the biggest shake-up of the electricity market in 30 years with plans for large subsidies for low-carbon generation to be set out in next months Queens Speech. One of the measures, a carbon price floor, was first announced in the 2011 budget and will come into effect in 2013. It is designed to incentivise low-carbon generation by making it more costly to run coal and gas plants. Three other measures unveiled in the white paper will now be included in the Queens Speech. Key among them is a fixed price for low-carbon electricity, delivered via a contract for difference. Payments made under this scheme are calculated as the difference between the market price for electricity and an agreed strike price, with the generator gaining in direct proportion to where the strike price stands above the volatile wholesale price of electricity. Other measures include an emissions performance standard limiting how much carbon dioxide can be released by an electricity generator. It could prevent any new coal-fired power stations being built without carbon capture and storage technology. The reform is also expected to include a capacity mechanism ensuring enough gas-fired power stations are on standby to make up for the intermittency of wind farms.
FT 11th April 2012 more >>
David Morris MP: We must remember that E-On and RWE’s UK subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power has not disappeared; in fact much of the work which is underway is still going ahead. This is because Horizon is up for sale and there are a number of reasons to believe it will be bought out. Firstly, we must understand the background the to E.ON and RWE’s decision. After Fukishima a paranoid German government massively scaled back Nuclear Power production. This has seriously affected both the Horizon shareholders and has led to a reassessment of their investment options. Secondly, Horizon Nuclear is not a bad investment; nothing could be further from the truth. For a whole range of reasons – not least the two excellent sites they own and the team of nuclear professionals they have pulled together – Horizon could be seen as a very attractive investment. A simple look around the world’s potential investors suggests that there are a number of organisations that could have both the money and the desire to take this project forward.
Huffington Post 12th April 2012 more >>
Meltdown: The idea of entrusting our nuclear future to the firm that built Chernobyl is part and parcel of Britain’s bankrupt energy policy- which is now in very real danger of imploding.
Daily Mail 11th April 2012 more >>
November date set for Court of Appeal challenge to EDFs £10bn Hinkley nuclear project.
Building 12th April 2012 more >>
The Russian state-owned nuclear operator Rosatom is reported to be interested in a bid to build a new reactor on Anglesey. International press reports, including sources in Russia, claim Rosatom could be set to buy a share of Horizon Nuclear Power. Russian news agency Tass quotes the deputy head of Rosatom, Sergei Novikov, as declaring that “the British market is very attractive” to the company. Rosatom carries an AFP agency news report on its own website, which again claims the company is looking to buy a substantial slice of the Horizon group. However, a spokesperson for RWE npower said the reports were “market speculation”, and any moves to sell Horizon to any party were still at a very early stage.
BBC 11th April 2012 more >>
SIZEWELL B nuclear power station is set to return to full service today following an electrical fault. EDF Energy, which owns the plant, confirmed yesterday that they were expecting it to be fully operational by this afternoon. The reactor was automatically shut down at the beginning of last month following an electrical fault on the non-nuclear side of the station. Both turbines, which are needed to generate electricity, were turned off. Engineers brought one turbine back on-line on March 13 but further work was needed to be carried out on the other after a failure in the lubrication system during the shutdown.
East Angian Daily Times 11th April 2012 more >>
A new deal allowing UK companies to engage in multi-million pound decommissioning opportunities in Japan could benefit Cumbrias nuclear industry. The agreement was signed by Prime Minister David Cameron on a week-long trade mission to South East Asia to fly the flag for British-made goods. During talks with Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda, Mr Cameron pushed British expertise in nuclear decommissioning, as Japan continues its clean-up in the wake of last years massive earthquake.
Cumberland News 11th April 2012 more >>
On Sunday 1 April, a new world of infrastructure planning and authorisation was born. The world shook, the dust settled, and the day passed as uneventfully as the government could have hoped. This was the day that changes to the Planning Act regime made by the Localism Act 2011 were brought into force. The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has vanished from cyberspace, and Bristol, and has been replaced by the National Infrastructure Directorate of the Planning Inspectorate. The dramatis personae is, however, virtually identical. The shorthand for describing the new organisation has not yet been settled – is it just PINS, should it be NID, or even NID/PINS? It certainly shouldn’t be MIPU, an old potential name that some less astute observers are still using. The website has changed address, it is now http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk, having lost its independence.
Bircham Dyson Bell 11th April 2012 more >>
Henri Proglio’s role as head of French state-owned power group EDF will be reviewed if Francois Hollande wins the presidential elections, one of the socialist candidate’s top advisors said. Proglio’s opposition to Socialist Party plans to reduce France’s use of nuclear power make his position at the head of the company delicate, said former finance minister Michel Sapin. “Is the person who (said) … that the implementation of Francois Hollande’s plan would cost hundreds of billions … blowing the figures out of proportion, the best placed in terms of credibility?” Sapin asked in an interview with Reuters.
Reuters 11th April 2012 more >>
Radiation from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents may not have been as harmful to wildlife as previously thought. New research by Professor Jim Smith, of the University of Portsmouth, and colleagues from the University of the West of England has cast doubt on earlier studies on the impact on birds of the catastrophic nuclear accident at Chernobyl in April 1986. Their findings, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, are likely to also apply to wildlife at Fukushima in Japan following its nuclear disaster in 2011 and represent an important step forward in clarifying the debate on the biological effects of radiation.
Click Lancashire 11th April 2012 more >>
The former head of France’s state-controlled nuclear group Areva accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of wanting to try to sell nuclear power to Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya at least until the summer of 2010.
Reuters 10th April 2012 more >>
The United Arab Emirates could become a large opportunity for foreign nuclear energy players and component suppliers with some already moving in fast. It is clear that the UAEs commitment to a nuclear energy programme continues to be unwavering, commanding international support and the strong backing of its own citizens. Four APR-1400 reactors are scheduled to be delivered by 2020, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has confirmed, with the first reactor scheduled to arrive in 2017, with the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) chosen as the prime contractors to build the reactors.
Nuclear Insider 9th Apr 2012 more >>
Iran has sent a rare conciliatory signal, promising “new initiatives” when landmark talks with the world’s leading powers open on Saturday, having dropped any preconditions for negotiating over its nuclear ambitions.
Telegraph 11th April 2012 more >>
Guardian 11th April 2012 more >>
American nuclear operators posted good performances last year with fewer unplanned shutdowns than any year since 2005 and strong capacity factors across the fleet. Figures for nuclear operations in 2011 were compiled by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators and revealed by US trade group the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).
World Nuclear News 11th April 2012 more >>
EON & RWE are stepping up investments in solar energy as falling prices for the technology and the countrys nuclear exit make them chase fresh revenue streams. EON plans to add 70 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity a year from 2013, compared with a total of 51 megawatts it has built since 2008, Christian Drepper, a spokesman, said by phone yesterday. RWE, which previously has withheld support for photovoltaics, may boost investments in the technology after a decline in the cost of panels. RWE, based in Essen, will explore developments in other nations. The company is discussing a pilot project in the Desertec initiative, which seeks to build renewable energy plants in north Africa and the Middle East.
Bloomberg 12th April 2012 more >>
The volcanoes of Iceland could soon be pumping low-carbon electricity into the UK under government-backed plans for thousands of miles of high-voltage cables across the ocean floor. The energy minister, Charles Hendry, is to visit Iceland in May to discuss connecting the UK to its abundant geothermal energy. “We are in active discussions with the Icelandic government and they are very keen,” Hendry told the Guardian. To reach Iceland, which sits over a mid-ocean split in the earth’s crust, the cable would have to be 1,000 to 1,500km long and by far the longest in the world.
Guardian 11th April 2012 more >>
Independent 12th April 2012 more >>
Investment in clean energy in the UK bounced back last year after its 2010 slump, the respected US-based Pew charitable trust has said in a comparison of investment across G20 countries. A total of $9.4bn was invested in wind, wave, solar and other renewable sources of power compared to $3.3bn in 2010 a leap of 185%.
Guardian 11th April 2012 more >>
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has today announced a series of measures designed to help alleviate fuel poverty and drive demand for insulation and other energy efficiency improvements. In recent months, the government has faced a series of warnings from the green building industry that demand for energy efficiency improvements could fall in the autumn when the coalition replaces existing grant schemes with its new Green Deal energy efficiency loan scheme.
Business Green 11th Apr 2012 more >>
Thousands of Englands poorest households have been left in the cold after a government insulation scheme underspent its budget by £27 million last year, The Times has learnt.
The funding, which enables low income households to reduce their energy bills, will be handed back to the Treasury. The revelation comes a day after Nick Clegg announced a string of initiatives in an attempt to deflect criticism that government policies were making fuel poverty worse. Officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change told an industry working group last month that they expected more than 25 per cent of the £110 million allocated to the programme to remain unspent. The budget for the Warm Front scheme, which covers England, had already been slashed from £366 million in 2010. Officials blamed the underspend on being unable to find enough households to meet strict new criteria, under which only the draughtiest homes qualified. Campaigners called on the Treasury to release the unspent cash for the schemes final year, which has a budget of £100 million.
Times 11th April 2012 more >>
Energy companies will have to pay an extra £190 million a year to help low income households insulate their homes and cut their bills. The move, announced by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, follows criticism from campaigners and charities that the Governments policies are making fuel poverty worse. Under a new scheme being introduced next year, energy companies will now have to spend £540 million in total on energy-efficient home improvements for poorer customers. The scheme will be funded via a levy on all consumer energy bills. But even with the extra funding, fewer low income households will have loft or cavity wall insulation or double glazing installed than under the existing scheme.
Times 11th April 2012 more >>
Nick Clegg today attacked purveyors of “ludicrous scare stories” over the cost of green measures, warning they could derail the UK’s potential role as the “number one destination for clean, green investment”. Responding to questions after his keynote speech this morning on greening the economy, Clegg took the opportunity to express frustration with recent media reports suggesting the government’s green measures are expensive and will take jobs out of the country.
Business Green 11th April 2012 more >>
Telegraph 11th April 2012 more >>
Nick Clegg yesterday launched a furious assault on the naysayers criticising the Coalitions costly green agenda before speeding off to his next appointment in a government limousine. In a thinly veiled swipe at Chancellor George Osborne, Mr Clegg said it was wrong to suggest the Governments green zeal should be toned down to help Britain out of recession.
Daily Mail 12th Apr 2012 more >>
A radical speech from a British leader that undermines 80 years of economic orthodoxy and will have the trolls of the Treasury scuttling out of the glare? That’s what deputy prime minister Nick Clegg delivered on Wednesday in the most full-throated hymn to the green economy yet delivered by a senior British politician in power. It will be music to the ears of those who argue that going green protects the natural capital on which we depend, while delivering economic growth through the industries of the future, as well as helping cut costs to consumers through its innate efficiency. And yet the fat lady has yet to sing: the argument is far from over. Is Clegg merely playing to the Liberal Democrat gallery ahead of the council elections, just as chancellor George Osborne wooed the Conservative right wing with his trash talk on the environment? Are radical speeches from deputy prime ministers merely a quirk of coalition politics?
Guardian 11th Apr 2012 more >>