Amidst all the doom and gloom stories about the terrible impact that the government policies are having on the renewables sector this year, it is worth remembering that Brendon Energy is part of a big energy co-op family. In the UK there are 224 renewable energy co-ops with 16,880 members and an annual turnover of £8.9 million (figures from Cooperatives UK). These figures are dwarfed by the scale of energy co-ops in many other places such as Scandinavia and Germany where the governments are more supportive. They show what can be achieved – perhaps one area where we would benefit from being more European in our outlook?
Brendon Energy 12th June 2016 read more »
Christopher Booker: The government is pursuing a climate change policy which it knows will cause power cuts. They know that George Osborne’s “carbon tax” is gradually intended to make power from fossil fuels as costly as that from wind and solar, so that they can describe these as “subsidy-free”. Secondly, they know they desperately need new gas-fired power stations to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. So, thirdly, they are now planning to throw huge bribes at the power companies to get those new gas plants built.
Telegraph 11th June 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
THE Scottish Government is expected to hit its target for cutting climate pollution for the first time in five years – but only because of changes in the way emissions are counted. The new climate change minister, Roseanna Cunningham, looks likely to tell the Scottish Parliament tomorrow that the statutory target for 2014 has been met. Every previous annual target for 2010 to 2013 has been missed. But the main reason for the success will be that the complex rules on how the European Union’s emissions trading system is taken into account have changed. This has the effect of making Scotland’s targets easier to meet. A new analysis by environmentalists shows that most sectors of Scottish society have achieved only minimal reductions in carbon pollution. Emissions fr om public sector buildings, businesses and farms dropped by less that one per cent between 2009 and 2013, with falls of just a few per cent from homes and transport (see table opposite). According to government advisors, the new carbon accounting rules also mean that climate targets need be raised if parliament wants to fulfil its original ambitions. Campaigners are calling for “real emission reductions”, and for the 2020 target for cutting pollution to be increased from 42 to 56 per cent.
The National 13th June 2016 read more »
WWF-Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to make greater use of the country’s renewable energy resources and potential. According to WWF-Scotland, the upcoming governmental review of Scotland’s energy strategy must strive to make greater use of the country’s renewable energy potential, and set out plans to be powered by 100% renewable energy. WWF-Scotland’s call comes as it releases its own analysis of the country’s solar and wind power data provided by WeatherEnergy. The role of renewable energy in Scotland only continues to increase, as was exemplified in May’s energy data. Scottish homes fitted with solar PV panels were able to generate 100% of the electricity needed in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness, and homes fitted with solar hot water panels were able to generate 100% of an average household’s hot water need s in Aberdeen and Dundee, 98% in Inverness, 97% in Edinburgh, and 94% in Glasgow. Wind turbines in Scotland generated 692,896 MWh of electricity to the National Grid, which is enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 76% of Scottish households, or around 1.8 million homes. More specifically, wind energy generated enough electricity on 10 out of the 31 days of May to supply 100% or more of household needs. At the end of the month, wind power in Scotland for the month of May generated 36% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.
Clean Technica 10th June 2016 read more »
Britain should brace itself for a winter of tight electricity supplies that will force National Grid to use its last-resort measures and push wholesale prices up, according to a new analysis. Figures from Enappsys, which monitors wholesale electricity market data, show the grid will have an even more difficult job keeping the lights on than last year, when it took new emergency measures for the first time. They show that for long periods, generators are likely to be able to charge dozens of times the usual wholesale price – costs that will filter down to consumers. Enappsys warned that some small suppliers may not be able to afford a sudden rise in costs and may even be driven out of business. Phil Hewitt, a director at Enappsys, said: “If the winter is harsh things will get very expensive.
FT 13th June 2016 read more »
Japan needs to review its current method for screening nuclear plant safety, seismologist and former senior regulator Kunihiko Shimazaki said in a recent interview.
Japan Times 13th June 2016 read more »
A cross-party energy deal has been reached between the government and three opposition parties. Sweden will have 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, but there is not yet a deadline for the phase out of nuclear power. While the deal makes commitments to developing renewable energy, it also seemed to represent a more conservative approach to phasing out nuclear energy, the waste of which remains harmful to humans for thousands of years. “We can’t give Swedish nuclear power an early retirement,” said the Moderate Party’s energy policy spokesperson, Lars Hjälmered, at a press conference Friday. But Anna Wolf, an energy expert at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, told Radio Sweden that it’s unlikely another reactor could ever be built. “It’s also clear in the deal that the deal from 2009 from right-wing parties that no nuclear reactor shall ever receive governmental support, that’s also continued in this deal,” said Wolf. “And that means, if you look at the market as we interpret it, that no new reactors will be built. It’s also been announced by the big energy companies in Sweden.” The deal also means the so-called “effect tax” – an extra tax on nuclear energy – will be phased out in just a few years. The Swedish energy giant Vattenfall has lobbied vocally for the removal of the tax. But the deal also increases the penalties related to nuclear waste. And while the government had wanted a deadline for the total phase out of nuclear energy, having first argued for 2036 and later 2040, no deadline was set, a condition set by the opposition Moderates. Jonas Sjöstedt, leader of the Left Party, which had left the energy talks, was critical of the government’s concessions on nuclear power.
Radio Sweden 10th June 2016 read more »
US – radwaste
As anti-nuclear activists celebrate victory in the closing of the aging Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant Station in Plymouth in 2019, a larger and potentially more important battle has begun to take shape over what to do with the spent nuclear material that now sits at Pilgrim and nuclear facilities around the country. The absence of a cohesive national approach to the issue over several decades has forced many plants, including Pilgrim, to stockpile spent fuel rods and other radioactive materials on site, creating a situation as dangerous as it is foolish. Pilgrim and other nuclear power stations in the U.S. have become de facto nuclear waste dumps. The U.S. Department of Energy held a meeting in Boston last week to solicit local thoughts on something called “consent-based siting,” a plan to create interim storage facilities around the country in communities that are willing to host the waste while Washington continues to fiddle its way through the development of a comprehensive solution. At stake is some 70,000 metric tons of radioactive waste that has been generated by plants such as Pilgrim. At one point, the federal government appeared to be closing in on a solution to the problem with a plan to store the byproducts at a massive facility in Nevada. But the Yucca Mountain site, which had long been thought of as an ideal location for the spent fuel rods and other waste, was removed from consideration in 2010, with no Plan B in sight.The truth is, there are few communities in the U.S. that would welcome the introduction of highly toxic waste, much of which could also be a desirable target for would-be terrorists.
Energy Central 12th June 2016 read more »
A nuclear reactor which was shutdown after a minor fault should restart this week. Belgium’s Tihange 2 nuclear reactor was shut automatically on Friday because an electric motor in a non-nuclear part of it broke down. According to reports, the problem was “relatively simple” with the reactor expected to be online again by June 15th. Electrabel, which is the Belgian arm of French group Engie, operates seven nucelar reactors in Belgium with a total capacity of 6,000 megawatts, which covers about 55% of the nation’s electricity consumption.
Energy Voice 12th June 2016 read more »
India is rejoicing over news that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brokered deals with US officials to bring New Delhi closer to its long-held dream of joining an elite group of nations allowed to control the global trade in nuclear materials, equipment and technology.
Scotsman 12th June 2016 read more »
ONGEN, an Edinburgh business that aims to cut energy bills for businesses, has raised £250,000 in funding ahead of its launch today. Wood Group chairman Ian Marchant is one of the key investors in the business, which has also received funding from the Scottish Investment Bank for its green energy assessment tool. OnGen has been set up by energy experts Chris Trigg, Andrew Bright and Jonny Clark – who are inviting further finance. “It’s about opening up renewables for the SME sector,” said Mr Trigg. “[Renewable technology] shouldn’t just be the preserve of the blue chip companies.” Businesses who use the software could save as much as half their energy costs. The online platform offers in-depth feasibility assessments of different renewable and low carbon technologies, such as solar panels, biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps. It is targeted at the public sector in addition to small and medium enterprises. Any potential customers will be able to carry out an assessment using the company’s online tool by supply details on their uses and requirements. Saying he was delighted to be involved in the business, Ian Marchant commented: “Putting reliable information in the hands of consumers is the first step on the road to an energy revolution as I believe that the energy system of the future will be far more decentralised and renewable-focused than our current fossil-based industrialised system.
Herald 13th June 2016 read more »
Junior British Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, the staunch supporter of British Independence from the EU-bloc, and Lord Dunlop, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Scotland, are due to give evidence to MPs on the Commons’ Scottish Affairs Committee tomorrow (14 June). The Committee will be challenging the UK Government on how it considers Scottish interests, and finding out what role the Scotland Office plays in representing Scotland’s renewable sector.
Scottish Energy News 13th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
The SNP and the Solar Trade Association have called for the UK regulator to speed up the approval process for accreditation for feed-in tariffs for larger solar power projects. The move comes after SNP MP Ronnie Cowan revealed that there are just under 2,000 such applications awaiting approval by OFGEM.
Scottish Energy News 13th June 2016 read more »
Britain is set to double the amount of electricity it imports from France under plans to construct a new £1.1 billion subsea power cable. The power line running from Le Havre to Lovedean, near Portsmouth, will supply enough electricity to power four million British homes, according to its developer. It also is intended to be up and running in 2021, at least four years earlier than the new nuclear plant planned for Hinkley Point, Somerset, by the French utility EDF. The two gigawatt link, big enough to supply electricity equivalent to that of two nuclear power stations of the same size as Dungeness B, is being developed by Aquind, a privately owned developer controlled by Alexander Temerko, a Ukrainian businessman who was granted UK citizenship in 2011. He was formerly a senior executive at Yukos, the Russian oil giant broken up by the Kremlin in the mid-2000 s after the arrest of Mikhail Kodhorkovsky. After emigrating to Britain, Mr Temerko successfully blocked Kremlin-backed efforts to have him extradited to face corruption allegations in Russia, which a British judge said were politically motivated. The cross-Channel interconnector, which is due to be announced today, will be capable of both importing and exporting power, but analysts believe that a shortage of British generating capacity and a surplus of French nuclear electricity mean that generally it will flow from the Continent rather than to it. ord Callanan, a non-executive director of Aquind, said that the project would help to bolster energy security at a time of uncertainty over power projects such as Hinkley Point. “With a growing energy supply gap threatening UK households and businesses, there’s an urgent need for a fast and reliable way to introduce new capacity,” he said. “The interconnector will significantly ease the pressure on the UK grid and redu ce the risk of blackouts.” Britain already has a two gigawatt interconnector to France that is owned by National Grid and RTE, its French equivalent. It has been in service since 1986 and supplied electricity to the UK almost non-stop during the year to March 31.
Times 13th June 2016 read more »
A prominent Conservative donor has set out plans to capitalise on the threat of electricity blackouts by building a new £1.1bn link to France’s nuclear-powered electricity grid. Alexander Temerko, an outspoken critic of the Government’s energy policy despite his financial support for the Tory party, hopes to build the 150-mile undersea power cable to meet demand for imports of cheap power from Britain’s closest continental neighbour by 2021.There are currently four interconnectors to mainland UK, from France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Northern Ireland, with a combined capacity of 4GW. Ministers have said they would support a further 9GW of new interconnectors to help to improve security of supply by giving the UK access to power generated elsewhere.
Telegraph 13th June 2016 read more »
Caroline Lucas and John Ashton: Our security and prosperity depend on a successful response to climate change, the most urgent challenge of our time. So does any prospect of a transition to a way of living together that is just and sustainable. And if we fail on climate, we lose the very capacity to shape our destiny that makes sovereignty worth having. Today’s European Union is, yes, tired, damaged and in need of reform. But without the EU the climate struggle would have been lost already.
Guardian 12th June 2016 read more »