Nick Clegg today faces a split in his party over fracking, as green campaigners claimed the Lib Dems risked undermining their commitment to the environment if they backed the controversial drilling for shale gas. In a surprise finding, a Liberal Democrat Voice poll reveals that a majority of Lib Dem members are in favour of fracking, with 46 per cent for and only 36 per cent against. A motion to promote “green growth and green jobs”, to be debated in Glasgow today, asks the party to back fracking. Yet some senior figures, including Tim Farron, the party’s president, are believed to have major reservations about a full-scale rush to allow drilling across the UK. The poll also reveals that the Lib Dems’ opposition to nuclear power has softened, with 65 per cent of members in favour of it being in the energy mix and 29 per cent against.
Independent 15th Sept 2013 read more »
Two-thirds of Lib Dem members in our survey back nuclear power, by a more than 2-to-1 majority. This is in line with the previous two occasions when we’ve asked about nuclear power: in April 2011, 58% backed it; in August 2010, 68% were open to nuclear power (though the phrasing of the question was different). Increasingly within the party in recent years, nuclear power has come to be seen as the least bad, practical way of lowering the UK’s carbon emissions while assuring the UK’s energy supplies.
Lib Dem Voice 15th Sept 2013 read more »
HE HAS never been known as a political bruiser, but after 18 months in cabinet the apparently mild-mannered Ed Davey has become well practised at putting up a fight. According to aides, his tenure at the energy and climate change department has been marked by unremitting “trench warfare” with Conservative colleagues hellbent on blocking his reforms. When it comes to honouring the prime minister’s pledge to make the coalition “the greenest government ever”, it is not backbench Tories who “don’t get it”, Davey says, but also Conservative ministers such as Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, with whom he has repeatedly clashed. Until now, Davey has kept the bitter behind-the-scenes battles to himself. Now he wants voters to know what he is up against and how hard he is having to fight against Tory opposition to the measures he believes are vital to safeguarding the country’s energy supplies — or, as he puts it, “keeping the lights on”. Davey says his job has become a “constant battle” because other Tories oppose his policies, particularly the expansion of wind power. Davey, who is also overseeing plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations, admits some of his plans upset his own party, but he is adamant they are necessary. “I have looked at a whole range of issues which people might have thought were difficult for a Liberal Democrat. For example, shale gas. I made the environmental case for [it]. That will be controversial in parts of the environmental movement. He says he is “no wind evangelist” but insists wind power is vital to future energy supplies. “We need all options on the table. People who take things off — whether they’re trying to take wind off the table, CCS or nuclear off the table — they do not understand the scale of the challenge,” he said.
Times 15th Sept 2013 read more »
A SPECIALIST facility has been launched to train future Wylfa workers. Coleg Menai and CITB’s National Construction College officially launched the training centre in Llangefni, which will equip youngsters with the skills needed for energy sector developments, especially Wylfa B, and other projects in the region.
North Wales Chronicle 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Japan is stumbling helplessly from one crisis to the next as it battles the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. US nuclear inspector Dale Klein is demanding the intervention of foreign experts, but a quick solution is unlikely.
Der Spiegel 14th Sept 2013 read more »
Kansai Electric Power Co’s 1,180 MW Ohi No.4 reactor is scheduled to be disconnected from the power grid late on Sunday and then shut for planned maintenance. It is the only one of Japan’s 50 reactors in operation after the nuclear industry came to a virtual halt following the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. Japan last went without nuclear power in May-June 2012 – the first shutdown since 1970 – a year after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks at the Fukushima facility. The country’s nuclear reactors provided close to a third of the electricity to keep the $5 trillion economy going before the Fukushima disaster, and utilities have had to spend billions of dollars importing oil, gas and coal to make up for the shortfall.
Telegraph 15th Sept 2013 read more »
Japan is set to be nuclear power-free, for just the third time in more than four decades, and with no firm date for re-starting an energy source that has provided about 30 percent of electricity to the world’s third-largest economy.
Reuters 14th Sept 2013 read more »
Four weeks of public hearings will begin Monday in Kincardine and Port Elgin, Ont., on a proposal by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to design, construct, operate and eventually abandon underground storage for nuclear waste on the Bruce nuclear site near Kincardine. This Deep Geologic Repository, or DGR, would be the only one of its kind in Canada. It would handle low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste from OPG nuclear generators at Bruce, Pickering and Darlington. It would be located within 1.6 kilometres of the Lake Huron shore in caverns dug in sedimentary rock. Because the intention to bury nuclear waste is precedent-setting and the repository is close to a valuable water resource, the proposal is subject to considerable federal and provincial input and opposition from communities and organizations across North America.
IF Press 13th Sept 2013 read more »
In July 1956, a plane crashed in Suffolk, nearly detonating an atomic bomb. In January 1987, an RAF truck carrying hydrogen bombs skidded off a road in Wiltshire. Other near-misses remain top secret. Who is really at risk from Britain’s nuclear weapons?
Guardian 14th Sept 2013 read more »
Martin Horwood: Few aspects of British policy have remained so undisturbed for so long as the UK’s attitude to nuclear deterrence. As we bring home our troops from Germany, tying up one of the last loose ends in a Cold War conflict that Britons under the age of 40 can probably barely remember, it would be wise for our nuclear policy to finally catch up. This is not a new idea for us. In opposition, Liberal Democrats opposed Tony Blair’s plan for early like-for-like replacement of Trident nuclear weapons and we did so on the basis that a system designed to counter the existential threat from the twentieth century Soviet Union is not sensible in the early twenty-first century.
Lib Dem Voice 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Siemens, the dominant supplier of turbines to the UK’s onshore and offshore wind market, is to expand its operations in Scotland by establishing a new projects and construction hub in Livingston, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The company, which already employs 600 people in Scotland in Aberdeen, Leith, Cumbernauld and Wishaw, is “actively recruiting” to fill positions for the new base, which will have capacity for 30 employees. Grant Walker, Siemens managing director of onshore wind in Great Britain and Ireland, said the investment would support about 100 jobs elsewhere, “most of them in fields in the middle of Scotland or Ireland building wind farms”.
Herald 15th Sept 2013 read more »
Harnessing the power of the world’s wind is, in part, how he hopes do it. First, he plans to start with generating more wind power from urban homes. Urban wind power has famously failed to make much of a mark on electricity generation. A fad for small, chimney-mounted turbines failed to take off when they were found to be almost useless in the mostly windless urban environments. But Vince says the technology was “dismissed too soon” and approached in entirely the wrong way. “The big wind turbines are pretty efficient now. But for small scale wind power there are not many solutions,” he says. To address the problem, he has come up with a radical new approach: a small, vertical access, wind turbine he’s dubbed the “Urbine” – a name which came to Vince after a simple spelling mistake in an email. the most interesting new idea to emerge from Ecotricity’s ‘skunk works’ that he calls EcoLabs is something Vince dubs a “UPS”, or Uninterruptible Power Supply. More simply, he calls it “The Black Box”. This will be a kind of Internet-connected battery with inverters that could live inside an ordinary home — a sort of big black refrigerator. “We could use it as an energy company to deal with the intermittency of the wind,” says Vince. Tantilisingly, he says such as device could “change the shape of demand” and could insulate houses from peaks in demand. “By our calculations,” says Vince “if everyone in the UK had a Black Box we could reduce the load on existing electric power-stations by 15%”. Fascinatingly, this also happens to the the amount that existing nuclear power contributes to the UK electricity grid and represents the looming energy gap as older nuclear stations get taken offline.
Tech Crunch 14th Sept 2013 read more »
IGas Energy, the Aim-listed shale gas explorer, is in talks with major landowners and industrial firms in Lancashire and Cheshire about drilling access and gas supply deals. The company, which last week announced plans to start drilling for shale gas at Barton, Greater Manchester, hopes to agree new partnerships “over the next few months”, Andrew Austin, chief executive of IGas, told The Sunday Telegraph. IGas believes there could be as much as 172 trillion cubic feet of shale gas beneath its exploration licences, which span an area of 300 square miles in the North West. If 10pc could be extracted, it could meet the UK’s gas needs for six years.
Telegraph 14th Sept 2013 read more »
The head of IGas Energy, Andrew Austin, tells Emily Gosden about the future for fracking, his view of recent protests and why his favourite film is Local Hero .
Telegraph 14th Sept 2013 read more »