Nuclear construction in the UK is expensive and slow in comparison to other countries, in part because the UK has not built any nuclear plants since the 1990s and lacks a proven supply chain, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) says. The report says the cost of building new nuclear power plants in the UK ranges from around $60 per MWh to about $140/MWh. By comparison, these costs range from about $30/MWh-$55/MWh in South Korea; $50/MWh-$120/MWh in France, $45/MWh-$125MWh in Finland; and about $58/MWh-$100/MWh in the US. The estimates are based on discount rates of three percent and 10 percent. The discount rate is an estimate of the cost of capital for a given project. No new nuclear power stations have been built in the UK for over 20 years, the report says. “The UK lacks a proven, skilled supply chain to support the construction of a new power station. The costs to build ‘first-of-a-kind’ power stations will be much higher than in countries that have rolled out new facilities, where learning and expertise can be shared.”
NucNet 14th July 2016 read more »
More than a thousand trenches have been dug across 150 hectares at the Anglesey power plant site. More than a thousand trenches have been dug to investigate the archaeology of the planned site of Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station on Anglesey. UK energy company Horizon Nuclear Power are preparing the site in advance of construction and have to carry out wildlife and archaeological evaluations. They have hired Thomson Ecology to look into what sorts of animals are living on the land at Wylfa and what ancient secrets the land may hold: the latter task has been carried out by Thomson’s partner Wessex Archaeology.
Daily Post 15th July 2016 read more »
The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been scrapped and its brief folded into the newly created Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department. The formation of BEIS, which was announced yesterday following Theresa May’s appointment as the new British Prime Minister, adds energy-related matters to the remit of its predecessor the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
World Nuclear News 15th July 2016 read more »
The abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change has been condemned by former ministers as a major setback to British efforts to combat global warming. Decc was closed in a series of sweeping changes to the government unveiled by the new prime minister, Theresa May, on Thursday. Its functions, which include representing the UK at international climate talks, responsibility for meeting carbon targets and levying subsidies for green energy, have been transferred to a beefed-up business department led by Greg Clark. But Ed Davey, who served as Liberal Democrat secretary of state at Decc between 2012 and 2015, criticised the decision. “This is a major setback for the UK’s climate change efforts. Greg Clark may be nice and he may even be green, but by downgrading the Whitehall status of climate change, Theresa May has hit low carbon investor confidence yet again,” he told the Guardian. His view was echoed by Ed Miliband, the department’s first secretary of state when it was created in 2008 by Labour, who tweeted that the move was: “Plain stupid. Climate not even mentioned in new dept title. Matters because depts shape priorities, shape outcomes.”
Guardian 15th July 2016 read more »
It was bad enough when David Cameron told his officials to cut the ‘green crap’ but his successor just sent out a massive signal she’s not remotely bothered about global warming. Fear of a Brexit apocalypse seems to have prompted May to sacrifice the fight against climate change in the hope of avoiding a recession that would almost certainly see her removed from office – by her own side, if not Labour. But, make no mistake, this could be a historic blunder of global proportions.
Independent 15th July 2016 read more »
This is not Clark’s first brush with the climate change brief. Between 2008 and 2010, while the Conservatives were in opposition, he was shadow secretary for energy and climate change. In this time, he made his views clear on climate change. Here are some quotes that might give us some idea of what to expect from him in the future.
Carbon Brief 14th July 2016 read more »
Despair would have been deep if the wrong person had been appointed to set the direction of the new Department. But Greg Clark’s record on energy and climate (as documented in this useful account by CarbonBrief) is good. Like all politicians, he will need to pick his fights; the Carbon Plan to be launched in the Autumn will be the first test of his mettle round the Cabinet table. Losing ‘climate’ from the Department’s title is a symbolic downgrading. Names matter to other politicians, whose status antennae are finely tuned. And they matter to stakeholders, like the renewables and cleantech sectors, who are already feeling bruised, and will now worry that they don’t have a champion in government. But names might not matter quite so much if other things work out:
Rebecca Willis 15th July 2016 read more »
The cost of cleaning up the UK’s historic nuclear sites has decreased slightly from last year’s estimate, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said in its Nuclear Provision corporate report, which it published on 13 July. Nuclear Provision is the best estimate of how much it will cost to clean up 17 of the country’s earliest nuclear sites over a program lasting around 120 years. The estimate is based on the expected costs of decommissioning, dismantling and demolishing the buildings, managing and disposing of all waste, and remediation of land. The Nuclear Provision also includes the costs of running more modern plants that are still operational, in particular Sellafield’s reprocessing facilities. The estimate now stands at around £117 billion ($154 billion) spread across the next 120 years, which is down slightly from last year’s estimate of £118 billion.
World Nuclear News 15th July 2016 read more »
BACK in January 1989 the Evening Mail got a first look at the new £8.6m store at Drigg for low-level radioactive waste generated by British Nuclear Fuels – much of it from nearby Sellafield. The site was screened by thousands of conifer trees and it took 70 contractors to gouge out an eighth huge hole – Vault Eight – to take an expected five-years’ worth of waste.
NW Evening Mail 7th July 2016 read more »
As the video above points out, arguments that wind and solar are “intermittent” and therefore unreliable are erroneous – as they fail to understand that ALL forms of energy are intermittent, and can fail at any moment. Utilities, therefore, are required to have sufficient back up resources available to pick up in a moment’s notice when a large power plant might go offline. In the case of wind, for instance, the flow of energy is quite predictable days in advance, and although occasionally an individual turbine goes off line for a few days or weeks, it is almost unheard of for an entire multi-hundred megawatt array to go down at once. Not so with coal or nuclear plants, which can trip offline in a microsecond.
Climate Crocks 14th July 2016 read more »
Nuclear energy’s share of total installed capacity will decrease from 5% in 2015 to 4% in 2040, according to the latest annual forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In its New Energy Outlook 2016, Bloomberg also says continued low gas and coal prices will not derail the advance of renewable energy sources and zero-emission energy sources will make up 60% of global installed generating capacity by 2040.
World Nuclear News 15th July 2016 read more »
The UK faces a looming winter gas supply crunch after Centrica said it has been forced to shut down a key gas storage facility until next spring. Centrica’s Rough site accounts for more than 70pc of the UK’s total gas storage capacity, and can provide about 10pc of peak winter gas demand. The facility, which was converted from a partially depleted gas field off the Yorkshire coast in the 1980s, has suffered ongoing issues and outages in recent months and will now close entirely for further tests. A spokesman said Centrica is working to see whether it will be possible to return around a third of the capacity to operation by November, in time for colder months when gas demand by energy companies climbs.
Telegraph 15th July 2016 read more »
China to build nuclear power stations on disputed islands in South China Sea. The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) made the announcement just two days after the Hague-based tribunal concluded China had “no legal basis” for its claim to almost all of the South China Sea.
Independent 15th July 2016 read more »
The British public’s decision to leave the European Union has, in several ways, heightened the already significant costs and risks of replacing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system with the next-generation Successor programme consisting of four nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (SSBNs). Yet despite the various questions surrounding the UK’s nuclear future, the political commitment of the government, and much of Labour, to nuclearism would appear to remain particularly strong and resilient.
Oxford Research Group 15th July 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Here are two islands. Both are British. Off each island are good quality tidal flows. One island, however, has particularly strong tidal flows, getting on for as strong as one of the world’s strongest flows, in the Pentland Firth in Scotland. Both islands are now looking to develop marine farms harnessing those flows to produce electricity for the National Grid. Both islands need to connect to the National Grid via a subsea interconnector. One island has an existing but underpowered interconnector: the other is at an advanced state of negotiation to build a powerful interconnector that links the island to France and the UK, and links its tidal stream array programme into the grid in the process. The two islands are the Isle of Wight, British through and through, and looking to develop a 30MW array 2.5km off the south of the island in a joint development between Perpetuus Energy and the Isle of Wight council. Good for them: it looks like it will work really well. The other one is Alderney. Alderney Renewable energy are promoting the FAB Link, one of the interconnectors identified by the Government as promoting greater resilience for the UK system, and proceeding well through the process of gaining agreements with Ofgem, National Grid and with their French equivalents. The Link would be from a site neat Cherbourg to Alderney, and then to a landing point near Exeter. Feeding into this could be the product of the Alderney Race tidal array, initially comprising a consented 150 turbines about a mile off Alderney, and coming to about 300MW but with the prospect of an eventual 3GW deployment – which would be about the installed capacity of Hinkley C power station (if it gets built, that is). The Isle of Wight is a county authority and really ‘British’ (and therefore gets to bid for a CfD) whereas Alderney, not far away, counts as British but not British, in that it is a ‘crown dependency’, and therefore doesn’t get to bid for a CfD because that privilege is reserved for, well you know, proper British places. In fact, I understand that the Secretary of State has written to Alderney Energy telling them that there is no go at the moment on a possible CfD because of the not-really-British problem. The fact that the development could have a huge impact on the UK’s electricity market and that Alderney WANT the power to go to Britain because they are, well, British as far as they are concerned is, I suppose, beside the point.
Alan Whitehead’s Blog 15th July 2016 read more »
We are delighted to be able to tell you that our latest share offers for M&S Energy Society and Reading Community Energy Society are now fully subscribed. We are sorry that some people will be disappointed. We look forward to getting all of the sites constructed before the September deadline.
Energy4All 15th July 2016 read more »
Renewables – wind
Staff at EDF’s Torness nuclear power station visited nearby Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuirs to learn about other areas of the company’s work, as well as its low-carbon commitments.
Berwickshire News 15th July 2016 read more »
Renewable electricity is already undermining the big energy utilities’ business model, writes Emma Howard, breaking their monopoly and bringing down energy bills. But with the unfolding battery revolution, it’s going to reach a whole new level as wind and solar powered families and communities become ever more self-sufficient, leaving utilities high and dry. The technology is changing fast. The cost of lithium-ion batteries – the most common type – plunged by 53% between 2012 and 2015 and are predicted to half again by 2019, according to energy analysts IHS. It’s estimated that storage could help to bring about a saving of £8bn to British consumers, secure energy supply for a generation and meet carbon targets. But what would this ‘fundamental transformation’ look like? We put the question to some self-confessed battery geeks. It might seem that those with less money have far less to gain from the great future battery revolution. But if somebody can be found to purchase the infrastructure, it could help poorer people to save significant amounts on their energy bills. In the former coal-mining town of Stanley in County Durham, this somebody has arrived in the form of a partnership between the local authority and a start-up called North Star Solar, which has the former CEO of RWE Npower at its helm. In the first project of its kind, last month the town’s 35,000 residents became the first to be offered solar panels and a home battery system, free of charge. Combined with the effect of replacement LED lightbulbs, the systems are expected to cut residents’ energy bills by a fifth.
Ecologist 15th July 2016 read more »
If you are worried about climate change, it has never been easier to move your money away from companies connected to fossil fuels, with plenty of carbon-free banking and investment options available. So says the editor of Ethical Consumer, which describes itself as the UK’s leading alternative consumer magazine, and which has this month published a personal finance guide to carbon divestment that recommends a number of best-buy products in banking, savings, mortgages and investment.
Guardian 16th July 2016 read more »