Following the UK Government’s announcement of huge public subsidies for the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset, England, Energy Fair has called on EU Commissioner Almunia to open a formal investigation for breaches of competition law.
Ecologist 15th Nov2013 read more »
Jeremy Leggett couldn’t have chosen a better time to warn that we are heading for a world energy crisis so ghastly that the Great Financial Crash will look like a storm in a teacup. The “Big Six” energy companies are in the dock squabbling over rising charges, the politicians are electioneering with dodgy promises to reduce prices while a horrifying number of people say they will choose between heating and eating this winter. If Mr Leggett is right, it’s not only candles and jumpers we will need but our own generators as well. And we don’t have long to stock up. He’s predicting a massive energy shock in 2015 that sends prices spiralling even higher and another financial blow-out. His reasons are fourfold: the world’s big energy companies are running systemic risks similar to those that built up ahead of the financial crash: rub these risks together with rising world temperatures, carbon-fuel asset stranding in the capital markets leading to a carbon bubble, oil depletion, the shale-gas surprise and you get a toxic implosion.
Independent 16th Nov 2013 read more »
UK-based energy companies who have held investor relations meetings in the US in recent weeks have encountered a bleak response. The UK energy sector, they were told, is “uninvestable”. This is the market’s response to two months in which the certainties of the UK energy market have been undermined by politics. Given the scale of new investment required as old capacity is retired, this stark conclusion is very damaging and must be addressed by the Chancellor in his autumn statement on December 5. There are two reasons behind the investors conclusion. The first is the freeze on energy prices proposed by Ed Miliband six weeks ago. According to recent polling work 69 per cent of the electorate support the proposal, even if they do not understand quite what a freeze would mean. The uncertainty is about what would happen after January 1st 2017. If prices had been frozen, how could they be unfrozen? Would there be a temptation to control them on a continuing basis – creating a politically driven price regime similar to those which operate in India or France? No one knows what will happen. The second is that the cross party consensus around the move to a low carbon economy which prevailed at the last election has been broken. The election manifestos in 2015 will say very different things. Any or all of the existing subsidies for wind, solar, biomass or nuclear could be scrapped or reduced. Again no one knows what will happen.
FT 16th Nov 2013 read more »
David Cameron’s push to cut “green” levies on gas and electricity bills could end up increasing energy bills, MPs have said. The Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said that cutting support for renewable energy generation will drive away vital investment in the energy sector, pushing up prices. The committee’s warning came as officials finalised a list of options for changing levies applied to bills, with a scheme that funds home insulation among those facing cuts. The Government says the UK energy industry needs £110 billion of new generators and transmission networks to remain functional in 2020. To encourage companies to fund that work, the Government applies levies to household energy bills to guarantee the industry a minimum price for its power. Industry sources say the Department of Energy and Climate Change was last night due to hand Downing Street a number of options for reforming the ‘Energy Company Obligation’, one of the green levies that requires companies to meet targets for insulating customers’ homes. One option would see a target for installing expensive measures such as solid wall insulation – which can cost £10,000 per household – cut by as much as 50pc. Critics say this part of the scheme is poor value for money, especially given the low take-up of the Green Deal loan scheme which was supposed to see households part-finance the measures.
Telegraph 15th Nov 2013 read more »
An £8bn new nuclear plant to be built on Anglesey has been named, its owner has announced. Wylfa Newydd, which is Welsh for New Wylfa, was named in recognition of the “opportunities” it will bring, Horizon has said. Up to 6,000 jobs are expected to be created while the new reactors are built and around 1,000 when the plant is operating.
BBC 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Daily Post 15th Nov 2013 read more »
ITV Wales 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Horizon, which was bought by Japanese firm Hitachi last year, revealed it was going for the smaller option as it officially branded the project “Wylfa Newydd” – Welsh for “New Wylfa”. When Hitachi took over the scheme in November 2012, the company said it would build two or three 1,300MW Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at each of two sites: Wylfa and Oldbury, in Gloucestershire. It is working up designs for two units at Wylfa to be set out in detail in the second half of 2014. Alan Raymant, chief operating officer, said 2014 would be “one of the busiest years on the project so far” as Horizon goes through a second round of design safety checks and launches a public consultation.
Utility Week 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Building a nuclear plant involves a huge number of business processes from design, manufacture and build, to maintenance, supply chain management and, somewhere down the line, safe decommissioning. Given the complexity involved in developing a nuclear site or any huge infrastructure project, there are multiple opportunities for delays and cost increases to occur. Given the hostile environment that EDF, China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Corporation are operating in, it is crucial that the development process is well managed to minimise additional costs and ensure real-time collaboration with all stakeholders. This industry involves a number of moving parts with projects lasting on average 30-40 years, so changes to scope need to be well-defined, risk must be assessed, and all knock-on effects must be understood and managed.
IT Pro-Portal 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are being spent decommissioning nuclear power facilities in projects that have overrun by years and have been poorly managed, it has been revealed. As much as two-thirds of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s entire budget is being spent on dealing with the country’s post-war nuclear legacy, costing £1.9bn in the last year alone, according to a damning report by professional services company KPMG. The vast majority of the UK’s nuclear waste is at the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria where the bill for dealing with the waste has already reached £67bn and is rising.
London Loves Business 15th Nov 2013 read more »
German energy giant RWE has revealed plans to slash nearly 10 per cent of its workforce over the next two years, blaming a boom in renewable energy and declining demand for conventional power. The company yesterday confirmed it was seeking to lay off about 6,750 employees between 2014 and 2016, the majority of which will be in Germany, where the government’s wide-ranging Energiewende strategy has driven a surge in investment in renewables.
Business Green 15th Nov 2013 read more »
As the Fukushima crisis continues to remind the world of the potential dangers of nuclear disposal and unforeseen accidents, scientists are reporting progress toward a new way to detect the radioactive materials uranium and plutonium in waste water. Their report on the design of a highly sensitive nanosensor appears in ACS’ The Journal of Physical Chemistry C.
Medical News Today 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Scottish Greens seek citizen’s wage, halt to oil drilling and Trident nuclear ban. ‘Green Yes’ campaign for Scottish independence also proposes state-owned renewable energy, land tax, and cheaper childcare.
Guardian 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Britain should keep cutting carbon emissions even if there is only a 60 per cent chance they are causing climate change, David Cameron said yesterday. In a swipe at sceptics, the Prime Minister compared action to prevent global warming to house insurance, saying that it was the right thing to do “even if you are less certain than the scientists”.
Times 16th Nov 2013 read more »
However bad Fukushima has turned out to be for Japan and its nuclear industry, it doesn’t really explain the change in their climate ambition.
Energy Desk 15th Nov 2013 read more »
The UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, were faced with a new crisis on Friday, after Japan, the world’s fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter, slashed its plans to reduce emissions from 25% to just 3.8% on 2005 figures.
Guardian 15th Nov 2013 read more »
A camera installed on a remote-controlled device captured the first direct evidence that water is leaking from a containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, said Nov. 13 that the water was leaking from an unidentified source, possibly a broken part in the suppression chamber or elsewhere in the containment vessel that houses one of the three reactors that went into meltdowns as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Asahi Shimbun 14th Nov 2013 read more »
Is TEPCO, the hapless operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, even remotely interested in trying to repair its shattered reputation? After another cover-up was revealed at the plant this week, we doubt it. This is the story. Reactor #4 at Fukushima was out of operation, and the fuel assemblies were out of the reactor, when the 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit the plant and triggered the failures that led to the catastrophic meltdowns of reactors #1, #2, and #3. The building of reactor #4 was subsequently damaged by hydrogen explosions and fire from the disaster at its sibling reactors. Inside the reactor #4 building, 100 feet above ground level, is a storage pool containing the reactor’s over 1,500 nuclear fuel assemblies, 1,300 or so used ones that are still very hot, and another 200 or so that are unused. The hot assemblies need continuous cooling. Each assembly of spent fuel contains radiation equivalent to 10 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Three of the fuel assemblies inside the reactor #4 storage pool are damaged and cannot be removed using the system TEPCO has come up with. At this stage TEPCO do not know how they will remove the damaged assemblies. Two are cracked and leaking radioactive gases.
Greenpeace 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Fukushima Crisis Update 12th to 14th November.
Greenpeace 15th Nov 2013 read more »
We’ve long said that the greatest short-term threat to humanity is from the fuel pools at Fukushima. The Japanese nuclear agency recently green-lighted the removal of the spent fuel rods from Fukushima reactor 4′s spent fuel pool. The operation is scheduled to begin this month. The head of the U.S. Department of Energy correctly notes: The success of the cleanup also has global significance. So we all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well, efficiently and safely. If one of the pools collapsed or caught fire, it could have severe adverse impacts not only on Japan … but the rest of the world, including the United States. Indeed, a Senator called it a national security concern for the U.S.
Washington Blog 14th Nov 2013 read more »
University of Bristol researchers have unveiled a large semi-autonomous drone “which could be used to provide visual, thermal and radiation monitoring of radiation after a release of nuclear material”, said the University. Jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Sellafield, it is intended to avoid some of the problems that occured at the Fukishima disaster where, according to the University, as well as causing the reactors to fail, “the inundation also disabled 23 of the 24 radiation monitoring stations surrounding the site, leaving disaster response teams effectively ‘blind’ to the ensuing radiation hazard. Helicopter-based activities including monitoring were conducted at the risk of significant radiation exposure to the crews because a suitable alternative was not available.”
Electronics Weekly 15th Nov 2013 read more »
Japan’s embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co plans to shed more than 1,000 jobs via voluntary retirements by the second half of 2014, sources told Reuters, as it seeks to win more financial aid to clean up its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Reuters 16th Nov 2013 read more »
The consortium of Finnish power companies backing a planned nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, western Finland is shrinking. Some 15 members of the Fennovoima public power consortium announced Thursday that they were pulling out of the project, leaving 45 partners still on board. About 45 companies remain as partners to the project. However their support is still conditional, given that Fennovoima is still in talks with Russian nuclear contractor and proposed minority owner, Rosatom.
YLE 14th Nov 2013 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News dominated by the fight to save the Energy Company Obligation; also interesting stories on Brighton Energy Copy and a Food Waste Anaerobic Digester for London creating enough biogas to supply 10,000 homes.
Microgen Scotland 15th November 2013 read more »
A major slimming-down of Carillion’s energy services business due to the faltering Green Deal market will cost up to 1,000 jobs, the firm’s chief executive has said. The contractor announced the move last month, blaming a continued slow market for the government’s flagship Green Deal programme and its expectation that the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), which targets works in “fuel-poor” households, “may now be subject to further delays”.
Building 15th Nov 2013 read more »
The big six energy companies have come under fire again as it was revealed they have taken £1bn from their customers while completing a fraction of the thousands of green and social measures they are required to carry out. Figures from the regulator Ofgem showed that the companies had achieved as little as 3% of the measures to be carried out under one section of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), by which they are supposed to pay for solid and cavity wall insulation, particularly for people on low incomes or with hard-to-insulate properties. Companies had achieved 16% of what they needed to do to help rural areas and put in district heating systems, and 25% of the target on measures that reduce the overall cost of home heating for low-income and vulnerable households, including new boilers. These figures come as the scheme is more than halfway through, as the full complement of measures must be installed by March 2015. Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said: “They have collected £1bn and spent a small proportion of it. This is cynical price-gouging by the big energy companies. We are discussing social obligations here, not a green tax. These companies are blaming ECO for rising energy bills, but they haven’t been carrying out [the number of installations needed].”
Guardian 15th Nov 2013 read more »