Energy companies are to be ordered to make it easier for customers to save money on their bills, with millions of people to be offered free insulation as the winter approaches. A summit of the big six firms, ministers, consumer groups and the watchdog Ofgem will tomorrow seek to strike a deal to drive down costs, including simplifying the complex system of gas and electricity tariffs which confuses customers. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, will tell families he is doing all he can to help them cut costs. Last week it emerged that average energy firm profits had leapt to £125 a year per customer up from just £15 in June.
Independent 16th Oct 2011 more >>
The energy industry is being kicked about like a political football, putting at risk the £200bn investment that is essential to safeguard the countrys supply, the head of one of Britains biggest power groups has warned ahead of tomorrows summit over spiralling energy bills. As the Big Six suppliers prepare to face their regulator Ofgem, consumer groups and government officials in Westminster tomorrow, Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower, the German-owned UK generator and supplier, said he fears the current climate could make investors more nervous. Tomorrows summit will focus on achieving more immediate relief for hard-pressed consumers, possibly through encouraging people to switch deals and suppliers and to take advantage of insulation schemes in order to benefit from their savings before winter arrives.
Telegraph 15th Oct 2011 more >>
Ministers and energy giants need to stop blaming each other for soaring bills and be honest about why consumers are heading for a shock. What is certain is that the penny has finally dropped. One in four households is now fuel poor, which means that more than 10% of its net income goes on energy bills. Things are going to get worse and not just because unemployment last week hit a 17-year high. Britain is on the cusp of a £200 billion low-carbon overhaul. The government wants to replace our dirty coal-fired stations with expensive offshore wind farms and nuclear reactors to meet climate change targets. The makeover is the biggest since North Sea oil and gas came on stream in the 1970s and you and I will pay for it. Analysts said the average domestic energy bill could hit £1,800 a year by 2020. (Up from £1,345 now and £740 five years ago). After years of talk about the green revolution as a far-off eventuality, it has finally collided with the real world, and everyone is running for cover. Its here now. Cheques are going to have to be written to build this stuff, said Mark Powell at KPMG. But the world has changed and all of a sudden the question of affordability has come front and centre. The heart of Huhne’s plan is the so-called Electricity Market Reform, or EMR. First proposed last year, it is a cocktail of subsidies to support a new generation of low-carbon power sources, and harsh penalties designed to speed up the death of fossil-fuelled stations. Huhne wants it on the books by 2013. There has yet to be a clear explanation, however, from government or industry of just how high prices are likely to go and why. Councillors in West Somerset have begun trawling through a 9,000-page application by EDF Energy to build Britains first new nuclear reactor since 1994. Projects like these need everyone industry, government and consumer groups pulling together. Name-calling wont help. The industry is hoping tomorrows summit will mark a new beginning. It may not resonate with public sentiment, but competition in Britain has worked. We pay less for energy than just about anyone in Europe. The problem is we use a lot of it. Our housing is draughty and poorly insulated.
Sunday Times 16th Oct 2011 more >>
MORE than 2,000 people have signed a petition objecting to plans to extract vast quantities of shingle from the Dungeness coastline. Fears have been raised that extracting up to 560,000 cubic metres of material from the Borrow Pit will damage the thriving Marsh cod fishing industry, as parts of the beach will be fenced off for six months a year. The area of excavation covers 28,600sq m. A planning application has been lodged by Dungeness B power station, part of EDF Energy, and the Environment Agency to recycle shingle as part of the station’s sea and flood defences. Shingle has been moved to the front of both Dungeness A and B stations for several decades but the process stopped in 2007.
Romney Marsh Herald 15th Oct 2011 more >>
PART of the Dounreay nuclear site that has been shut down for a week following a leak of radioactive fluid is due to reopen in the next few days. A treatment plant destroying liquid coolant in the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) was closed on 8 October after drips of caustic liquor from pipework in a shielded cell were detected by the monitoring systems. The plant was immediately shut down and the leak isolated and stopped.
Scotsman 15th Oct 2011 more >>
More radioactive particles have been found by an environmental watchdog as officers monitor a beach where highly radioactive material was discovered. Seventeen radioactive particles have been found since Sepa removed a lump of contaminated metal at Dalgety Bay beach in Fife on Wednesday. The lump was 10 times more radioactive than material found at the site before. Dalgety Bay Community Council chairman Colin McPhail has called on the MoD to spend more money to fix the area. He told the BBC Scotland news website the cost to fix the area was “peanuts” for the MoD. The latest particles are not as radioactive as the contaminated lump of metal found earlier this week. Radium from wartime aircraft is thought to have been in landfill which was used when the foreshore was reclaimed. The discovery was made during work to trace the radioactive source, which is due to be completed over the next two weeks. The MoD said it would look into the need for remedial work once a report on the area had been published.
BBC 15th Oct 2011 more >>
Professor Roger Cashmore: Steve Connor accuses the Royal Society of bias and cherry-picking data in our Fuel Cycle Stewardship in a Nuclear Renaissance report, but it is his analysis that smacks of bias. To do a report on any aspect of nuclear power without involving scientists with experience of the nuclear industry would be foolish. Our working group of nine contains two former employees of industry. To suggest that they carried undue influence over other working group members, a further review group and the Council of the Royal Society, who also assessed the final report, is simply untrue. As regards the accusation of cherry-picking evidence, the report does acknowledge past MOX failures as well as highlighting success in France. The UK has a serious problem with the world’s largest civil stockpile of separated plutonium. The best way to deal with this is by co nverting it into MOX fuel. This has been proven to work in France. It will be the job of the commissioners of any new plant in the UK to ensure that the successes are reproduced and the failures learned from.
Independent 15th Oct 2011 more >>
Fukushima Update 11th to 13th October.
Greenpeace International 14th Oct 2011 more >>
A growing number of companies are urging homeowners to go green while cutting energy bills by installing solar panels. But experts are warning people not to be hoodwinked into “too good to be true” deals by cowboy salesmen. Here Times Money outlines how much you can save by generating your own electricity, and how to avoid the rip-off deals. Feed-in Tariffs Energy suppliers, including all the big six, are obliged to pay householders who use photovoltaic solar panels a set rate for each unit of electricity generated. This rate varies depending on the type of system installed and it is guaranteed for the period of the ta riff (up to 25 years) and is index-linked – so will rise with inflation. How much each household is paid depends on how many solar panels a roof can take. Those who can benefit most from the scheme will have a large, unshaded south-facing roof, using most energy during daylight hours.
Times 15th Oct 2011 more >>
The prime ministers pledge to make his the greenest government ever could be dealt a hammer blow by the collapse of a £1 billion flagship clean energy project. Scottish Power is close to pulling the plug on a plan to fit part of its Longannet coal-fired power station in Fife with technology to catch carbon dioxide emissions and pipe them into spent North Sea oil wells.
Sunday Times 16th Oct 2011 more >>