Stop Hinkley has today welcomed news that Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s shadow climate change minister, has called on the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, to admit that Hinkley Point C will not proceed and to inform parliament what her alternative energy strategy will be. Problems for Hinkley keep mounting. Last week the Daily Telegraph reported that French Nuclear Safety Inspectors had found crucial faults in the cooling system of a reactor similar to the Hinkley design, which is being built in Normandy. The fault would expose the reactor to the risk of a meltdown. This followed news in April that anomalies had been found in the bottom and lid of the reactor pressure vessel (RPVs) of the Normandy reactor.
Stop Hinkley 16th June 2015 read more »
Newport West MP Paul Flynn writes ahead of his Westminster Hall debate on ‘New nuclear power’ It’s a financial basket case. Since the plans for Hinkley Point C were first announced there has been an odyssey of failure, delay and mounting costs. A positive image has been created by a rich skilful lobby that has manipulated gullible public opinion. Other nations who were not protected from the awful £250bn truth of Fukushima have abandoned nuclear power. Germany is one that has transformed their future energy plans into renewables solutions. In denial the UK stumbles on. Europe’s catastrophic delays in two similar stations are ignored even though their problems are likely to be repeated here. Finland’s Olkiluoto was due to generate electricity in 2009. The latest of many promised finish dates is 2018. Cost overruns stand at €4 billion. The sister station at Flamaville in Normandy was originally planned to be completed in 2012 at a cost of €3.3 billion. Later the hope was 2016 at €8.5 billion. In April 2015 serious problems were discovered in the vessel’s steel.
Politics 17th June 2015 read more »
Levy Control Framework
Rising green levies on energy bills risk causing a public backlash that will undermine efforts to tackle climate change, a leading left-wing think tank has warned. Ministers should overhaul a series of badly-designed policies that will otherwise leave consumers paying billions of pounds more than necessary for green energy over the next decade, the IPPR said on Wednesday. The report comes after the European Commission on Tuesday warned that despite the UK subsidising the construction of thousands of wind turbines and solar panels, the country was still on track to miss its EU-set target of generating 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Subsidies to fund green electricity projects such as wind and solar farms are paid for through levies on consumer energy bills. Official government estimates show these already cost a typical household £68 a year in 2014, or 5 per cent on an annual energy bill of £1,369. They are forecast to rise to £141 a year in 2020, or 11 per cent of a bill, and £226 or 15 per cent of a bill by 2030. Joss Garman, associate director of the IPPR think tank, said: “The government’s plan to hike up green levies on energy bills risks causing a public backlash against action to address climate change, especially because they hit the poorest households hardest.” In a report, the IPPR said that the levies were “regressive” as they left the poorest households paying a much higher share of their disposable income on green policies than wealthier households. It warned that there had been “insufficient debate about the dramatic rise in charges on energy bills that is set to take place over the next decade to fund progress on low-carbon and social policies”. The IPPR issued a series of policy recommendations that it estimated could save consumers £7 billion in coming decades, including public ownership of proposed new nuclear power plants, and changes to the way that energy companies apply to build offshore wind farms to save cash being wasted on projects that do not go ahead.
Telegraph 17th June 2015 read more »
The government could save consumers billions of pounds by nationalising its planned fleet of new nuclear power stations and offshore wind development programme, before then selling successful projects to private developers, a new report claims today. With consumer energy bills expected to rise over the coming years, in part due to rising ‘green levies’, the left-leaning think tank IPPR warns that inevitable political pressure to find ways to cut bills could invoke a “sudden panicked response” from politicians that could derail long-term efforts to decarbonise the energy sector. Anyone doubting the credibility of such fears should look no further than last year’s row over the levies used to pay for energy efficiency programmes, which were effectively cut by the government as it sought a response to Labour leader Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze energy bills. The IPPR report urges the government to look now at new finance models that could reduce the costs of delivering green energy infrastructure while still tackling climate change. It also joins the chorus of energy industry figures calling on new energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd to reconsider Conservative plans to effectively halt new onshore wind farms, warning the policy will only serve to push up energy bills. Significantly, the report suggests the UK’s current model for developing offshore wind farms has become stale, inefficient and could be wasting hundreds of millions of pounds, pushing up costs for consumers.
Business Green 17th June 2015 read more »
How much of a threat do cyber attacks on industrial infrastructure pose to civilians and the environment? More to the point, how do we judge the environmental acceptability of new forms of warfare, or current practices for that matter? Doug Weir takes a look. During our first legal workshop on toxic remnants of war in 2012, one attendee questioned how the legality of a cyber attack on an industrial facility that caused a damaging chemical release would be dealt with. In common with others present, we didn’t have a clear answer on this. Three years on and the hype bubble surrounding all things cyber is slowly throwing up some initial answers, although much delirium remains. It’s also throwing up some questions, not least of which is whether the international community is currently equipped to judge the environmental acceptability of new military practices.
Toxic Remnants of War 12th June 2015 read more »
We are here this morning to again advise you of the error of your ways. Civilian nuclear power was only ever a fig leaf for nuclear bomb making, and civilian nuclear power is no longer either cheap, needed or acceptable. Don’t just take our word for it. The world’s major investment banks no longer back nuclear. This week, UBS released a report saying that within a decade, solar power will provide 10% of the world’s electricity supply, and that its growth rate will only continue to accelerate, beating coal and nuclear as the world’s default energy technology. “We believe the financial community and most industry experts largely underestimate the global solar capacity growth, as falling costs, supportive regulation and the opening up of new solar markets seem to go largely unnoticed.”
Radiation Free Lakeland 16th June 2015 read more »
Nuclear power is the second-largest source of low-carbon electricity generation worldwide, after hydropower, but nearly all new nuclear construction in recent years has taken place in price-regulated markets or in markets where government-owned entities build, own and operate the plants, a report by the International Energy Agency says. The report, “World Energy Outlook Special Report 2015: Energy and Climate Change”, says China continues to lead in new capacity, with 28 gigawatts of nuclear under construction at the end of 2014, while plants with a combined capacity of 46 GW are under construction in Russia, India, South Korea, the US and several other countries. Japan has begun the necessary process for the restart of some of its nuclear capacity. The report says China could account for 65 percent of global growth in nuclear capacity and could overtake the US as the largest holder of nuclear power generation capacity around 2030.
Nucnet 15th June 2015 read more »
Climate vs Nukes
Today, seven international clean energy organizations launched a major new campaign aimed at keeping nuclear power out–as in completely out–of all negotiations at the upcoming COP 21 climate talks in Paris in December. The seven initiating groups are NIRS, WISE, Sortir du Nucleaire, Ecodefense, Global 2000, WECF, and Germany’s Burgerinitiative Umweltschutz. While the campaign is being launched and coordinated by these seven groups, many, many more groups will be participating by the time we get to Paris, where we’ll be doing what worked so well in New York at last October’s People’s Climate March: building a highly visible Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent for the various rallies and other events taking place during COP 21. Nuclear power is counterproductive at addressing our climate crisis. As we’ve pointed out here many times, most recently here–where the Energy Information Administration itself provided the analysis–using nuclear power as a climate “solution” would prevent the deployment of the renewable technologies that are faster and cheaper at reducing carbon emissions, and are safer and cleaner overall to boot.
Green World 16th June 2015 read more »
NIRS 16th June 2015 read more »
Fareed Zakaria’s June 14 op-ed column, “Saudi Arabia’s bluff,” provided valuable insight into the dynamics of the Saudi economy and workforce, but it fell short on Saudi Arabia’s ability to acquire nuclear capability. Saudi Arabia may not produce cars, but for more than two decades it has possessed nuclear-capable CSS-2 intermediate-range ballistic missiles. North Korea has an 18th-century economy in a 21st-century world, but it became a nuclear state. Despite heavy sanctions and restrictions in the 1970s, Pakistan gained the ability to produce nuclear warheads. Israel reportedly hijacked a ship loaded with uranium in 1968. If a country has the determination and resources, it will get what it wants.
Washington Post 15th June 2015 read more »
The Trident safety whistleblower, William McNeilly, says he has been dishonourably discharged from the Royal Navy to protect its public image. In a nine-page report posted online, the former nuclear submariner attacks “military deceivers” and naval “spin doctors” for downplaying his allegations about multiple safety and security lapses. “It is shocking that some people in a military force can be more concerned about public image than public safety,” he says.
Guardian 17th June 2015 read more »
RobEdwards.com 17th June 2015 read more »
We know that any use of nuclear weapons will disrupt society in dramatic ways, but few recognise that a mere 100 blasts could push tons of material into the atmosphere, causing a drop in climate and massive famine sufficient to kill billions from starvation and render civilisation a meaningless dream of the past. There are over 17,000 of these horrific devices in the world with thousands poised and ready to strike in short order’ Interview with Jonathan Granoff.
Talkworks 16th June 2015 read more »
Vladimir Putin has said Russia will put more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles into service this year, capable of overcoming even the most advanced defences. He was speaking at a military fair showcasing a multi-billion dollar modernisation programme for the armed forces. Mr Putin insists the West has nothing to fear but Nato accused him of nuclear sabre rattling and he’s already accused of sending military hardware and troops to support rebels fighters in eastern Ukraine
BBC 17th June 2015 read more »
Express 17th June 2015 read more »
Daily Mail 16th June 2015 read more »
Independent 16th June 2015 read more »
Telegraph 16th June 2015 read more »
The South Korea Government has recommended state-run nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) to permanently close its 587MW Kori No. 1 nuclear reactor unit in Busan over increasing safety concerns. The move comes after a government-led energy advisory panel concluded the permanent closure of the unit as appropriate for long-term development of domestic nuclear industry, and decommissioning technology. The decision entails the company to drop its second extension approval plan, and permanently close the 38-year-old Kori-1 reactor following expiration of operating permit in June 2017.
Energy Business Review 15th June 2015 read more »
Britain, France, Netherlands, Malta and Luxembourg are projected to miss binding goal of getting 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. The UK, France and Netherlands are set to miss a key EU renewable energy target and should review their policies to get back on track, the European commission has said. A progress report for all 28 member states, published on Tuesday, said that those three countries plus Malta and Luxembourg should “assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective” to meet the target.
Edie 16th June 2015 read more »
Guardian 16th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
A new £200m tidal barrage energy project in Lancashire is set to go ahead after the developer was granted permission to use the land.
Construction News 16th June 2015 read more »
Natural Energy Wyre has launched the UK’s first Estuary Tidal Barrage project spanning the river Wyre.The £200m project, one of the least expensive energy projects in Great Britain, is now moving forward after a landmark deal with the Duchy of Lancaster. The deal, granting exclusivity rights to build a tidal barrage across the river Wyre, means that the project managed by Natural Energy Wyre is now able to move forward to the funding and planning application stage.
Lancashire Business View 16th June 2015 read more »
A £200m tidal energy project in Lancashire is going ahead after the developers obtained rights to use the land. Natural Energy Wyre Limited will now take their project forward to the funding and planning application stage, after obtaining the rights from the Duchy of Lancaster. The project, dubbed the Wyre Tidal Barrage, is said to be UK’s first tidal energy power station, boasting an installed capacity of 90MW/hr.
Edie 16th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
The baking days before the arrival of the monsoon, when much of south Asia swelters in daytime temperatures above 45C, may not sound the best time to boast the merits of the Indian sun. Last month 2,500 people are reported to have died during a heatwave. Even solar electricity stations are suffering from the reduced efficiency of their overheated photovoltaic cells. But the government of Narendra Modi is accelerating its efforts to generate a substantial share of electricity from the sun, setting aside land, building transmission lines and this month floating a plan to attract foreign investors with supply contracts denominated in dollars rather than rupees.
FT 17th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
WIND farms contribute almost £9 million a year to community projects across Scotland, new figures have shown. The amount of community benefit cash paid to local good causes from on-shore wind farms has now reached just over £8.8 million a year, according to Local Energy Scotland. Grants paid out under the scheme have helped with a wide range of projects, including sending members of a West Lothian dance school to the European Street Dance Championships in Germany. Payments also allowed a new community hall to be build in Daviot, Aberdeenshire, and to a thermal imaging camera so residents in the Sutherland area of the Highlands can see where extra insulation is needed. Local Energy Scotland was set up to help communities and businesses benefit from renewable energy schemes in their area, with its community renewables register detailing how much cash is invested in good causes.
Scotsman 16th June 2015 read more »
A Livingston wind energy specialist expects to secure £2 million funding for projects in Scotland from wealthy investors in China who are turning their attentions to the UK. Orenda Energy Solutions has signed a deal with China ZhuangHe Investment under which the advisory firm will raise debt from high net worth clients that will be used to cover the cost of developing wind energy schemes in Scotland. Orenda plans to use the funding to install around 10 turbines on sites it has identified across Scotland. The company expects the turbines will generate enough revenue to allow the debt to be repaid within seven years and to guarantee an annualised return of eight per cent for investors.
Herald 17th June 2015 read more »
Scottish Energy News 17th June 2015 read more »
Fracking offers Scotland the chance of a secure energy supply no more harmful to the environment than conventional gas production, according to a study published by the country’s pre-eminent scientific academy. The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s advice paper on “options for Scotland’s gas future” finds that “onshore production of unconventional gas” – or fracking – could offer the country security of supply without “significant risk” to health, wellbeing or safety. Published this morning, the report stops short of recommending fracking, but calls for an informed debate. Its findings suggest that a strong case can be made for fracking, with developments likely in parts of the central belt, including Clackmannanshire and Stirlingshire, should consent be granted.
Times 17th June 2015 read more »
The Scottish public must be given a genuine opportunity to influence the decision-making process on fracking and other unconventional gas developments, according to a report. In a wide-ranging report, The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) said they must be allowed to influence the decision-making process and be provided with meaningful information. The report follows a Scottish Government announcement in January of a temporary moratorium on unconventional gas development, including the use of fracking, to allow for a national debate. Lead author and RSE Fellow Professor Rebecca Lunn said: “It is imperative that we consider the wider issue of how Scotland, as part of the UK, will meet demand for the gas required to heat homes and supply industry over the coming decades. “We should not let the debate focus narrowly on unconventional gas or hydraulic fracturin g. There are no easy solutions when it comes to supplying our energy needs; local impacts must be weighed up against issues of energy security, carbon emissions and social justice.” The report highlights the importance of considering unconventional gas development in Scotland within the context of the UK’s need for gas to heat homes and for use in industry.
Herald 17th June 2015 read more »
Thousands of people from snowboarders and surfers to bee keepers and nuns are set to converge on parliament on Wednesday to urge their MPs to back strong action on climate change. The mass lobby is today calling on parliament to support a global climate change deal which will end carbon pollution from fossil fuels by mid century and invest in warm homes, clean energy and sustainable transport. Politicians are also being urged to end polluting coal power in the UK by 2023, on the way to phasing carbon out of electricity supplies. And constituents from around the UK are asking their MPs to ensure that new Sustainable Development Goals set to be agreed by the United Nations this autumn reflect the need for ambitious action on climate change and deliver low-carbon development.
Guardian 17th June 2015 read more »