Electricity Market Reforms
If all low-carbon energy is given a public subsidy then has nuclear power been subsidised? You might have thought so. But Chris Huhne insisted yesterday that this was not the case. “There is no subsidy, there is a contract for difference to support low-carbon generation; nuclear is getting no special treatment,” the energy secretary told the House of Commons. The issue has put some Lib Dems in a spin, unsure whether to believe their cabinet colleague or not over an issue which has traditionally been very contentious for the third party. You may remember that the coaltion agreement stipulated that Lib Dem MPs are allowed to vote against new nuclear power stations – and that the government will not subsidise the industry.
FT Blog 17th Dec 2010 more >>
I AM used to governments blaming Britain’s economic ills on sinister foreign influences. But ministers won’t get away for much longer trying to blame international factors for the steadily rising inflation rate without admitting the contribution of its own energy policy. The average UK household, according to Ofgem, now pays £1,245 a year in gas and electricity bills. Of this, £84 goes towards subsidising green energy schemes. We are each paying £24 a year towards the EU carbon trading scheme, £12 towards the Renewables Obligation, which forces electricity companies to buy some of their power from more expensive green energy sources, and £45 a year to subsidise domestic insulation schemes. But that is nothing compared with what is to come. Energy secretary Chris Huhne admitted yesterday that the switch to greener power stations will add a further £160 a year to domestic energy bills by 2030 – the money going to subsidise wind farms and other forms of green energy as they replace decommissioned coal and gas power plants. Others, however, believe the increase will be much greater. Price comparison website uSwitch predicts that bills will rise by £500 a year. The Government’s green energy programme would be an outrageous attack on lifestyles at any time but coming from an administration that has committed itself to Labour’s targets for reducing “fuel poverty” it represents a bizarre lack of joined-up thinking. FAR from eliminating fuel poverty – which is defined as a household that spends more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel – the number of households fulfilling this definition has doubled since 2003 to more than 4.5 million.
Express 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Huhne is proposing the biggest shake-up in electricity generation since privatisation 20 years ago. He wants to reduce Britain’s reliance on imports of gas and oil to secure energy supplies. And he wants a greater use of renewable energy and nuclear supplies to cut Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Express 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Robert Peston tries to explain: First, there will be a new and higher minimum price for carbon emissions from power generation. Second, those who invest in nuclear plant, wind farms and other forms of low-carbon energy will be guaranteed a price that yields them a profit. Third, there will be additional payments to those who create reserve capacity in the energy system, to cope with surges in demand or unexpected cuts in supply. Finally, there will be prohibitions on the construction of dirty power stations. The Treasury’s figures show that the poorest will be hit hardest by the reforms. For example the 20% poorest households in the country will be forced to allocate between 0.04% and 0.3% extra of total spending to electricity in 2020 – a fraction of the impact on the 10% richest in the country, for whom the squeeze in spending resources will be between 0.01% and about 0.07%. And it probably won’t surprise you that the most hurt will be single pensioners, for whom the reduction in spending power will be up to 0.37%. Now these are obviously not massive sums – but for poor people, every little hurts, as they say.
BBC 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Scotland’s first minister has denounced UK government plans to help the energy industry build a new generation of nuclear power plants. Alex Salmond said the subsidies for nuclear energy in England could be at the expense of renewables in Scotland.
BBC 16th Dec 2010 more >>
Plans to subsidise nuclear power could spark another row similar to the one over tuition fees, First Minister Alex Salmond has warned. The Liberal Democrats’ decision to back increased fees for university students in England has already sparked a furious reaction, with massive protests against the measure. And Mr Salmond said the UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne could see a similar situation if he includes nuclear power in his subsidy package for low-carbon energy.
Hamilton Adveriser 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Chris Huhne yesterday rejected suggestions the government’s proposed electricity market reforms will lead to steep increases in energy bills, insisting the proposals will ensure British consumers enjoy lower energy bills than would otherwise be the case. “If someone comes and says this is going to cost consumers a lot of money, what is there assumed oil price, what is their assumed gas price?” he asked. “Do you really know better than the IEA which is projecting $100 a barrel oil price which will be break even for us? Fine, maybe you do. But I certainly am not confident enough in our forecast.”
Business Green 17th Dec 2010 more >>
In order to inform myself (Paul Flynn MP) of the effects of the green deal on Harlow, I researched a website this morning, which states: “The nuclear industry’s key skill over the past half-century has not been generating electricity, but extracting lashings of taxpayers’ money.” That was on the website of someone called Chris Huhne. Does this person have any connection with the Secretary of State? Has he sold his principles for a Red Box?
Paul Flynn’s Blog 16th Dec 2010 more >>
The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee held its second evidence session on the NPSs on Tuesday. It asked some searching questions – for example, why the environment organisations complained of the blind faith of the government that a solution would be found to long-term nuclear waste disposal, while they themselves had blind faith that carbon capture and storage (CCS) at a commercial scale would be able to be developed in the next four years. Their non-nuclear strategy was based on greater efficiency, decentralisation, renewables, more investment in storage and interconnection with other countries. If CCS wasn’t realised, Simon B conceded that on top of some unabated (i.e. non-CCS) gas, nuclear might be the only option to fill the gap between projected demand and supply. All three organisations thought that the NPSs should be more explicit about how much of each type of electricity production was needed and where it should be built. They said that the appraisals of sustainability that accompanied the NPSs and had been extensively revised were significantly better but still not good enough. They did not treat alternatives equally – even dismissively, although the committee seemed sceptical that they should do so. Peter Atherton’s analysis was essentially that energy companies look at risk arising from five stages of the process – planning, construction, electricity price, operation and decommissioning. Of these, the two that exercised their minds the most were construction and price, and planning was a relatively low risk matter (so have we been worrying unnecessarily?). The companies needed to offload the risk to the consumer or the taxpayer. He said that the chance of 16 gigawatts of new nuclear electricity production being built in the UK by 2025 was ‘extraordinarily unlikely’. The two plants in Europe currently under construction, at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland, were both late and over budget. He also gave the comparative cost of each electricity-producing technology assuming a 15% ‘cost of capital’: gas £60/MWh, coal £80, onshore wind £80, nuclear £93 and offshore wind £150. The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee now has until 17 January to publish its report on the revised NPSs. The House of Lords will consider the first five revised energy NPSs in a Grand Committee session on 11 January, and the sixth (the Nuclear Power NPS) in a session on 13 January. The Localism Bill, which implements changes to the infrastructure planning regime, was published on Monday. On Monday, the government is due to make written statements (out of 20 expected that day) on both ‘major infrastructure planning reform’ and (conspicuous by its absence in the Localism Bill) ‘the national planning policy framework’. There are links to a couple of briefings on the Bill.
Bircham Dyson Bell 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Scotland could phase out all conventional thermal power by 2030 while maintaining a secure electricity supply and generating revenue from renewable exports, – a report has claimed The research for Friends of the Earth Scotland, supported by RSPB Scotland and WWF Scotland, said that with the creation of a European grid, Scotland would maintain its energy supply. That would be the case even assuming the simultaneous failure of the two largest transmission lines between Scotland and the rest of the UK, plus zero output from onshore wind, offshore wind, wave generation, run-off river hydro and tidal power for a number of days. “We know that renewables can grow to comfortably exceed our electricity demand by 2020,” said FoE Scotland chief executive Duncan McLaren. “This report shows that, contrary to popular myth, the variability of renewable power need not pos e a threat to the reliability of our supply.” But Paul Brewer, a partner and renewables specialist at accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said billions of pounds would need to be invested before Scotland would be able to handle such a scenario without coal, nuclear or gas powered plants in the energy mix.
Scotsman 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Hartlepool & Heysham
Centrica PLC (CNA.LN), an integrated energy company, Friday welcomed the plant life extensions for Hartlepool and Heysham 1 power stations, announced by Lake Acquisitions in which Centrica owns a 20% equity stake. The study extends the life of the stations for accounting purposes by five years to 2019. Further studies will be conducted by 2016 regarding the potential for additional life extension beyond 2019.
Fox Business News 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Utility Week 17th Dec 2010 more >>
BBC 17th Dec 2010 more >>
World Nuclear News 17th Dec 2010 more >>
The Visitor 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Express 18th Dec 2010 more >>
BE took four reactors at Heysham 1, near Morecambe, in Lancashire, and Hartlepool, in County Durham, out of service in October 2007. The move came after it discovered wire corrosion on one of the boiler closure units, which form part of each reactor during a maintenance inspection. The programme of repairs was completed last year but the reactors have since been running at reduced capacity. The firm decided to extend the lives of the two power stations when a solution was found to boost output close to full load – but it will need to be implemented during outages over the next few years.
Independent 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Scotsman 18th Dec 2010 more >>
IET 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Periodic Safety Review of Hartlepool and Heysham 1 concluded there is an appropriate basis for station operation whilst the programme of further work identified by the review is progressed.
HSE October 2009 more >>
“The main conclusion is that the PSR did not fully meet NII’s expectations for a periodic safety review as there were shortcomings both in the quality and the scope of information that is required by the UK regulatory system.”
HSE October 2009 more >>
Lancaster City Council has backed the building of new nuclear power faciliities at Heysham – just as Heysham 1 power station has been granted a five-year life extension, meaning it can continue to generate electricity until 2019. Earlier this week, Full Council approved a recommendation from Andrew Dobson, Head of Regeneration and Policy, supporting nuclear new build projects at Heysham “in principle subject to mitigation of any adverse effects”. Almost every councillor, except the Greens and two independents, voted in favour of the recommendation, even though the Liberal Democrats have a national policy opposing the building of new nuclear power stations.
Virtual Lancaster 17th Dec 2010 more >>
The government’s announcement of reforms to the UK’s electricity market, designed to support the generation of low-carbon power, is likely to sound the starting pistol for utilities to begin making investment decisions for new nuclear build. Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne announced four reforms which, he claimed, represent the biggest shake-up of Britain’s energy market for the past 25 years. Meanwhile, Areva, one of the two companies which has designs for new nuclear power stations in the Health and Safety Executive’s Generic Design Approval (GDA) process, said that it is on course to begin building the first of its new reactors in the UK, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, in 2012 should EDF, the French utility which owns the site, decide to invest.
The Engineer 17th Dec 2010 more >>
The coalition government has this week torn up its pledge of giving no subsidies to nuclear power by unveiling a series of measures aimed at financially supporting the construction of newa reactors.
Burnham-on-sea.com 16th Dec 2010 more >>
Stop Hinkley Press Release 16th Dec 2010 more >>
EDF Preliminary Works Application. EDF Energy’s planning application for preliminary works for two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point has been registered by West Somerset Council.
The application, number 3/32/10/037, is available for inspection by clicking the link below or at the council’s headquarters in Killick Way, Williton.
This is the West Country 17th Dec 2010 more >>
EDF estimates building two EPRs at Hinkley Point will cost 9 billion pounds ($14 billion).
Business Week 17th Dec 2010 more >>
What can we do to stop the Nuclear power programme and stop the first of 8 Nuclear power Stations to be built at Hinkley (Bridgewater)? BOYCOTT EDF… EDF owns 60% of Bristol’s electricity….and they own Hinkley A and B Nuclear Power stations and 450 acres of the land surrounding…they intend to build HINKLEYC ,they have applied for planning, the decimation of trees and hedgerows and farming land…can be applied for, even before the government gives the go ahead to the Nuclear New Build…NO TIME TO HESITATE, PUT YOUR OBJECTIONS IN NOW!
Bristol Indymedia 16th Dec 2010 more >>
France’s nuclear utility is expected to launch the project to build two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point by the end of year and has already committed £1bn in investment over the coming year to prepare the ground for the decision. It expects the two reactors to cost £9bn. As well as extending the life of Hartlepool and Heysham 1 EDF also hopes to extend the life of Sizewell B by up to 20 years. EDF’s Flamanville reactor, in 2008 estimated at a cost of €4bn ($5.2bn), is running at least €1bn over budget and two years late.
FT 18th Dec 2010 more >>
A NEW independent study of attitudes to future energy requirements of residents on Ynys Mon has been conducted by staff from the Department of Social Sciences at Bangor University. The survey was commissioned by management consultants MANA, following a request from PAWB – Pobl Atal Wylfa B. Over a period of years, local politicians have led the local population to believe that building Wylfa B was the only solution to energy requirements and job creation on the island. Now the survey, a representative sample of 500 residents, found that despite Horizon Nuclear’s recent high-level publicity campaign, nuclear power is not in the top three when it comes to the public’s preferred means of energy production. It appears behind solar (55%), wave (53%) and wind power (47%).
Wales Home 17th Dec 2010 more >>
The Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, yesterday announced a number of proposals designed to make energy companies — such as Horizon Nuclear Power, the joint venture behind Wylfa B — more confident in investing in low-carbon energy ventures.
The Druid 17th Dec 2010 more >>
RESIDENTS were left fuming after government officials arrived more than an hour late to a public meeting to discuss plans for a new nuclear power station at Oldbury. Representatives from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had been invited to attend the meeting at Thornbury Leisure Centre last night by South Gloucestershire Council. The purpose of the meeting was for local people to hear a presentation from DECC on why Oldbury is still being considered a suitable site for a new power station, despite local objections.
Gloucestershire Gazette 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Workers today blasted bosses at one of Lancashire’s biggest employers for refusing to honour a Bank Holiday to celebrate Prince William’s wedding. The country will be given an extra public holiday on April 29 next year by the Government for a “day of national celebration” to mark his wedding to Kate Middleton. But employees at Springfields nuclear plant in Clifton, near Preston, have been told they will not be given the Bank Holiday off – unless they book annual leave.
Lancashire Evening Post 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Bechtel is to provide design and project management support services for the first commercial nuclear power plant in the Middle East. The plant will be one of four that a consortium headed by the Korean Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) will build and manage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Engineer 17th Dec 2010 more >>
A decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, future nuclear power plants could be required to be built to withstand an airplane hit. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a proposed rule that says advanced boiling water reactors must be built to withstand aircraft impacts similar to the one that brought down the World Trade Center.
IBT 17th Dec 2010 more >>
Here is a great victory for the anti-nuclear power campaign in Germany: Germany has halted a controversial plan to transport highly radioactive reactor fuel rods to Russia for reprocessing and storage of nuclear waste following strong protests from environmental groups and opposition parties. German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said that 951 spent fuel rods from an experimental reactor in former East Germany will remain at the present storage facility in Ahaus
Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 17th Dec 2010 more >>