Hinkley Point C, the first nuclear plant order in Europe since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, is the fruit of a decade-long process of reconciling two grand national ambitions: Britain’s need to avert a power crisis, and France’s need to keep its nuclear industry alive with export contracts.If the EU raises no state aid objections to the project’s 35-year power price guarantees and government-backed loans, it will pave the way for more new nuclear plants and make Britain one of the world’s main battlegrounds for reactor builders from France, America, China, Japan and Russia.
Reuters 17th Dec 2013 read more »
THE planned new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point looks set for further delay, and has been strongly criticised by an industry heavyweight. Under rules from Brussels, state governments are not allowed to get involved in the free market in a big way, and the EU is considering whether the 35-year-deal is too long and equal to state backing of a private deal. A decision about whether an enquiry into the deal by the EU Commission is needed was due to be made yesterday. And Jim Ratcliffe, boss of Ineos, one of the UK’s biggest energy consumers warned that electricity produced at the site will be too expensive.
Central Somerset Gazette 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Daily Echo 17th Dec 2013 read more »
China’s investment in Britain’s 16 billion pound Hinkley Point project is its first foray into Europe’s nuclear power market and a marker of its global ambitions, but its firms will depend on foreign partners if they are to fulfil them.China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) plan to take a combined 30-40 percent stake in a consortium led by French utility EDF to build French-designed EPR reactors in southwest China has the world’s largest nuclear building programme at home and hopes to leverage this into a nuclear export industry.While China has already built reactors for its ally Pakistan, Hinkley Point is its first nuclear project in a developed country, and Beijing hopes the UK credentials will help promote its two nuclear giants on the global stage. But industry analysts say gaps in the Chinese supply chain, fears of political interference and inexperience in the economics of nuclear power mean the firms will struggle to go it alone.
Reuters 17th Dec 2013 read more »
The planned new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point looks set for further delay. The GMB union believes that the EU Competition Commissioner will tomorrow (wed) reveal his concerns about the commercial deal struck by the British Government and French energy giant EDF, and that a formal investigation will be launched. Yesterday (Monday) the union stressed that EU investigation is a normal process within state aid and competition procedures and the fact that an investigation is underway is no basis for scaremongering.
Western Daily Press 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE:JEC) announced today that it was awarded a framework management contract by Horizon Nuclear Power to provide engineering support and related services for two new nuclear power generation plants the company is developing at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire, United Kingdom.
Wall St Journal 17th Dec 2013 read more »
A new report from leading utilities analysts at investment bank UBS suggests that energy utilities in Europe, north America and Australia are facing a “perfect storm” from the falling costs of renewables, energy efficiency and falling demand, and may not be able to sustain their business models. The report – entitled “Can utilities survive in their current form?” – is the latest in a series of assessments, reviews and analysis that point to the severe disruption to the centralized generation model, and the demand and supply dynamics that have governed the industry for the past few decades. To briefly summarise the UBS response to its own question, the answer is No.
Renew Economy 18th Dec 2013 read more »
Emperor cable cleats and ProTect cable straps from Ellis are being installed in the Areva European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) nuclear power plant currently being constructed in the Guangdong province of China. The Taishan Nuclear Power Project, which is a joint venture between EDF and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, is the third nuclear power station to be built using Areva’s 1,750 megawatt EPR and it is the second time Areva has used Ellis’ products to secure electrical cables at a nuclear plant. Tony Conroy, Ellis’ export sales director, said: “Our first specification for Areva was for its OL3 reactor in Finland in 2009, and was secured as a result of our proven technical expertise and excellent industrial references.
Connecting Industry 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Staffordshire UK based shipping company Robert Wynn and Sons Ltd is currently at the forefront of the largest energy projects on both sides of the Channel. The operator has recently completed two high profile deliveries to Sellafield in Cumbria UK and Flamanville in Normandy, France. The specialist heavy lift barge Terra Marique was loaded with a 498 tonnes module at Ellesmere Port on the Manchester Ship Canal, and offloaded on a beach adjacent to the Sellafield power station as part of the Evaporator D Project, currently the UK’s largest energy construction project.
Maritime Journal 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Britain has become a high-risk destination for energy investment thanks to the continual interference of game-playing politicians, the chief executive of temporary power supplier Aggreko has said. Rupert Soames said policy U-turns, the vilification of big business and ministers supplanting the role of regulators had combined to produced escalating political risk in the UK.
Telegraph 16th Dec 2013 read more »
The risk of uranium leakage from filtration systems used by facilities such as the Ranger mine in Kakadu could be greater than is currently acknowledged, with new research showing that the hazardous substance is far more mobile than previously thought. A study published in Nature Communications found that seemingly immobile uranium particles “piggybacked” onto iron and organic material and flowed into a stream that joined a wetland in France. The Australian Conservation Foundation said the findings were “alarming” given the proximity of the Ranger mine to the World Heritage-listed wetlands of Kakadu national park in the Northern Territory. The ACF said the new European research called into question mine operator Energy Resources of Aus tralia’s practice of using a wetland filtration system to ensure uranium doesn’t escape into the environment. A community of Mirarr people live about 10km from the Ranger mine.
Guardian 18th Dec 2013 read more »
The controversial French EPR at Flamanville in France has once again run into trouble, with the French nuclear watchdog the Nuclear Safety Authority (Agence de surete nucleaire) calling for a halt in work, according to reports appearing in the French press. EDF, the French engineer-operator of the plant, has admitted that it has received a warning from the French Ministry of Labour but rejected reports that said construction had been forcibly halted. The gigantic reactor capable of producing 1650 Megawatts of power has had teething problems ever since work first began almost eight years ago. Initially expected to go on stream in 2012, the reactor is now slated to become operational in 2016 with a corresponding rise in cost – from an initial € 3.3 billion to an estimated € 9 billion. Not a single EPR reactor is currently operating. The plant in Olkiouoto in Finland, delayed by several years has yet to be commissioned and the Finnish operator TVO is locked in a bitter arbitration battle to the tune of € 2.7 billion with French nuclear giant Areva, the designer of the troubled reactor.
The Hindu 18th Dec 2013 read more »
State-controlled power giant Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) Tuesday confirmed it has received a formal notice from the French government labor inspection body to bring its new nuclear reactor site–which is being built in Flamanville, northern France–into compliance with safety protocols. “We have received a formal notice from labor inspection on Friday, but work has not stopped at the site, and continues as scheduled,” said a spokesman for the company. “We have been talking to labor inspection for the past two months, and have already submitted an interim report. We are now are working on a final report.” French news website Mediapart reported Monday evening that labor inspection had ordered EDF to stop work at Flamanville.
Wall St Journal 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Tehran will resume negotiations with world powers over its nuclear programme in the coming days, Iran’s chief negotiator told a Belgian newspaper Tuesday, after a meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief.
EU Business 18th Dec 2013 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 17th Dec 2013 read more »
South Korea warns North Korea may be preparing for new nuclear test, as Pyongyang celebrates two years of Kim Jong-un in power.
Telegraph 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Haiti – solar
Mirebalais is just an hour’s drive north-east of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, but in terms of technological distance travelled, the town might as well be on another planet. On moonless nights, much of the capital is dark; its shacks and makeshift roadside stalls are lit only by flickering candles or small kerosene lamps. It could hardly be otherwise in a country where only about 20% of the 10 million population are estimated to have access to electricity, the lowest percentage in the Caribbean. But Mirebalais is home to a new, well-lit public hospital that can hum with activity round the clock. Seven months after the world’s largest solar hospital opened its doors, its 1,800 rooftop solar p anels have generated enough energy to charge more than 19,000 electric cars, run six surgical suites, attend to 60,029 patients and safely deliver more than 800 babies.
Guardian 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Defence bosses have revealed the first glimpse at the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent by publishing the first artist’s impression of the submarines due to replace the Vanguard-class boats which carry Trident missiles.
Dundee Courier 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – costs
Britain pays four times as much for its wind energy as Brazil, thanks to uncompetitive subsidies. A damning report from the Policy Exchange urges the government to hold the wind industry to its pledge to slash costs by the end of the decade. UK families are paying £95 per MWh for onshore wind, compared to £27 MWh in Brazil, according to its report.
Daily Mail 16th Dec 2013 read more »
More onshore wind farms could be built as a result of a Government plan to award cut-price green energy subsidies. Under the new auctions, which will be announced this week and could start as soon as next year, the cheapest green energy projects will be granted cash regardless of what type of renewable technology they use. The Government argues that auctioning off subsidies to the lowest bidder in this way will ensure that green energy targets are met while keeping the cost to the consumer down. However, the move means that more onshore wind farms, the cheapest large scale form of renewable power, are likely to be built. It spells more uncertainty for the most expensive technologies like offshore wind, with costs at least 50 per cent higher than onshore wind.
Times 16th Dec 2013 read more »
The Energy Company Obligation (Eco) is “manifestly inadequate” to deal with the problem of fuel poverty in England, according to the chair of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG). In FPAG’s 11th annual report, Derek Lickorish said that while the group welcomed the government’s intention to extend some aspects of Eco to 2017, more needs to be done to “deal with the scale of the fuel poverty problem”. Lickorish also warned that energy prices are set to increase, due to a combination of rising wholesale prices and because of the political conflict which “will increase the cost of borrowing”. He added that FPAG is “extremely concerned” about the prospect of rising bills over the next 10 years and that levels of fuel poverty are increasing. The report stated “the government needs to “significantly increase the level of resources available to stop the annual winter cold homes crisis”.
Utility Week 17th Dec 2013 read more »
David Cameron doing zero for unforgivable number of people killed by cold this year. Derek Lickorish, Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, said some of the £4billion a year collected in carbon taxes should go on more insulation programmes
Mirror 17th Dec 2013 read more »
More than four fifths (81 per cent) of households that have had a Green Deal assessment either have or will install energy efficiency measures, according to the latest government survey.
Utility Week 16th Dec 2013 read more »
The government has once again welcomed the “exciting prospect” presented by the UK’s nascent shale gas industry, after a major new independent report predicted new fracking activity could deliver up to 25 per cent of the UK’s current gas demand in the 2020s while supporting between 16,000 and 32,000 additional jobs. However, opponents of fracking were quick to seize on the report’s admission that fracking would bring with it “significant negative effects”, including a potential increase in greenhouse gas emissions and challenges presented by wastewater and other local environmental impacts.
Business Green 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Two-thirds of the UK’s land will be available for fracking companies to license, a government map published on Tuesday shows, with new areas opened up in the Midlands, Cumbria and Wales. Ministers said major energy companies had expressed interest in new shale gas licences and up to 150 applications are expected, which could cover about 15% of the UK. Almost £1bn of financial incentives and revenues could be injected into local communities that accept fracking, according to a new assessment of the impact of a largescale shale gas industry on the UK, published the same day. Tom Greatrex, Labour’s shadow energy minister, said: “Rather than focusing on the need for robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring to address legitimate environmental concerns, the government seem to prefer to give licence to those who make simplistic comparisons to the US that don’t stand up to scrutiny.” The Amec report said that shale gas could reduce the UK carbon emissions if it replaced imported liqueified natural gas (LNG), but noted that if LNG and coal no longer used in the UK were used elsewhere, then global carbon emissions would increase.
Guardian 17th Dec 2013 read more »
The vast disruption that could be caused across the country by fracking has been laid bare, with the Government announcing it would make 40 per cent of Britain available to companies to explore for oil and gas next year.
Independent 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Fracking could take place across more than half of Britain under plans announced by the Government to “step up the search” for shale gas and oil. Ministers said they would offer energy companies the chance for rights to drill across more than 37,000 square miles, stretching from central Scotland to the south coast. Every county in England except Cornwall could have shale gas exploration, according to a map showing areas the Government plans to offer to energy companies.
Telegraph 17th Dec 2013 read more »
BBC 17th Dec 2013 read more »
Times 18th Dec 2013 read more »
FT 17th Dec 2013 read more »
A SWATHE of land covering the Central Belt and much of the Borders and Fife has been identified by UK ministers for controversial shale gas exploration. In a report and map published yesterday, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the next stage of shale gas exploration – fracking – which has led to protests in the south of England. The report steps up the UK government’s support for shale gas, claiming large-scale production could create thousands of jobs and inject almost Â£1 billion into local communities. Ministers published a “regulatory roadmap” for shale gas, setting out the permits developers need before drilling.
Scotsman 18th Dec 2013 read more »