Talks with French energy giant EDF over how much the Treasury will pay for nuclear electricity have become bogged down and are now expected to run to the end of this month. On Tuesday, planning permission is expected to be granted for two new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. However, a deal on the price for the power they will generate originally expected on the same day is still far away.
This is Money 17th March 2013 read more »
THE GOVERNMENT hopes to inject some momentum into its flagging nuclear ambitions with plans revealed in the same week as the Budget. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is gearing up to give planning permission to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant this week, though it remains in talks with EDF about price subsidies that could yet derail the scheme. The green light is expected to come tomorrow, as George Osborne prepares to reaffirm his goal to boost the economy with big building work.
City AM 18th March 2013 read more »
The Treasury has been wrestling with Electricite de France over the price that a future nuclear plant at Hinkley Point will be able to charge between 2023 – when it might start producing – and 2050 – when it would apparently shut down. EDF says it has to be at least £100/MWh to justify the risks. The Treasury says it won’t budge from £80/MWh. Current wholesale power prices are around £45/MWh. In a show of negotiating muscle, EDF has been laying off construction workers from the North Somerset site – it is serious about calling it a day.
Open Democracy 16th March 2013 read more »
Electricity Market Reform
Only a tiny proportion of the UK’s renewable energy companies believe the government’s new subsidy regime will succeed in boosting low-carbon power generation as planned, research has found. In a sign of the industry’s anxiety about the incentive system ministers are pushing through parliament, just 4 per cent of green electricity companies surveyed by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), the sector’s leading trade body, predicted that the subsidies would work well. More than two-thirds thought the situation so bad there was a strong chance that the UK would fail to meet its target of getting 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Several said investor confidence was waning as a result. Environmental campaigners and some renewable energy investors have long been suspicious that the contracts for difference would benefit nuclear generators more than renewable energy companies. But the REA survey underlines the level of concern about how the contracts will work compared with the renewables obligation, which is well understood by investors and banks.
FT 17th March 2013 read more »
The energy regulator predicts that the six largest power suppliers will draw a £110 profit out of every domestic property over the next 12 months, more than tripling their margins. Ofgem calculates that the average domestic gas and electricity bill is £1,420, with an estimated profit – or ‘indicative net margin’ – in the next year of £110 per household, according to The Sunday Times. That compares with a bill of £1,310 last year.
Telegraph 17th March 2013 read more »
An auction to be held at Workington on 17th April includes the sale of two West Cumbrian Beaches. Held by H&H Land and Property Ltd of Carlisle, the auction consists of 16 Lots currently owned by the Curwen Estate – with Lots 15 and 16 being the beaches at Lowca and Flimby respectively. The former is located just north of Whitehaven and the latter just north of Workington. Given the lack of specific data on Lowca and Flimby beaches, local anti-nuclear group CORE [Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment] has written to H&H Land and Property Ltd warning of the potential for both beach Lots to show some evidence of radioactive contamination and that, as land agents selling the beaches, there is a duty of disclosure to potential purchasers of the presence of contamination – the extent and levels of which can only be confirmed through a more robust programme of monitoring.
CORE 17th March 2013 read more »
Sellafield Ltd have issued a statement to reassure local residents there was no risk to safety after problems with the sites water supply.
Cumbria Crack 17th March 2013 read more »
Transatomic, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff is developing a nuclear reactor designed to overcome the major barriers to nuclear power. For the anti-nuclear folks the design offers to burn up the existing spent fuel from the world’s fleet of nuclear reactors in a design that doesn’t offer a chance for a meltdown. That should be nirvana for those alarmed about atomic energy and weapons proliferation. The new reactor design called the Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor (WAMSR) so far exists only on paper.
Oil Price 17th March 2013 read more »
“Fukushima: Two Years After” – VVH-TV News Special Report. with Karl Grossman, Chief Investigative Reporter. The program is pegged on a symposium entitled: “Symposium: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident.” held in New York City on March 11-12, 2013 at the New York Academy of Medicine.
You Tube 14th March 2013 read more »
The United States has not (yet) built a new nuclear reactor since1996 — new U.S. nuclear capacity has essentially flatlined. The U.S. still has far more nuclear power generation than any other country, though China, Russia, India, and Korea are actively constructing new reactors. A few U.S. building permits have trickled in since 2007, when an energy bill with incentives for new nuclear plants passed Congress. A new nuclear reactor will set you back a cool $10 billion or more. The Department of Energy is promoting a plan to build as many as 50 small modular reactors per year starting in 2040. Constructed in factories, these reactors would cost “only” $3-5 billion each.But before they even get to building a new reactor, the nuclear industry has relied upon about ten times as much in federal subsidies compared to those reluctantly offered to renewable energy developers. This is important to keep in mind as the industry complains about wind energy subsidies lowering electricity prices.
Renew Economy 18th March 2013 read more »
Iranian authorities have indicted 18 people over suspected involvement in the killing of its nuclear scientists, according to a news agency. Since 2010, at least five Iranian scientists, including a manager at a key enrichment facility, have been killed. Iran suspects the CIA, MI6 and Israel’s Mossad. While the US and Britain have denied the allegations, Israel has declined to comment.
Independent 17th March 2013 read more »
Labour’s shift away from backing full-scale replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent forms more potential common ground with the Liberal Democrats as relations thaw between the parties. The co-operation marks a change in tone from the open hostility between the parties after the Lib Dems entered coalition with the Tories in 2010 and some see it as the prelude to a possible Lab-Lib coalition after the next election. Labour’s more pluralist MPs hope their plan to back the Lib Dems in their opposition to a like-for-like renewal of Trident will help cement improved ties between the parties and drive another wedge between the coalition partners.
FT 17th March 2013 read more »
“I don’t think anybody sensible really believes that Britain will still be a nuclear power after 2016. In Tony Blair’s book he made clear that it’s not even an independent nuclear deterrent, and we don’t need it anyway.” These were the words of a bright young Labour MP as they spoke to a group of supporters in a quiet north London pub. Unfortunately their timing couldn’t have been worse. Only a few days earlier Lord West, the former Chief of the Naval Staff and Security Minister for Gordon Brown, told the Independent that Labour is preparing to back the Conservatives on trident renewal. Obviously they can’t both be right. The last time the party seriously debated the issue was in March 2007, when 88 MPs rebelled and the policy was passed with the support of the Tories. Since then the Coalition has put the decision on hold while they review it again. The report will be published prior to the next election, with a final vote taking place in 2016. There are a number of questions to be asked before MPs decide whether or not to commit £100 billion to a new generation of submarines, but which questions will be prioritised? My concern is that the decision may prove to be a political one rather than an ethical one.
Huffington Post 17th March 2013 read more »
A MAJOR pilot scheme in Harwich could be crucial in making sure millions of pounds worth of lucrative wind farm business is not lost. MP Bernard Jenkin said the new ‘Energising Harwich’ scheme was vital for the local economy in a town blighted by high unemployment and skills shortages. He tabled a debate on the regeneration of the town in the Commons. The Conservative politician said Harwich “desperately” needed new jobs and more wealth creation. Mr Jenkin said: “The immediate and pressing issue is for Harwich to respond to the exceptional opportunities offered by the offshore wind energy sector, which now employs around 4,000 people in the UK.”
Essex Gazette 13th March 2013 read more »
Green technology group TEG, which jointly owns an anaerobic digestion facility in Glenfarg, has trimmed its annual losses following a 25 per cent jump in revenues. The firm said its Biogas Perth joint venture, which generates power from organic waste, is operating “very successfully”, with output running ahead of its design capacity.
Scotsman 18th March 2013 read more »
THE UK will not have to rely on renewable energy from an independent Scotland to meet its carbon-reduction targets but will be able to shop around for the best deal, a Labour MP claims. Tom Greatrex, the Shadow Energy Minister, will today cite evidence from the National Grid to bolster his argument that if Scots vote yes to independence, a government in London could go to any foreign country to help meet energy needs and commitments on carbon reduction. In its submission last year to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, the National Grid – which runs much of Britain’s electricity transmission system and all of its gas transmission system – referred to its latest survey of electricity generation for each part of the UK. It said: “Scotland has the largest number of projects in the UK, contributing 62% of the projects, but this only accounts for 21% of the total megawatts generation due to connect. “In theory, this means that England and Wales can meet its renewable and carbon emissions targets without any contribution from Scotland.” However, the National Grid also said: “Scotland’s contribution to the UK’s renewable generation provides greater energy diversity to meet the challenges of energy security and makes it more likely that the UK will meet its legal environment targets by 2020”.
Herald 18th March 2013 read more »
The SNP has consistently claimed that, after a Yes vote, England and Wales would need Scottish electricity to keep the lights on and meet its renewable targets. The Unionist parties on the other hand argue that there are no such guarantees. Certainly, with our great open spaces and long coastline, Scotland is in a good position to exploit renewable source of energy but the balance of power in a post-independence world is by no means certain.
Herald 18th March 2013 read more »
Miners accused the government today of losing Britain half a billion pounds for low-carbon energy projects by missing a deadline to bid for the cash. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said that the European Union had offered member states matching funds for green energy projects. The government had earmarked £1 billion to invest in four projects and invited tenders. Among the tenders was 2CO, a firm planning to build a coal plant next to Hatfield colliery in South Yorkshire – one of Britain’s last three deep coalmines. 2CO planned to capture the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions and pump it into empty gas and oil fields beneath the North Sea. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) was examining the Hatfield proposal, among others, but the European deadline last year passed before any decision was made. As a result the EU cash was lost.
Morning Star 15th March 2013 read more »
Some of Britain’s leading climate change researchers have backed the use of shale gas to help the UK cut its carbon pollution. In a paper some environmental campaigners will find contentious, experts from three climate bodies conclude there are sound reasons to burn natural gas instead of coal in the country’s power stations in the short term. The reason is that gas-powered plants emit less than half the carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour of coal-fired stations. Of all the greenhouse gases that scientists say are heating the planet to potentially dangerous levels, carbon dioxide is the main one caused by human activities. But it would be risky to believe proponents of gas who say finds of the fuel in shale rock will translate into cheap gas prices, the study concludes. It would also be foolish to keep depending on gas for too long because it would m ake it harder – and more expensive – to meet the UK’s mandatory 2050 target of cutting greenhouse gases by at least 80 per cent from 1990 levels.
FT 18th March 2013 read more »
Scotsman 18th March 2013 read more »