A South Korean power giant is closing in on a stake in a new Cumbrian nuclear power station after crunch talks with the business department last week. Top executives from Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) are understood to have been among a delegation that met officials working with Greg Clark, the business secretary, on Thursday. The government is wrestling with how to fund its planned fleet of nuclear power stations. In September, the much-delayed deal with France and China on the £18bn Hinkley Point plant in Somerset was confirmed. Japanese companies are involved in the next projects in the pipeline: the Moorside plant in Cumbria, backed by Toshiba, and Wylfa on Anglesey, to be built by the Hitachi subsidiary Horizon. Last week more details emerged about plans to pump billions of pounds of UK and Japanese taxpayer cash into Horizon, as revealed by The Sunday Times in March. Kepco has long been courted as a potential investor in NuGen, which will construct the Moorside plant, near Sellafield. NuGen is 60%-owned by the cash-strapped engineering giant Toshiba. The rest is owned by Engie (formerly GDF Suez), the French state-backed energy and outsourcing behemoth. Engie has hinted it may back out of the consortium, which could open the door for Kepco. Asia’s biggest economies are competing to gain an edge in the global nuclear industry. China, Japan and Korea hope that building plants here will fuel an export boom for their reactor technology as Britain is widely considered to have one of the world’s toughest regulators.
Times 18th Dec 2016 read more »
The $2.2 billion in cost overruns are Georgia Power’s share following lengthy litigation with the building contractor and reactor designer. In the agreement between PSC staff and Georgia Power, $2.2 billion of cost overruns (to date) is recommended to be passed on to Georgia electricity customers in their bills starting in 2017. Vogtle’s nuclear reactors Nos. 3 and 4 are already at the center of a storm of controversy because they are more than three years behind schedule, $2 billion over budget and only 36 percent complete.
Gainsville Times 17th Dec 2016 read more »
Nuclear flights at a Highland airport breach runway safety limits and are expected to crack the asphalt surface, according to internal reports for the airport’s operator. Bombs grade uranium from the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness is being flown from Wick John O’Groats Airport to the US in 130-tonne C-17 US air force planes that are too heavy for most of the runway. The revelations – from documents released under freedom of information law – have prompted angry accusations from politicians and environmental groups that safety is being compromised to allow the flights to take place. This is denied by the Scottish Government company that runs the airport. There have been earlier allegations that Wick’s runway was too short for C-17 aircraft and that the airport’s rescue and fire-fighting capability was inadequate. The flight from the US in September landed at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, which experts say could have been to minimise the weight of fuel it was carrying for its short hop to and from Wick. Now detailed technical reports obtained by The Ferret disclose that the runway may not be strong enough to withstand the flights. Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) commissioned the US engineering firm AECOM to examine the structural suitability of Wick’s runway for C-17s, and it produced a 46-page report in October 2015.
Ferret 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Britain will not receive the investment it needs to maintain energy security if power companies are not allowed to make more profit, the head of one of Europe’s biggest utilities has warned. Peter Terium, chief executive of Innogy, said developments on the UK energy market were “raising concerns” after the entry of dozens of small gas and electricity suppliers that have driven down margins for larger groups.
FT 19th Dec 2016 read more »
British households face an extra £30 per year on their energy bills by 2020 to pay for emergency power to keep the lights on, according to a new report. The UK’s electricity generating output has been reduced to such an extent that Britain could face intermittent blackouts by next winter, the British Infrastructure Group, a cross-party group of MPs chaired by Grant Shapps, has claimed. In a report published today, the group warns that National Grid’s safety buffer this winter has shrunk to 0.1 per cent, which leaves the UK at risk of power shortages in the event of freak weather, unless the Grid resorts to emergency measures. This winter National Grid will pay about £122 million for emergency power, which is 800 times the average wholesale price for 2015 and four times the cost of last year’s emergency reserve s, the group said. As part of the solution the British Infrastructure Group is urging householders to be more energy efficient through installing LED lights and insulation, which will also bring down the cost of household bills.The group is also calling upon the government to review renewable energy policies and targets. Gas power stations, which are quick to build, and nuclear power stations, which “deliver huge amounts of output for their fuel intake and are relatively low-carbon”, should be the focus of the state in the medium term until technical problems relating to renewable electricity generation are overcome, the group adds.
Times 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Guardian 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Peter Terium took an ailing German utility,RWE, hived off its green energy business into a new company called Innogy and listed a chunk of it in October, raising €4.6bn in Frankfurt’s largest initial public offering since 2000. Mr Terium did not undertake one of the most radical corporate restructurings postwar Germany has seen on a whim. For years, the country’s utilities have been in dire straits, battered by its radical shift away from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewables. The electricity RWE and its rival Eon produced from coal and natural gas has been squeezed out of the market by cheap, subsidised wind and solar, while a slump in wholesale power prices left many of their plants uneconomic. Eon and RWE both responded by splitting themselves in two. Eon pooled its polluting power plants and energy trading unit in a new company, Uniper, which listed in September. RWE went in the other direction. Innogy contains the cleaner, greener businesses — renewables, power grids and retail energy services — while the older, dirtier ones remain with RWE.
FT 18th Dec 2016 read more »
France is resisting Chinese attempts to gain a strategic foothold in its nuclear industry, blocking a request by the China National Nuclear Corporation for a seat on the board of one of its state-backed companies. The power struggle is being played out at Areva, the power station developer behind the £18 billion project at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Confronted by 7 billion euros of debts, the company is set to be split up. EDF, its French peer, will purchase its reactor division for 2.5 billion. Areva SA, the parent company, will retain control of a disaster-ridden project to build a reactor in Finland of the same kind that is planned for Britain. A new business, NewCo, is being created to run Areva’s nuclear fuel and uranium mining activities. Philippe Knoche, chief executive of Areva, said two investors, understood to be Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel, had made offers totaling 500 million to take a 5 per cent stake each in the new company. A source said that talks were continuing with CNNC, which also wants to take a stake in NewCo, but its request for a seat on the board has set alarm bells ringing in Paris.
Times 19th Dec 2016 read more »
A Danish wind turbine manufacturer has confirmed a £multi-million investment to enable CS Wind to build a new offshore tower manufacturing facility in Argyllshire. This will be the first facility in the UK that can manufacture towers for offshore wind turbines and will be located alongside CS Wind’s current onshore facilities at Campbeltown. It will be able to produce at least 50 towers a year and 70 jobs will be safeguarded as a result. The DONG Energy investment will enable the contract for the first 95 towers built by CS Wind, which Siemens Wind Power has agreed to take, and will help in the establishment of a tower manufacturing facility in the UK.
Scottish Energy News 18th Dec 2016 read more »
Sinn Fein are warning of grave consequences if the DUP bring forward a statement during a debate on Monday about the Renewable Heat Initiative Scheme without their support. Martin McGuinness said the statement which Arlene Foster plans to make to the Assembly does not have his authority or approval as deputy first minister. Sinn Fein will put forward a motion asking for the first minster to stand aside to facilitate an independent investigation into the RHI scandal. The Assembly will debate a motion to exclude Mrs Foster as first minister on Monday. On Sunday, the DUP said it supported the need for an independent and speedy investigation, free from partisan political interference, to establish the facts around the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. It said the party had been working with officials to reach agreement on the details of such a n inquiry. A short time later, Sinn Fein released a statement saying they would be bringing a proposal to the Assembly on Monday for First Minister Arlene Foster to stand aside until an independent investigation produces a preliminary report.
BBC 18th Dec 2016 read more »
Coffee giant Costa has revealed that waste coffee grounds from more than 850 stores nationwide are now being used to make low-carbon fuel thanks to a new partnership with biomass specialists Bio-bean. Under the partnership Bio-bean, which uses waste coffee grounds to produce biomass pellets and so-called ‘coffee logs’ for woodburning stoves, is taking more than 3,000 tonnes of Costa’s coffee grounds from its cafes across the country and turning them into fuel.
Business Green 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Energy efficiency and renewable energy measures could soon be sporting a government-backed quality mark if the recommendations of a long-awaited sector review are adopted. The long-awaited Bonfield Review, released by the government on Friday, suggests a widely recognised quality mark would boost consumer confidence and protection in the energy efficiency marketplace. The government’s review of domestic energy efficiency and renewable energy standards was first launched last year in response to the controversial shake-up of green building policies, including the scrapping of the beleaguered Green Deal loan scheme. Chaired by Dr Peter Bonfield – chief executive of the BRE Group – the ‘Each Home Counts’ review set out to consider issues relating to consumer advice, protection, standards and enforcement in relation to home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the UK.
Business Green 19th Dec 2016 read more »
The Chinese government triggered a surprise boom in coal prices this year, delivering a surprise windfall to hard-up miners – now experts are warning that the reversal of the policy will lead to a drop in prices that is just as sharp. This year Beijing decreed that coalmines could operate only 276 days a year rather than 330 and the result was a spectacular rebound in prices, especially for coal used in steel-making, as the world’s biggest consumer turned to overseas markets. Prices had been falling for years after tougher environmental regulation, trouble in the steel industry and a glut and the slump drove Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coalminer, into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Times 19th Dec 2016 read more »