The U.K. government has agreed that the guaranteed fixed price for electricity from a new nuclear power plant that Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) wants to build would be fully linked to inflation, said people familiar with the matter, a move that would add tens of billions of pounds to the total cost of electricity from the reactors. The agreement to inflation-link the electricity price EDF would receive–known as the strike price–for 35 years substantially eases the financial risks for the French utility for constructing two nuclear reactors, but there is still no deal on the actual price.
Wall St Journal 18th June 2013 read more »
The agreement links the strike price, which amounts to an indirect subsidy for nuclear power, to an inflation measure called the consumer price index, one of the people said. This would dramatically increase the costs to taxpayers, said Roland Vetter, head of research at CF Partners, an environment and energy advisory, trading and investment firm. According to Mr. Vetter’s calculations, a strike price of around GBP95 per megawatt hour that was linked to inflation would yield accumulated revenues to EDF of around GBP143.5 billion over the 35 years of the contract, compared with GBP85.75 billion if the contract weren’t linked to inflation.
4 Traders 18th June 2013 read more »
The UK government is considering linking the guaranteed price for electricity from new nuclear plants to inflation to sweeten a deal with France’s EDF , a senior industry source said.
Reuters 18th June 2013 read more »
The news that the UK Government has apparently agreed yet another wheelbarrow-full of money in underwriting to get the one remaining near-term nuclear power plant prospect off the ground might come as no surprise, but raises quite a few questions nevertheless. DECC has, it seems, decided to ‘index’ whatever ‘strike price’ is agreed with EDF for the output of its proposed Hinkley C power station. We don’t know what ‘strike price’ will eventually be negotiated with EDF as a baseline for its power, but indexing, as Ronald Vetter, of CF partners points out will increase the amount of our collective cheque to EDF for its power considerably. If this is going to be standard for nuclear (I assume that any other parties coming for a strike price negotiation, if they do, will want the same), then why should large offshore wind generation not have the same facility afforded to it? On the assumption that there will be a levy control framework in place at the time nuclear comes on stream with this new arrangement, how will everyone else’s CfDs be managed? If Hinkley C were to come on stream in 2018 (as was originally planned) then, by 2020-21, it would already have eaten up a lot of the money earmarked for new entrants, through the effect of its indexing. This would leave less in the coffers than potential entrants might be expecting, thereby making their plans to enter the market at that point very uncertain. The Levy Control mechanism only works if we know the total of existing forward commitments in relation to new money, and, importantly, that IT STAYS THE SAME.
Alan Whitehead 18th May 2013 read more »
Bryony Worthington: Over the next few months, the bill will come under heavy scrutiny in Lords Committee, during which time more detail on the new market arrangements should emerge. Not least, information of on-going negotiations with EDF Energy, whose desire to build new nuclear reactors in the UK was the original impetus for the legislation. New nuclear is necessary and Labour supports the project – but not at any price. Had we started out on this round of energy reform focused on how best to keep electricity affordable while addressing its environmental impacts, we would be working on a very different bill. One with clarity of purpose and a strong regulatory framework to protect consumers, with market forces then harnessed to dictate the solutions through increased competition.
Guardian 18th June 2013 read more »
Yes, the energy bill has at last left the House of Commons. But don’t be fooled – arguments over how the UK will attract £110 billion of new investment while meeting its emissions reduction targets aren’t settled yet. MPs dissected the bill over two days of noisy debate last week, rejecting most of the proposed amendments. But the key disputes are set to emerge again in House of Lords as the bill enters its next stage. A panel of policy experts including Energy Secretary Ed Davey gathered at a Green Alliance event yesterday afternoon to discuss the state of the energy bill. From the discussion, it’s clear there’s still much the Lords need to resolve. Worthington said the bill had “started from the wrong place”, with the government pursuing a nuclear deal rather than focussing resources on ironing out the detail of energy demand response. Nick Eyre, senior research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, said the government’s endeavours meant demand side measures had some “catching up to do”.
Carbon Brief 18th June 2013 read more »
Carbon Brief on House of Lords Energy Bill reading.
Storify 19th June 2013 read more »
Work has begun on two collaborative research programs to develop new forging and casting techniques for nuclear components, while UK manufacturers are invited to apply for funding to help them compete in the nuclear industry.
World Nuclear News 18th June 2013 read more »
MANUFACTURING companies in Yorkshire can now apply to join a new support programme to help them compete for work in the civil nuclear industry. The £76m civil nuclear Sharing in Growth scheme aims to develop the UK manufacturing supply chain and help UK companies win work in nuclear programmes – including new build, operations and decommissioning – at home and overseas.
Business Desk 18th JUne 2013 read more »
We can’t say we haven’t been warned. In a speech delivered earlier this year, Alistair Buchanan, the outgoing chief executive of Ofgem, reminded us that the lights will go out in Britain unless we act now to replace our ageing power infrastructure. In three years time, the reserve margin — or the headroom in our power capacity at peak times — will fall from 14 per cent to 5 per cent, a level he describes as “uncomfortably tight.” What this means practically is that, for the first time in four decades, we will no longer be able to rely on the power supply required to keep the wheels turning in British businesses. Clean energy infrastructure assets such as wind farms, solar parks and biomass plants can provide a security of supply that no fossil fuel equivalent can offer. This makes them attractive not only to governments but to institutional investors seeking visible and consistent returns over a long period of time. So which technology will solve the problem and offer the best returns for investors? In reality, our problems will not be solved with any one technology or fuel because our country requires a balanced portfolio to de-risk its energy infrastructure. Nuclear has a major role to play, but plants will take many years to build. Gas, meanwhile, is inherently risky, given the lack of security of our supply. Speculators may be wooed by the fashionable opportunities in shale, although it is far too early to say what contribution it will make. Only clean energy infrastructure assets give investors true, long term visibility over their input costs — virtually nil — and therefore provide both wealth protection and predictable rates of return.
Times 19th June 2013 read more »
Confusion, secrecy and buck-passing about anti-radiation pills meant to protect tens of thousands against cancers after big nuclear accidents have raised serious questions about Scotland’s plans for keeping its population safe. Councillors are warning that there may not be sufficient pills available in time, putting people in danger of being poisoned by enough radioactivity to give them thyroid cancer. Young children are the most at risk.
Rob Edwards 18th June 2013 read more »
The ENSREG Conference on Nuclear Safety 2013 in Brussels brought together almost 350 people including national regulators, NGO’s, licensees, utilities and academics who took part in discussion sessions during the event. This 2-day event (11-12 June) gave the opportunity to give an overview of main initiatives / actions carried out by ENSREG and to discuss forthcoming challenges. The Conference was opened by Andrej Stritar, President of the Conference and Director Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration. The opening address by Gunther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy called for more cooperation between countries and noted that regulators needed to gain public confidence that agreements are implemented fairly.
ONR 13th June 2013 read more »
The EU’s flagship climate change scheme risks falling apart without radical overhaul. If the Cap Fits, says that the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is currently too weak, which could lead to a surge in new coal generation. It will also fail to meet the European Union’s own carbon reduction objectives. The paper argues that a more ambitious cap on Europe’s emissions is essential. It calls for extending the ETS cap out to 2035 to provide investors with greater long term clarity. The EU should at the same time extend its carbon emissions reduction target from 40% by 2030 to 55% by 2035. Current plans would only achieve a 70% cut in emissions by 2050, far less than the 80-95% level of ambition set out in the 2050 Roadmap.
Policy Exchange 19th June 2013 read more »
Two ships carrying uranium-plutonium oxide fuel for the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, will arrive on June 27 — the first batch of MOX to be sent to Japan since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011.The controversial fuel is destined for reactor 3 at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant. But with the reactors still idle and stricter safety regulations taking effect next month, it’s unclear how long the fuel might sit in storage. The Nuclear Regulation Authority still has to clear the plant before it can be restarted.
Menafn 18th June 2013 read more »
Fukushima Crisis Update 14th to 17th June.
Greenpeace 18th June 2013 read more »
Across Japan, technology companies and private investors are racing to install devices that until recently they had little interest in: solar panels. Massive solar parks are popping up as part of a rapid build-up that one developer likened to an “explosion.” The boom was sparked by a little-noted government policy, implemented nearly a year ago, that guaranteed generous payments to anybody selling renewable energy, including solar power. Because of that policy, known as a feed-in tariff, investors and analysts say Japan has become one of the world’s fastest-growing users of solar energy. This year alone, Japan is forecasted to install solar panels with the capacity of five to seven modern nuclear reactors. This year, Japan’s total solar capacity – 7.4GW at the end of 2012 – is set to roughly double, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a recent report. Such growth would make Japan the second-fastest growing solar market behind China and leave it only behind Germany and Italy as measured by total installed capacity.
Guardian 18th June 2013 read more »
Belgium’s nuclear electricity producer Electrabel, subsidiary of French energy giant GDF Suez, has submitted a fresh appeal to the Belgian Constitutional Court challenging the Government’s controversial nuclear tax, which was almost doubled to EUR550m (USD596m) last year.
Low Tax 19th June 2013 read more »
Iran’s outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met his successor Hassan Rowhani for the first time since voters embraced the moderate in Sunday’s election, a result that raised hopes of rapprochement between Tehran and the West.
Telegraph 18th June 2013 read more »
President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday he will pursue a new reduction in deployed nuclear weapons, aiming to cut them by up to one third below the level achieved in the last “New START” treaty with Russia, a senior administration official said.
Reuters 19th June 2013 read more »
Google’s innovation unit Google X is working on a green energy project which its top executive Astro Teller believes could “have an important part to play in the future of the world energy production”. The alternative wind turbine project, which Google executives are still fine tuning, is likely to be one of the next projects coming out of the Google X, which Teller described as a “moonshot factory” of “Peter Pans with PhDs all kind of running amok”. The latest “moonshot” innovation from Google X follows hot on the heels of Google’s Project Loon, its experimentation with solar-panelled balloons to bring Wi-Fi to remote regions of Africa and the Asia Pacific. Google Glass also emanated from Google X. Google is working with Makani Power, the Californian start-up wind-power company it recently acquired, on the project, which uses complicated robotics to generate electricity.
Guardian 18th June 2013 read more »
The green credentials of biofuel crops have been sullied in recent years. Rienk van Grondelle believes the answer to the world’s clean energy needs will be super-efficient algae.
Guardian 18th June 2013 read more »
HYDRO-ELECTRIC power developments worth £23 million are at risk if the UK government presses ahead with changes to its subsidy system, according to trade body Scottish Renewables. A backlog of applications for small-scale hydro schemes built up following the previous round of changes to the feed-in tariff – the amount of cash developers are paid for each unit of electricity they sell to the national grid. By the time these projects receive planning permission, they could be subject to a new tariff, which will be “considerably lower” than current levels due to the high level of applications this year, the trade body said. The industry wants the planned cuts – which could be as much as 20 per cent from April 2014 – to be delayed so that the high number projects caught up in the planning system does not disproportionately affect support for future schemes.
Scotsman 19th June 2013 read more »
Highland councillors have decided to raise no objection to a proposal to construct up to 277 wind turbines off the Caithness coast in the Moray Firth. The Scottish government, which has the final say in the scheme, sought Highland Council’s views on the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project.
BBC 18th June 2013 read more »
Leaders at the G8 Summit have reiterated their commitment to delivering bold action to tackle climate change, acknowledging they have “grave concern” about the failure to deliver sufficiently deep emission cuts and the economic and security risks that result from climate impacts.
Business Green 18th June 2013 read more »