The UK will close all coal-fired power plants by 2025, the first major country to do so, but will fill the capacity gap largely with new gas and nuclear plants rather than cleaner alternatives. Rudd said she wanted policy to focus on making energy affordable and secure. The government wanted a “consumer-led, competition-focused energy system that has energy security at the heart of it”, she said, adding that the balance had swung too far in favour of climate change policies at the expense of keeping energy affordable. Rudd acknowledged that gas and nuclear power generation would in effect need a government subsidy for building power plants, but insisted they were the most secure energy sources. Several analysts, campaigners and the affected industries argue that slashing support for renewables is a backwards step when it comes to tackling climate change, growing green industry and saving consumers money in the longer term. Ed Davey published a series of questions for Rudd on Tuesday night, including asking how the UK would meet its legal obligations under the Climate Change Act under her new policies.
Guardian 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Amber Rudd today compounded the fantasy that surrounds UK energy policy by declaring that the future would depend on new gas fired and nuclear power stations without any realistic policies of delivering such objectives. Meanwhile her Government is stopping support for renewable energy and energy efficiency even though (or perhaps precisely because) they are being delivered in substantial volumes. New nuclear power, as discussed in previous blog posts are very unlikely to be deployed for the forseeable future, perhaps never. On the other hand the Government’s capacity mechanism will serve, at best, to be a very expensive way of delivering gas fired power stations. Hinkley C, as discussed earlier, seems only likely to be built in the context of the break up and bankruptcy of the French nuclear sector and EDF in particular (see earlier posts) which hardly makes this likely. The other supposed nuclear projects have no realistic chances of investors given the high risk that surrounds the costs of such projects.
Dave Toke’s Blog 18th Nov 2015 read more »
In the same breath as she ruled out future coal use Rudd poured cold water on the government’s previous support for renewables. Energy efficiency was given but a cursory mention. The future, she suggested, will be gas and nuclear; her administration has talked in the past about a huge fleet of new gas power plants. It’s hardly a clean energy revolution, there’s even precious little policy in place to make that happen. Experiments in carbon capture have faltered. Subsidies for new gas plants have failed to get them built. Even the government’s plans for a solitary new nuclear plant (to partially replace the closure of most of the UK’s fleet over the next decade) are mired in controversy and expense. It feels as if the UK is calling time on the old ways which it helped to invent — but this time it’s waiting for someone else to show it the future.
Energy Desk 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Amber Rudd has delivered an historic speech today (18 November), laying out a new direction for UK energy policy – including a target end-date for coal generation, plans for more gas-fired power plants and potential subsidy auctions for offshore wind. The UK’s energy policy “reset” has sparked a chain reaction across the renewable energy and sustainability industry, with major consequences expected across several sectors. Here at the key points from the speech and the subsequent reactions from the industry heavyweights. In short, this is everything YOU need to know…1) The plans to phase out coal by 2025 are just that – plans; 2) The UK’s coal use is already plummeting…3) Rudd has sent out a powerful message; 4) Gas is expected to pick up the slack; 5) Rudd’s ‘dash for gas’ is unpopular with some green groups; 6) Shale is still seemingly a priority; 7) … As is nuclear; 8) Renewables are still largely out in the cold (except for offshore wind); 9) Continued support for offshore wind, but “no blank cheques”; 10) Campaigners & the green energy industry are not impressed by the continuing marginalisation of renewables; 11) But climate change commitments haven’t changed; 12) Amber Rudd ultimately wants to remove Government intervention (i.e. subsidies) from the UK energy market.
Edie 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Paul Barwell, the Solar Trade Association’s (STA) CEO, said that replacing fossil with fossil makes little sense, stressing: “Phasing out coal power is of course good news and was expected. However, it makes little sense to replace fossil coal only with fossil gas.” Barwell added that both solar and gas require government subsidy support of similar levels, but stated that solar has the “bonus of zero carbon emissions, future price certainty and no dependency on imports from unstable countries”. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) said that the government’s “long-awaited policy reset” will fail to decarbonize the U.K.’s energy future in the most cost-effective way. A statement issued by the REA said that Rudd’s speech will do nothing to “reassure investors in the energy market and their confidence in the the government, and will do nothing to save industries such as solar, anaerobic digestion and biomass, which have been left reeling over successive damaging policy interventions.” Recent analysis of energy prices in the U.K. has found that solar PV can be competitively priced at £79 MWh, with gas coming in at between £65.72/MWh to build new generation. Solar costs are falling, and gas costs may rise.
Renew Economy 19th Nov 2015 read more »
Scottish Energy News 19th Nov 2015 read more »
The U.K. will phase out the dirtiest coal-fired power plants and spur both nuclear and natural gas as an alternative, part of a policy to balance reductions in carbon pollution with the need to protect consumers from rising costs. Coal plants that aren’t fitted with equipment to capture emissions will be closed by 2025, with restrictions in place by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said in a statement Wednesday. Gas and nuclear are both “central to our energy-secure future,” Rudd said in a speech in London, vowing also to support offshore wind installations. Rudd said nuclear “could provide up to 30 percent of the low-carbon electricity which we’re likely to need through the 2030s.” She also said it’s “imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built” in the next decade. “Switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port,” Simon Bullock, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement.
Bloomberg 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables: “It appears that the Secretary of State is bending over backwards to highlight the benefits of gas-fired and nuclear power, whilst overstating the challenges of increasing our renewable energy capacity. It is right that we get coal off the system but there is no mention of gas already being the UK’s main source of carbon emissions, the cost of nuclear power being significantly more expensive than onshore wind and solar, nor the challenges of managing large and inflexible nuclear power plants. With the promise of future support for gas, nuclear and offshore wind, it is totally unclear if there is any future for investment in onshore wind and solar, despite the fact that these are the cheapest forms of renewable power available. Both have the potential to make a significant contribution to future climate change targets while keeping bills down for consumers, but we will only secure deployment if they too can bid in for the long term contracts for clean power available to other technologies. “The Government’s commitment to innovation and research is right, particularly in the crucial area of energy storage, but again they focus on everything but renewables, and there is not even a mention of the huge potential of wave and tidal energy. “Lastly, heating accounts for 45% of the UK’s energy use and we have still to see any detail on how the Government believes it can best move us away from fossil fuels to renewables. With less than five months to go till the current funding of the Renewable Heat Incentive runs out, industry needs certainty so it can plan for the future and continue to deliver the change in the energy mix that Government wants to see.”
Scottish Energy News 19th Nov 2015 read more »
BBC 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Coal and renewable power firms have formed an unlikely alliance to criticise government plans to put gas and nuclear at the centre of UK energy supply. The energy secretary, Amber Rudd, has claimed she will reset UK policy and has promised to shut down polluting coal-fired power stations by 2025. Instead Rudd has thrown her weight behind gas, including that extracted from the controversial process of shale fracking, as the future of British power production. Rudd said on Wednesday that the government’s capacity market – a key plank of energy reform designed to ensure security of supply, and without which, she said, the UK could be importing 75% of it s gas by 2030 – should be calibrated to support new gas stations that have struggled to find financing. The fracking firm iGas Energy celebrated Rudd’s blueprint for UK energy reform: “We welcome today’s announcement that gas, of which 50% of our usage is currently imported, is central to our energy secure future as we transition to a lower carbon environment.” But while gas producers celebrated, the offshore wind industry was told it would have to cut costs to win auctions for contracts that guarantee a minimum price for the energy they sell. The government has already cut support for new solar and onshore wind, which Rudd said was aimed at bringing down costs for consumers. However, Dale Vince, the boss of the green energy provider Ecotricity, said Rudd’s stance on renewables was inconsistent with concerns about cost. Vince said: “You have to pinch yourself when the government announces plans for another new subsidy for the fossil fuel industry – t his time for gas-fired power stations – because they so recently said that renewable energy should stand on its own two feet.
Guardian 18th Nov 2015 read more »
The UK’s new energy policy, sketched out on Wednesday by Amber Rudd, will keep the lights on. That’s the good news. But it makes meeting the UK’s carbon emissions targets harder and will cost energy bill payers more. This is the result of the many contradictions it contains. Energy bills must be “as low as possible”, Rudd says, but the government is turning its back on the cheapest clean options: energy efficiency, onshore wind and solar power. Coal must be phased out but only to be replaced by gas, another fossil fuel which itself must be largely phased out within 15 years. All energy technologies must compete in a market – unless it is nuclear power. Since May, the UK’s energy policy has consisted solely of a concerted attack on renewable energy and green measures and huge subsidies for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. There is another way, a system dominated by renewables and ef ficiency, and Rudd herself set it out: “Some argue we should adapt our traditional model dominated by large power stations and go for a new, decentralised, flexible approach. Locally-generated energy supported by storage, interconnection and demand response, offers the possibility of a radically different model.” Then she said: “It is not necessarily the job of government to choose one of these models.” But by backing nuclear at any price and a dash for gas, she has already chosen. Just days before the Paris climate summit aims to accelerate towards the clean energy system of the next century, the UK is harking back to the energy system of the last.
Guardian 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Ms Rudd has proposed subsidising gas through the “capacity market auction”, which grants payments to companies to build back-up power. Officials will have to work out how to do so while meeting the EU demand that they should not favour one type of generation over another. Some warn, however, that subsidies will have to be particularly high to make up for the uncertainty that the government has created by unexpectedly cutting renewables subsidies. Paul Ekins, professor at the UCL Inst itute for Sustainable Resources, said: “Who will invest in the new gas-fired power stations the government wants to replace coal, after its U-turns on renewables have left so many investors who believed past government policy out of pocket?” While promising to build up gas-fired capacity, Ms Rudd said she remained committed to the UK’s carbon targets, and would therefore also hand subsidies to offshore wind power.
FT 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Scotland’s last remaining coal-fired power station, Longannet in Fife, is to close on 31 March next year. However, plans to build a new gas-fired plant to replace the decommissioned Cockenzie power station have been scrapped due to high grid connection charges for facilities north of the border. “The UK Government has recognised belatedly that its policies have weakened energy security and pushed up bills,” said Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing. “But today Amber Rudd has missed an opportunity to put in place new plans to address the gaps in UK energy policy, with few if any new actual incentives to drive energy generation. “Ms Rudd fails to point out that higher transmission charges in Scotland mean effectively that no new gas power stations would be built here because the costs of using the grid are higher than England. This regime which discriminates against Scottish generators affects all generators, and means that Scotland cannot attract new thermal generation when in competition with alternative sites in England.” He added: “There is further bad news for Scotland’s renewables industry, with no support for the cheapest renewable technologies, such as onshore wind, and a further year’s delay to awarding contracts to new renewables capacity, which is particularly concerning for projects on Scottish islands and Scottish offshore wind developments.”
Scotsman 19th Nov 2015 read more »
Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, accused her of living in a “fantasy world” where nuclear is affordable and fracking produces useful amounts of gas. He also dismissed the plan as “little more than a reheated version of Margaret Thatcher’s energy policy”. “Aiming to close down coal power stations is commendable but planning to replace them with a new fleet of gas-fired power stations will automatically lock us into a high-carbon power system, guaranteeing we won’t meet UK climate targets,” he added.
Press and Journal 18th Nov 2015 read more »
The UK government has promised to ditch coal within the next decade. But does this mean more gas? It could do. That’s definitely what the UK’s energy and climate change secretary seems to have in mind. Her speech mentioned gas 23 times and called for a new generation of gas fired power stations to help plug the gap. That’s partly why she also advocated continuing the somewhat delayed search for shale in the UK. But she also suggested it’s not the only possible solution: “Some argue we should adapt our traditional model dominated by large power stations and go for a new, decentralised, flexible approach. “Locally-generated energy supported by storage, interconnection and demand response, offers the possibility of a radically different model.” It’s a model that could use much less gas (from fracking or otherwise) so what would it look like? Right now nearly 30% of our power comes from coal with around 20% from renewable sources. But if the government is to meet its targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions then its independent climate advisers say that, within 15 years, 44-55% of the country’s power should come from renewables sources like wind, solar and hydro. Not all of that would be on stream by 2025 – when coal must finally be phased out – but it would reasonable to assume that the fall in coal generation covered by the rise in renewables generation. That means lots more offshore wind – the kind of big energy infrastructure trumpeted by the UK government – but it also means around 5 times more onshore wind and solar than we had last year. And it’s not just about generating power renewably. A study by the National Grid found that biogas produced from waste materials could meet between 5 -18% of the UK’s existing gas needs by 2020 That’s small and decentralised – but not something the government currently has in mind. The smallest, most decentralised of changes to our energy system comes when someone changes how they use power or heating in their home. In the UK – efficiency could reduce power demand by around a third according to consultants McKinsey – reducing the need for new gas or coal plants substantially. A study by Cambridge Econometrics based on scenarios from the government’s independent climate advisers suggested UK gas imports would end up 45% lower (worth about £8bn a year) by 2030 if the government pushed for a 65% renewable energy target by 2030 (about double the likely deployment by 2020). Bringing it all together, a study by the National Grid found that if the UK takes steps to invest in clean energy and improve efficiency – in line with our legal commitments on tackling climate change – gas use will fall by over 40% by 2030 under their ‘gone green’ scenario. Over the long term – by 2050 – the UK government’s climate advisers have recommended that both power and heating are gas free.
Energydesk 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Amber Rudd’s “new model” for the UK’s energy market looks very like the old model. It is a mix of the legally necessary, the uncertain and the expensive. At least it was served with an amusing garnish – the idea that government will one day be able to step back and let market forces supply the nation’s energy needs. Pull the other one. In the age of nuclear, renewables and internationally binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, energy infrastructure only gets built when the government agrees subsidies and sets economic incentives. Energy secretaries will be in the “reset” game for years. Hinkley Point in Somerset, as everybody knows by now, will be the most expensive power station built anywhere in the world, with its output priced at twice the current wholesale price and linked to inflation for 35 years. One fears Hinkley has set a benchmark for the financing of all the other new nuclear power stations Rudd envisages. If her line about being “tough on subsidies” applies to nuclear, and not just renewables, it will be astonishing.
Guardian 18th Nov 2015 read more »
COUNTY development chiefs say Cumbria’s roads infrastructure must benefit from a proposed multi-billion pound nuclear power station.
NW Evening Mail 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Radiation has been found for the first time in mussel beds off Dalgety Bay beach. Routine monitoring carried out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Food Standards Scotland at the weekend found the contamination. In addition, more radioactive particles were again found on the beach, which has suffered from contamination for more than 25 years. The radiation comes from Second World War aircraft broken up and dumped on the area. Dr Paul Dale, SEPA’s principal policy officer with the radioactive substances team, said the latest find showed the importance of the public adhering to safety warnings, staying off the demarcated area of beach and not picking up any items from the beach. “We do not believe that at this stage any further actions are required,” he said. There is already a ban on removing any seafood from the Dalgety Bay area. Because of this the FSS did not consider this find presented a food safety risk, according to its scientific adviser Dr Will Munro
Dundee Courier 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Herald 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Public participation in radioactive waste management (RWM) constitutes the first project of the Energy – Transparency Centre of Knowledge (E-TRACK). Given the legally binding requirements for transparency of the Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM on spent fuel and radioactive waste, the European Commission considers it useful to provide steady and continuous support in the very near future.
European Commission 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Forsmark is the best site for Sweden to dispose of used nuclear fuel, said the country’s safety regulator, endorsing the site selection process which was based on volunteering municipalities. Home already to a nuclear power plant and a disposal site for intermediate-level radioactive waste, Forsmark was put forward by local leaders as a candidate for the underground disposal facility in 2002. The selection process included several other candidate sites and Forsmark, which enjoyed 77% local support, was finally chosen in 2009. On behalf of the power companies that own used reactor fuel, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (Svensk Kärnbränslehantering, SKB) submitted its application to build there in 2011 and this approval process is on-going. Today Ansi Gerhardsson of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten, SSM) said, “Our preliminary assessment is that the site selection process, based on its preconditions vis-à-vis volunteering municipalities, has culminated in the most suitable site for a repository of the type planned by SKB.”
World Nuclear News 18th Nov 2015 read more »
The eight largest nuclear plant operators in Europe were faced with €100 billion (£70bn) of debt for nuclear clean-ups last year. The figure accounts for 22% of their total debt, according to financial services firm Standard & Poor’s report. It adds European utilities are setting aside “large sums to cover the costs of decommissioning nuclear power plants and disposing of nuclear fuel waste in the next two decades”. International and national regulations require nuclear operators to provision for these future costs. However the report states the accelerated nuclear phase-out in Germany has sparked fears the provisions might not cover the costs. There are concerns as to whether companies have the financial flexibility to cope with potential changes in the valuation of these provisions in the coming years, it claims.
Energy Live News 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Let there be no doubt: If the radical jihadists responsible for the latest assault on innocents in Paris get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they will not hesitate to use them. There is no limit to the horrible acts terrorists will carry out in pursuit of their ideological agenda. The best way to stop a WMD attack is to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials in the first place.
Politico 17th Nov 2015 read more »
The UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is seeking partners for a project investigating the feasibility of deploying small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the UK. The purpose of the project is to identify what activities need to take place in the next five years to enable deployment of SMRs. ETI says it will invest up to £300 000 in the six-month project, which will exclude consideration of technology selection, cost estimates or the identification of funding to support such a programme.
Modern Power Systems 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Enel, the Italian utility, is doubling down on renewable energy after clinching a long-awaited deal to buy out minority shareholders in its publicly listed green power unit. The announcement about Enel Green Power came as the company lowered its earnings target for the next two years but stuck with its dividend forecast. Enel has led the way among the largest European utilities in investing in renewable energy. The group has also led the corporate charge for a climate deal in Paris next month,
FT 18th Nov 2015 read more »
The European Commission will call on Hungary to suspend preparations to expand its Paks nuclear power plant with two new blocks in a deal awarded to Russia’s Rosatom, local daily Nepszabadsag reported on its website citing an unnamed source. The paper said Janos Lazar, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, has confirmed suspension of the 12.5 billion euro construction-and-finance deal to build the new nuclear capacity at Hungary’s only nuclear power plant. However, Lazar was quoted as saying that Hungary had not yet received formal notification of the decision. Nepszabadsag said the Commission took issue with Hungary flouting public procurement rules when awarding the deal to Rosatom without a tender.
Reuters 18th Nov 2015 read more »
The European Commission is reportedly threatening to suspend Hungary’s Russian-backed €12.5bn project to expand the Paks nuclear plant because Budapest has infringed public procurement rules. While officials in Budapest confirmed Brussels is unhappy with the deal, they insisted on November 18 that it has followed all rules and that they have not yet received any official notice from the EU.
Intellinews 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Labour’s divide over nuclear weapons is to be exposed once again after the SNP said it would force a Commons vote on whether to scrap Trident. Jeremy Corbyn, who wants to ditch the weapon-carrying submarines, is at odds with many of his Shadow Cabinet, who think the weapons system should be retained in a dangerous world. The party courted controversy last night when it was revealed former London mayor and Corbyn ally Ken Livingstone, avowedly anti-nuclear, would co-chair a review into the party’s position on Trident.
Huffington Post 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Renewables – US
A report from the investment bank Lazard, which examines the levelized costs of the various energy technologies says wind and solar are not only beating nuclear–as would be expected–but also coal and even natural gas. Remember that next time you read about some utility exec (or uninformed journalist) complaining that nuclear reactors are closing because of competition from low-priced gas. Sure, the ready availability of gas right now due to large-scale fracking means there is ample supply at low cost–but the real competition on the price end from here to eternity, what the nuclear utilities know lies ahead for them, is that nuclear REALLY can’t compete with renewables. In fact, according to Lazard, wind and solar are now less than half the price of new nuclear. “And the curve is still heading down” for renewables, “while nuclear is the only technology to show a significant increase.” At the same time, Lazard issued a second report, which concludes that energy storage technologies are now at an “inflection point.” The bank found that storage is already competitive, without subsidies, for some applications, such as grid stability. But the report also states that storage costs will continue to drop dramatically over the next five years, meaning that other applications for storage will become cost-competitive as well, and quickly. Still, the bank states that we’re not yet at the point where storage can economically meet the “transformational scenarios envisioned by renewable energy advocates.”
Green World 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Renewables – Offshore Wind
The government has threatened to halt subsidies for new offshore wind farms over the next four years unless the industry can slash the cost of new projects. Announcing details of the government’s energy policy “reset” this morning, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said her department would run three auctions over the course of this parliament that would allow low carbon technologies to compete for price support contracts. However, she warned there would be “no more blank cheques” for offshore wind farms, and that future auctions would depend on developers cutting costs. “Further support will be strictly conditional on the cost reductions we have seen already accelerating. The technology needs to move quickly to cost competitiveness,” she said. “The industry tells us they can meet that challenge and we will hold them to it. If they don’t there will be no subsidy.” BusinessGreen understands offshore wind farms will have to prove they are on a pathway to win contracts with a strike price of £92.50 per MWh in 2020, which is the same price the government has promised the developers of Hinkley Point C when it comes online in the mid-2020s. Practically this means offshore wind will be cheaper than new nuclear as Hinkley Point has been offered a 35-year contract while offshore wind farms are offered 15-year contracts. However, it remains unclear what target the government will set for the next auction, which Rudd said today will be held by the end of 2016. It is also uncertain how many projects the government will be able to support through the three planned auctions given it has previously warned the budget for clean energy subsidies is under intense pressure. Despite Rudd’s speech being broadly critical of the cost of renewable energy, arguing that the previous government handed out subsidies that did not represent good value for money, it did contain a modicum of good news for the solar power industry and distributed energy sector. The speech appears to have quietly upgraded the government’s forecast for solar capacity to 12GW by 2020. Earlier this month, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom predicted less than 10GW would be installed by the end of the decade.
Business Green 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Energy secretary Amber Rudd has confirmed the next contracts for difference (CfD) auction will take place by the end of 2016, paving the way for up to 10GW additional offshore wind. As part of her energy policy ‘reset’ announced today, Rudd said the support will be “strictly conditional on the delivery of the cost reductions we have seen already accelerating”. “If that happens we could support up to 10GW of additional offshore wind in the 2020s,” she added. “We have already seen the cost of solar come down by 35 per cent in the last 3 years.”
Utility Week 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Commenting on the ‘no more subsidies for offshore wind’ policy announcement by the UK Energy Minister, Renewable UK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said: “Industry has been looking for clear signals from Government on energy policy to enable the long-term investment in the clean energy infrastructure this country desperately needs. “Onshore wind has already achieved the kind of cost reductions needed to be competitive and is now one of the cheapest sources of home-grown power in the UK. If we want to cut emissions and keep bills low, Government needs to show that it won’t stand in the way of subsidy free forms of power, like onshore wind, being able to access our energy market and compete head-to-head with options like nuclear and gas.” Keith Anderson, Scottish Power Chief Corporate Officer, said: “We welcome the Government’s renewed commitment to offshore wind, and as a leader in bringing down its costs we accept the Government’s challenge to continue to improve value for money. “We have long argued that new gas generation is critical for our supply security and call on the Government to address the various hidden subsidies that are distorting the capacity auctions and favouring dirtier and less efficient options.”
Scottish Energy News 19th Nov 2015 read more »
Scottish Power Renewables has submitted plans for East Anglia-3, a new 1,200 megawatt (MW) wind farm to be located off the coast of Suffolk. The East Anglia-3 development will require up to 172 wind turbines, and covers an area of 305km2 in the southern North Sea. Once completed, the wind farm could power the annual electricity demands of more than 850,000 homes. The planning application will be considered by the National Infrastructure team within the Planning Inspectorate. If approved, it is anticipated that onshore construction could begin in 2021, with offshore work starting in 2022 and first power generation achieved in 2023.
Scottish Energy News 19th Nov 2015 read more »
Wind and solar farms will be forced to pay for the extra costs they impose on the UK’s electricity system as a result of their intermittent nature, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary has announced. Renewable generators will be held “responsible for the pressures they add to the system when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine”, she said, under new plans being drawn up by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. In a long-awaited policy “reset” speech, Ms Rudd also unveiled plans to offer billions of pounds of new subsidies for offshore wind farms, potentially doubling the UK’s offshore wind capacity with a further 10 gigawatts in the 2020s, on top of 10GW expected by 2020. However, she said that offshore wind remained “too expensive” and that the cash would be strictly conditional on deep cost reductions.
Telegraph 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Addressing the future of National Grid, Ms Rudd said that there was a “strong case for greater independence for the system operator. We will work with National Grid, Ofgem and others to consider how to reform the current system operator model to make it more flexible and independent.” As well as building and operating the country’s high-voltage electricity wires and gas pipeline network, National Grid acts as the control centre for the nation’s power system.
Times 19th Nov 2015 read more »
National Grid could be broken up, under Government plans to hand the company’s role managing the UK energy system to a new independent body. Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, said she believed there was a “strong case for greater independence for the system operator” in order to cope with the changing power system in as “productive, secure and cost-effective” a way as possible. The comments follow concerns raised by other energy industry players about potential conflicts of interest between National Grid’s high-profile role balancing supply and demand on UK gas and electricity networks, and other strands of its business, especially developing interconnector cables to trade power abroad. Peter Atherton, analyst at Jefferies, said other utilities were unhappy about National Grid as system opera tor offering advice to the Government on keeping the lights on, such as advocating more interconnectors, while another part of the company stood to profit from building them.
Telegraph 18th Nov 2015 read more »
As Amber Rudd announces a push for a new fleet of gas-fired power stations, Green MP Caroline Lucas and the UK’s Green MEPs have written to the Energy Secretary to voice deep concerns at the potential impacts fracking for gas will have on communities and the environment. In the letter, concerns are expressed about the fact that issues identified as high risk to people and the environment have been completely ignored. The Green representatives are also concerned insufficient consideration has been given to the potential impacts of fracking on nationally and internationally protected sites. They say they agree with the findings of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee that the precautionary principle should be applied.
Molly Scott Cato 18th Nov 2015 read more »
Major marches which had been planned to coincide with the COP21 international climate talks in Paris will not be authorised for security reasons, the French government has said.
Guardian 18th Nov 2015 read more »