Installing energy efficiency could be £12 billion cheaper than the construction of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power plant. The cost of implementing energy efficiency measures is estimated to be less than £6 billion, while the construction of the new nuclear plant Hinkley Point C is expected to cost around £18 billion. Utilitywise has called this cost an “unnecessary expense” and highlighted the opportunities to reduce energy consumption through efficiency. The company’s strategy and innovation director Jon Ferris said: “Consumers are increasingly looking at energy efficiency to reduce the impact of levies that are contributing more and more to the cost of electricity consumption. “Not only can individual businesses make significant financial savings, but the UK could offset more than the expected output from Hinkley Point C by taking all the opportunities to save energy,” he said. The consulting firm which carried out audits for around 200 UK businesses as part of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) found that more efficient lighting and heating improvements would reduce energy consumption by more than 460 GWh.
Edie 1st August 2016 read more »
By plowing some of the money earmarked for Hinkley into offshore wind farms, capacity could be quadrupled by 2030, bringing costs down faster and making the technology more competitive against other energy sources, said Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Combined with measures to boost energy efficiency, that could bridge much of the gap created by the loss of Britain’s first nuclear power plant since the 1990s, he said. Britain would need 19 gigawatts of gas-fired stations to be built during the 2020s, equivalent to about six Hinkley Points, if the U.K. constructs no new nuclear stations until the 2030s, according to one scenario modeled by National Grid Plc, the company that runs the country’s power network. Ministers were last month urged by their advisers at the Committee on Climate Change to draw up a contingency plan in case Hinkley was delayed or canceled. The CCC suggested a mix of tidal lagoon power and the further expansion of offshore wind, complemented by increased interconnection with other countries and energy storage.
Bloomberg 1st Aug 2016 read more »
The head of EDF gave his fellow board members only two days to read 2,500 pages of contracts before agreeing to proceed with the Hinkley Point nuclear power project last week, according to officials within the company. Jean-Bernard Lévy was so keen to see the £18bn power plant approved that he allowed the board 48 hours to read through the proposed agreement — written in English — between the company and its investment partners, the officials said. The sudden uncertainty in London is fuelling discontent among many senior officials within EDF who have long opposed the scheme. They say they were leaned on to support it on the basis that the UK government was fully supportive. The claims will form a key part of the argument by the powerful French unions that they were not given enough time to consider the project before being made to vote on it. All six union representatives on the EDF board voted against the plan last week. They are now bringing a legal challenge against the company’s final investment decision, the first part of which will be heard this Tuesday. If the first claim is successful, the investment decision will be considered void until a second hearing on September 22. On that second occasion, the EDF works council will say they were not provided with important documents, such as the contracts with the British government, in enough time. Meanwhile, British ministers have said they expect a decision on the project to be made by the end of this month. Theresa May, the prime minister, will chair the first meeting of the new cabinet committee on business and industrial strategy on Tuesday morning. While ministers deliberate, people involved in the country’s wider nuclear power sector have warned this most recent delay imperils investments in future schemes, which Hinkley Point is meant to kick-start. Other new nuclear power stations are also being planned in Britain, including one backed by Hitachi at Wylfa, in Anglesey, and one backed by Toshiba and the French utility Engie at Moorside, in Cumbria.
FT 1st Aug 2016 read more »
China has issued a thinly veiled threat to Downing Street that cancelling the Hinkley Point nuclear plant project would jeopardise more than £100 billion of investment in Britain over the next decade. The Chinese foreign ministry urged Britain to ensure the “smooth implementation” of the project “as soon as possible” in its first response to Theresa May’s surprise decision to review plans to build the £18 billion reactor. The prime minister delayed final approval of the Somerset plant on Thursday night amid security concerns about the involvement of state-owned Chinese companies in Britain’s infrastructure. Hinkley and the nuclear sector are expected to be discussed today when Mrs May chairs the first meeting of a cabinet committee examining industrial strategy. Her stance is expected to prompt the resignation of Lord O’Neill of Gatley, the Treasury minister who champions Chinese investment. Sir Vince Cable, the former business secretary, said the statements from Beijing were a clear threat that hopes of major Chinese investment in the HS2 rail line and other projects “all become at risk if we put them in the wrong place on Hinkley and Bradwell”. Sir Vince said: “It’s very clear — don’t mess with us. They’re telling us Britain has now left the European Union and it needs all the friends it can get — you can’t afford to rub us up the wrong way.
Times 2nd August 2016 read more »
Nuclear conflicts usually create shocking casualties. So Britain should count itself lucky if the fallout from blowing up Hinkley Point C can be confined to Lord O’Neill of Gatley. Apparently, the commercial secretary to the Treasury could quit the government over Theresa May’s attitude to China: one exposed by her laudable decision to review the £18 billion Franco-Sino nuke, in which Beijing is poised to take a one-third stake. His lordship’s a bit miffed, what with having been brought into government by ex-chancellor George Osborne to drum up Chinese investment, and then having had the new PM’s Hinkley delay sprung on him. At last, Britain is bringing scrutiny to Chinese investment: a contrast to the David Cameron/George Osborne double act, which overrode security concerns to make Hinkley the forerunner to a Chinese-built nuclear plant at Bradwell. Lord O’Neill made up a triumvirate of China champions — and now he’s the only one left. Besides, he’s already threatened to quit. Last month he warned he’d be off if the new government went soft on the northern powerhouse, another of his main projects, even if no one really knows where or what it is. He sounds quite keen to go.
Times 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
The decision of the new British government to postpone a deal on a nuclear power station, to be built by France with major Chinese investment, has shocked both of those countries and is a potentially major step away from the policies of former Prime Minister David Cameron. The sudden choice of Prime Minister Theresa May not to sign the deal but to take until the autumn for further study, reportedly on security and economic grounds, has angered both Paris, which will be crucial to Britain’s future relations with the European Union after the country’s vote to leave the bloc, and Beijing, which Mr. Cameron had cultivated aggressively for investment and trade ties despite criticism that he was subordinating human rights and geopolitical concerns to commerce.
New York Times 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Tom Burke: I am finding it extremely difficult to think what could have caused such a massive dislocation, not just to our relations with other countries, as we have heard they are all going to be upset, but also to Mrs May’s own program of persuading us in this country that the economy was safe and secure, and that we really were still attractive to investment, that really was the highlight of that reassurance strategy, and that has gone out of the window. Mrs May was abroad when the decision to pull the plug on Hinkley was taken, nothing at this scale is normally done with the Prime minister being abroad without there being some new factor, something new and big that nobody knows about.
Tomburke 29th July 2016 read more »
Tom Burke: The government is now competing in the headlines with the opposition Labour party for possession of the word “chaos”. Government officials reserve default explanations and attempts at easy reassurance for occasions like this. To paraphrase the response of civil servants: “Nothing to worry about chaps, just a few ‘i’s to dot and ‘t’s to cross – the new boss just wants to take a look under the bonnet.” The plausibility of this line didn’t last long. Reports at the weekend informed us that Theresa May had actually warned Hollande about her doubts over dinner the previous week and confirmed them with a phone call on the Wednesday before the EDF Board meeting. There is a small clue, however, in the wording of Greg Clark’s statement. It contains an obscure reference to considering carefully “all the component parts of the project”. One component part of the deal for the Chinese financial contribution to Hinkley involved agreeing to allow China to build one of its own reactors at Bradwell in Essex. Accepting Chinese money is one thing, letting a Chinese company closely tied to the military know enough about your grid software to connect its reactor to the grid is another.
China Dialogue 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Theresa May has been warned by China not to risk driving away Chinese investors as the country’s official news agency questioned the British government’s delay in approving the controversial new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. Xinhua news agency said China understood and respected Britain’s requirement for more time to think about the deal, but it dismissed fears that China would put “backdoors” into the technology used on the project, that might present threats to UK national security. It said: “China can wait for a rational British government to make responsible decisions, but cannot tolerate any unwanted accusation against its sincere and benign willingness for win-win cooperation.”
Guardian 1st Aug 2016 read more »
China has urged the UK Government to approve the Hinkley Point nuclear plant “as soon as possible”, as state media warned that the country would not tolerate “unwanted accusations” about its investments in the UK.
Telegraph 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Mrs May was yesterday facing a mounting backlash both at home and abroad over her decision to delay approval of the nuclear plans, as it emerged that Lord O’Neill, a Treasury minister, could quit the Government over her stance on China. Mrs May’s official spokesman on Monday sought to ease diplomatic tensions over Hinkley, insisting that the UK would “continue to seek a strong relationship with China”. However, she also declined three times to say if Mrs May was specifically concerned about the national security implications of the Chinese investment in Hinkley Point.
Telegraph 1st May 2016 read more »
The decision to review the project, taken last week, was seen in some quarters as a response to security concerns about Chinese involvement in the sector. Mrs May’s chief of staff, Nick Timothy, has previously written that security experts fear the Chinese could “build weaknesses into computer systems which will allow them to shut down Britain’s energy production at will”.
Politics Home 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
China last night warned that its ‘golden era’ of co-operation with Britain could be over following the decision to delay plans for a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.
Daily Mail 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
In a statement sent to Reuters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said they had “noted” the decision. “I would like to stress that this project was agreed upon by China, Britain and France in the spirit of mutual benefit and cooperation, and win-win cooperation, and has always had the strong support of Britain and France,” Hua said. China “hopes that Britain can reach a decision as soon as possible, to ensure the project’s smooth implementation”, she added, without elaborating.
Reuters 1st Aug 2016 read more »
China on Monday called for Britain to proceed with a nuclear power plant project partly invested in by a Chinese firm, saying the project had firm support from London, after Britain’s new government said it would review it again.
Reuters 1st Aug 2016 read more »
British new cabinet’s decision to delay the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant program over “national security” concerns not only draws queries from the international community about its openness towards foreign investment, but also adds uncertainties to the “Golden Era” of China-UK ties. Giving green light to a 24-billion-U.S.-dollar project can never be an easy decision, and China fully understands and respects British government’s requirement for more time to ponder. However, what China cannot understand is the “suspicious approach” that comes from nowhere to Chinese investment in making the postponement.
China-Europe 1st Aug 2016 read more »
French utility EDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) agreed last year to make a series of investments in nuclear power generation in Britain. Hinkley C, which would be the first building of a nuclear plant in Britain for decades, has been thrown into doubt by a surprise decision by the British government to review the project, just hours after the board of EDF voted to proceed with it.
Reuters 1st Aug 2016 read more »
It would seem to be an overreaction to cancel this project on security grounds. Nuclear power plants – whoever owns them are inevitably going to be closely regulated and inspected by the British state.
Independent 1st Aug 2016 read more »
The average annual electricity bill in the UK stands at around £500. Of that £500, 50% (£250) represents the cost of the electricity purchased, the balance being made up of non-commodity costs (transportation, metering, environmental, operations, profit etc.). Hinkley Point C is expected to generate 7% of electricity demand and this 7% will cost twice the current market price. So all things being equal, compared to today’s prices, the impact on energy bills will be: [(£250 * 7%) * 2] + [(£250 * 93%) * 1] – £250 = £17.50 Actually that could just be written as (£250 * 7%) but we wanted to show the working. £17.50 does not sound like much but multiply that by 35 years and you get £612.50 over the life of the project.
Scottish Energy News 1st Aug 2016 read more »
“The crazy thing is the price,” said Juan Camilo Rodriguez, analyst at AlphaValue SA, in a phone interview. “You pay a really high price for a technology that hasn’t been tested yet,” referring to the EPR reactor design that’s under construction in Finland, France and China, but hasn’t yet been commissioned. Renewable energy, which last year delivered a quarter of the U.K.’s power demand, could be a cheaper option, according to a report by the National Audit Office last month. Danish utility Dong Energy A/S won a contract to deliver offshore wind power in the Netherlands at 72 euros a megawatt-hour ($80) for 15 years earlier this month, a deal that may be the cheapest in the world for the technology. While many condemn the economics of the projects, others point out that it’s so long-term it’s impossible to know the final outcome.
Bloomberg 29th July 2016 read more »
Vincent de Rivaz letter to EDF Energy Employees: Yesterday all the Hinkley Point C team was extremely proud to present the project to the Board of Directors of EDF. As you know, the Board approved the final investment decision. We are humbled by this decision. Following this decision, the conditions are met to allow EDF to sign the contracts with the British Government, EDF’s historic partner China General Nuclear Power Generation (CGN), and the main suppliers of the project. This is a hugely important milestone for the project, as it is for EDF Group and EDF Energy. It means that we are now ready. As you will know there are still some steps before these signings can take place. I want to speak directly with you about all of this. First I will set out why the decision was so important for the UK and for EDF Group and EDF Energy. I will acknowledge the work by the teams in the UK and France that has got us to this point. Then I will turn to the next steps and what more needs to happen. I will conclude by explaining how the project fits perfectly with the new Government’s vision of a country for the many, not for the few and with the Government’s vision of industrial strategy.
EDF Energy 30th July 2016 read more »
Speculation is mounting that concerns over China may be behind the UK government’s shock delay to the Hinkley point nuclear plant in Somerset. The BBC notes that “under the existing terms of the £18bn project, a Chinese company is to finance a third of the new Hinkley Point C reactors and may later build a Chinese-designed nuclear power station in Essex,” giving China direct access to the UK’s energy system. Indeed Theresa May has been accused of a “suspicious approach” to the Chinese for whom Hinkley is reportedly key to their long term nuclear strategy. A plan for a government share in Hinkley to protect national security – which seems to us a little odd – was apparently blocked by Osborne, well, according to Ed Davey anyway. Meanwhile a junior treasury minister nobody has ever heard of has threatened to resign over the hoopla. The whole thing opens the door for a very different looking deal to emerge in September, perhaps one with much greater state involvement and even a lower price? Or – as Matt Ridley argues (again) in the Times – perhaps it just opens the door to more gas and less of that “action on climate change” stuff.
Energydesk 1st Aug 2016 read more »
China will not tolerate “unwanted accusations” about its investments in Britain, a country that cannot risk driving away other Chinese investors as it looks for post-Brexit trade deals, China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Monday. British Prime Minister Theresa May was concerned about the security implications of a planned Chinese investment in the Hinkley Point nuclear plant and intervened to delay the project, a former colleague and a source said on Saturday. “If history offers any guide, many China-targeted suspicions have been boiled down to diffidence and distortion. China can wait for a rational British government to make responsible decisions, but can not tolerate any unwanted accusation against its sincere and benign willingness for win-win cooperation.”
Fortune 1st August 2016 read more »
Charles Moore: The really surprising thing about the Hinkley Point decision is not that Theresa May is taking time to think about it, but that people attack her for doing so. If you had just become Prime Minister, would you sign off on a key strategic British installation, supplied by French know-how and backed by Chinese money, without asking a few questions? Would you automatically feel you had to inherit David Cameron’s and George Osborne’s China-worship policy? Would you want to approve one of the biggest individual expenditures in our history without having a look at it?
Telegraph 31st July 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the decision of UK Energy Minister Greg Barker to review the contract with EDF Energy before committing to the development of a new nuclear reactor at the Hinkley Point site in Somerset. For NFLA this valuable, though short period of time, allows the UK Government some breathing space to rethink its wider policy on nuclear power.
Nuclear Free Local Authorities 1st Aug 2016 read more »
So what now for the beleaguered energy project? Is this review really just a chance to double check the finer details? Or could this be the start of a major shake up of the UK’s clean energy policy? BusinessGreen spoke to a range of experts to get their views on where next for Hinkley Point.
Business Green 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Controversial plans for a new 37-mile power line – swathes of which will cut through the North Somerset countryside – will be reviewed if plans for the new Hinkley C power station are scrapped. The Department for Energy and Climate Change approved plans by energy giant National Grid for the new overhead, 400,000 volt line between Bridgwater and Avonmouth in January. But uncertainty still surrounds whether the £18 billion Hinkley C power plant will go ahead after a Government decision to put the decision on hold until the autumn while a review of the scheme is carried out.
Bristol Post 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Confusion reigned over the future of Britain’s nuclear industry yesterday, with community leaders in Suffolk saying they would be seeking immediate meetings with EDF Energy to discuss the next stage for Sizewell C. There are fears the consultation will be delayed further while the Government makes a final decision on the Somerset project, but councils, campaign groups and residents in east Suffolk are hoping this will now take place quickly, revealing more of the detail of the £14billion project.
East Anglian Daily Times 31st July 2016 read more »
UK day-ahead power prices soared to more than a five-month high on Monday despite forecasts of high wind power generation, on market jitters due to an unexpected nuclear plant outage earlier in the day, sources said. At 12:36 am BST, a “failure” reduced the UK’s 504 MW Hinkley Point B nuclear unit 7 reactor 3 capacity to zero, operator EDF Energy said on its REMIT website. National Grid said the tripped unit is expected to return to the grid on August 7.
Platts 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Cumbria Trust is not involved in the fracking argument and Professor Smythe’s problem with the University of Glasgow actually stems from his opposition to fracking. However, without access to the scientific and academic library database at the university, Professor Smythe could not have informed the people of Cumbria, during the MRWS process in 2012/13, about the unsuitability of the geology for siting a nuclear disposal facility. “Internal emails dating back to July 2014, obtained by Smythe through a Subject Access Request filing and seen by DeSmog UK, confirm his online privileges were revoked following a long-running dispute between the university and Smythe concerning his use of the university name when discussing the impacts of shale gas extraction.” DeSmog UK has the full story and if, after reading it, you would like to support Professor Smythe, please write to the university court secretary David Newall and ask him to reinstate his legal right of access.
Cumbria Trust 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
CONTROVERSIAL proposals to store nuclear waste not produced at Berkeley power station at a store on the site have been approved by the county council. Gloucestershire County Council’s planning committee backed Magnox’s proposal but did not discuss the potential for connected community benefits despite requests. Stroud district councillor Penny Wride spoke before the committee considered the application to request that the local area received £1,000 per package transported to Berkeley as a way to appease local residents. Magnox has estimated that the change, which would mean a separate waste store does not have to be built at Oldbury Nuclear Power Station, would save the taxpayer £15million. About 130 waste packages will now be moved to Berkeley from Oldbury over the next two years, following the permission granted by the committee. Concerns had been raised by local residents and councillors about the change to a condition which stated that only waste produced at Berkeley power station would be stored there. Stroud District Council also objected to the change due to the potential environmental risks of transporting the packages between the two power stations.
South Gloucestershire Gazette 1st Aug 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) “manipulated” and “fudged” a tender process for a £7 billion contract to clean up nuclear plants in the country. That’s according to a ruling by the High Court after it reviewed the agency’s tender process to clean up 12 nuclear sites. The case was filed by company Energy Solutions after it lost a contract to clean the oldest nuclear plants in the UK after managing those sites for 14 years. It alleged the NDA did not follow its own procedures when the new contract was awarded and its point scoring system was flawed. Energy Solutions said it would claim £200 million from the nuclear authority in damages for the “incorrect decision”. The High Court ruling found the authority made “many manifest errors” in reviewing Energy Solutions’ bid.
Energy Live News 1st Aug 2016 read more »
The appointments of Nick Hurd as Climate Change and Industry Minister and Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe as Energy and Intellectual Property Minister are being widely welcomed as extremely good news for the green economy. Hurd has been engaged with climate change and environmental policy for over a decade, familiarising himself with the complexities of the green economy and consistently advocating for ambitious climate action. He has Ministerial experience at the Department for Communities and International Development, served on the Environment Audit Select Committee and on the House Of Commons Climate Change Bill Committee and the Joint Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, and sponsored the Sustainable Communities Act as a Private Members Bill. Outside of Parliament he is a supporter of the Conservative Environment Network and led work on climate change policy for the still influential Conservative Party Quality of Life Policy Group.
Business Green 1st August 2016 read more »
Electricity companies around the world will begin to go bankrupt by 2018, even while they generate profits. It sounds absurd doesn’t it? However, hear me out. By now everyone has read the headlines. “Tesla Powerwall changes everything, electricity death spiral, energy storage revolution, the Kodak moment for electricity etc.” This was the hype of 2015. In 2016, reality set in, many households realised a $A17,999 5kW SolarEdge system with a 7kWh Tesla Powerwall would take about 17 years to pay back. These were sobering figures considering most equipment warranties are only 10-12 years. However, in just 2 years this payback equation will be radically different. It will rock the very foundations of modern society, creating and destroying fortunes across the planet.
Renew Economy 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Russia’s state-controlled nuclear company says it’s ready to replace a nuclear reactor for Belarus’ first atomic plant after a construction accident. Rosatom’s deputy director, Alexander Lokshin, said Monday that construction workers preparing to install the reactor failed to strap it up properly. He said it slipped down slowly and touched the ground softly in the July 10 incident. Lokshin insisted the reactor wasn’t damaged, but added that Rosatom recognizes how sensitive the nuclear safety issue is for the Belarusian public and stands ready to replace it with another unit.
Fox News 1st Aug 2016 read more »
In June, the state of California — which has led the U.S. in putting electric cars on the road and switching to so-called clean electricity — took a decisive turn in its quest to move away from carbon–emitting fuels. An agreement between the large utility Pacific Gas and Electric and environmental and labor groups set a path for retiring the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, and thus, for a state in which “carbon free” will not include energy generated through the splitting of atoms. On Monday, though, New York — also a leader when it comes to greening power supplies — announced a very different route. The state’s Public Service Commission approved a Clean Energy Standard backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s backed Clean Energy Standard. It seeks to get New York to 50 percent renewable electricity by the year 2030 — while also retaining the six nuclear reactors that currently provide more 30 percent of the state’s electricity. (These reactors would not count as part of the renewable 50 percent.)
Washington Post 1st Aug 2016 read more »
New York officials approved a clean energy standard on Monday that requires half of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. The initiative, passed by the Public Service Commission, also includes a nuclear power incentive under which utilities will pay nearly $1 billion over two years to subsidize three of the state’s nuclear power plants.
The Hill 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Last year, Vancouver, British Columbia, officially adopted the goal of powering itself entirely with clean energy by 2050. That’s a bigger deal than it might sound. Plenty of North American cities have committed to getting all their electricity from clean sources within a few decades. But when it comes to decarbonization, electricity is the easy part. (Okay, maybe not easy, but easier.) Vancouver has resolved to get all its energy, not just electricity, from renewable sources. The city’s electricity is already 98 percent carbon-free anyway. It comes from hydroelectric dams, via the province’s primary utility, BC Hydro. So the big problems over the next 35 years will be eliminating natural gas for heating and gasoline for transportation, two of the thorniest decarbonization challenges.
Vox 26th July 2016 read more »
While China continues to hail the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) as the cornerstone of global non-proliferation regime, Beijing itself has violated the consensus arrived at the 2010 NPT review conference on supply of nuclear technology by transferring nuclear reactors to Pakistan. This observation on China’s supply of nuclear reactors to Pakistan, a country which is not under IAEA safeguards, comes from Arms Control Association, one of leading authorities on nuclear weapons and disarmament, in its latest report assessing progress on non-proliferation. China has blocked India’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) saying that participation of a non-NPT signatory in the group will weaken the international non-proliferation regime.
Times of India 31st July 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The Guardian reports on how the world’s first large-scale floating wind turbine in the US is facing multiple environmental and financial challenges whilst in the UK the Times reports on the struggle for Scotland’s largest offshore wind-farm to get planning permission noting: “Scotland’s attempt to be a world leader in renewable energy will collapse in the next seven days unless legal moves to save a £9 billion wind farm off the east coast go ahead, ministers were warned last night.” In a comment piece the paper argues that the Scottish offshore project and Hinkley both highlight how poor planning for major projects is threatening to derail UK energy policy.
Energydesk 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Scotland’s attempt to be a world leader in renewable energy will collapse in the next seven days unless legal moves to save a £9 billion wind farm off the east coast go ahead, ministers were warned last night. The scheme for four giant offshore operations with the potential to power 1.4 million homes has been eight years in the planning and is one of the largest in Britain. Despite winning government consent, it was unexpectedly rejected by a Scottish judge last month. Ministers have until the end of the week to challenge the decision as the deadline for lodging an appeal is August 8. Marine Scotland, which advises the government on coastal management, is “carefully considering” the judgment.
Times 1st August 2016 read more »
There are close parallels between the fate of Scotland’s biggest offshore wind project and the Hinkley Point nuclear plant in England. Both depend on the private sector yet need government support and both are now in abeyance because of government decisions. The Firth of Forth wind farms needed approval from the Scottish government before they could go ahead. Consent, as it is known, came after a lengthy period of consultation, discussion and debate. These huge turbines, set far out in the sea, have the potential to disrupt bird and marine life. Not surprisingly, therefore, both the companies involved and the government’s marine agency devoted much time to assessing the environmental impact. Millions of pounds were invested in the project by various international firms, which concluded that they could build the wind farms without impacting too greatly on the rich bird colonies of the North Sea. In addition, however, they needed the approval of Marine Scotland, which is charged with bringing objective evidence to bear. That evidence appears now to be shaky, or rather the way it was assessed has proved less than satisfactory, according to Lord Stewart, the judge who conducted a judicial review. He has ruled against the project, not on the environmental evidence itself, but on the way that evidence was assessed, shared and passed on to the objecting organisations. Scotland, it seems, does not have a particularly open and transparent planning process. If it had, the legal challenges and the resulting rejection of the scheme could have been avoided.
Times 1st August 2016 read more »