A report that warned of Christmas blackouts next year and purported to come from a group of MPs has been discredited after it emerged it was only backed by a single MP and included misleading claims. The British Infrastructure Group (BIG), chaired by Conservative MP Grant Shapps, published a report on Monday that said coal power station closures and a drive for renewable energy had left the UK facing “intermittent blackouts for the foreseeable future”. The dire prediction was attributed to a “group of MPs” in widespread media coverage, including the Sun, which wrote “Britain teeters on the brink of an energy crisis, MPs claim”. Emails from Shapps to journalists before the report was published show it was billed as coming from a group of MPs. “The British Infrastructure Group of MPs (BIG) is releasing a new report warning of potential blackouts over this and next Christmas thanks to mismanagement of the UK’s electricity networks,” he wrote. But Shapps was the only MP to put his name to the report, titled Electric Shock, his office told the Guardian. Green campaigners said the report was “laughable” and “crap”. Energy experts also said its central claim – that the UK was on the verge of blackouts next winter – was wrong and misleading. The report written by researcher Tim Philpott said the UK’s spare electricity margin had fallen from 17% in the winter of 2011-12 to about 1% this winter, and household bills would rise £30 by 2020 to plug the gap. “It is laughable that anyone would take this report seriously. Only one MP supported it, and that’s Grant Shapps,” said Kate Blagojevic, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK. “The 1% figure for the electricity margin is just scaremongering by climate sceptics and those with vested interests in keeping dirty, polluting old coal power stations online.”
Guardian 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Some of Holyrood’s new (and not-so new) MPs – along with members of Scotland’s renewables sector – will get their first chance to scrutinise the government’s new Scottish Energy Strategy early in the New Year. The next meeting of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SPREEE) will be chaired by Liam McArthur, the Lib-Dem MSP for the Orkneys. A number of Scottish energy bodies – including Scotland’s Renewable Future Forum – have already submitted their plans for inclusion in the Scottish Energy Strategy, which Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse is due to publish in first draft for consultation next month.
Scottish Energy News 20th Dec 2016 read more »
Innovative technologies to decommission the nuclear sector could get a share of £3 million. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield LTD and Innovate UK are offering the funding to companies to help develop methods to more safely, effectively and inexpensively close down nuclear facilities. Decommissioning is likely to become a larger priority at Sellafield in the next five years as nuclear fuel reprocessing at the site has now come to an end. However, closing it down is estimated to cost around £85 billion. Applicants should aim to minimise human exposure to radiation, increase productivity and optimise waste treatment and disposal.
Energy Live News 20th Dec 2016 read more »
EU leaders are poised to green-light Hungary’s controversial deal with Russia to build two new nuclear reactors, shrugging off a series of concerns that might be expected to set off political and economic air-raid sirens in Brussels. The plan, known as Paks II, has faced only minor regulatory hurdles, and senior EU officials, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, have said virtually nothing about it.
Politico 18th Dec 2016 read more »
The governor of Fukui prefecture has called the Japanese government’s proposal to decommission the Monju prototype fast breeder reactor (FBR) as “totally unacceptable”. A formal decision from the government is expected to be delayed due to opposition from local residents to scrapping the reactor.
World Nuclear News 19th Dec 2016 read more »
The estimated cost of building a vitrification plant at America’s Hanford nuclear waste treatment facility has increased from $12.3bn to $16.8bn as a result of the need to accelerate construction to meet a deadline set by a federal court. The announcement, made by the Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday (16 December), means that radioactive waste from 11 underground tanks that are in danger of leaking will begin to be turned into glass by vitrification in 2023, with full operation set for 2036. The court made its decision in March of this year, but the DOE has just arrived at a figure for its cost implications.
Global Construction Review 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Ouch … the incredible Yannick Rousselet, the campaigner at Greenpeace against Nukes, Yannick Rousselet, whose ideas and actions of genius are no longer counted, is now a government target. As everywhere, the state/establishment when under pressure resorts to authoritarianism and force. In France, Greenpeace anti-nuclear activist,Yannick Rousselet, has had his house raided in the early hours of the morning…with the police pulling up outside in their black vans and taking photos (including family photos), computers, USBs, files etc. on the basis that Yannick has been threatening state defence secrets. It’s what happens when your campaigns are successful enough to threaten the state
Nuclear News 19th Dec 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] The home of a Greenpeace executive searched by the DGSI On Tuesday, December 13, the home of Yannick Rousselet, a nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace France, was searched by officials from the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI). According to Yannick Rousselet, they acted “by order of the public prosecutor of the Republic of Paris”. At the origin of the search, a complaint lodged by Christophe Quintin, senior official of defense for national security, and Christian Riac, brigadier general, national responsible for nuclear security.
France Bleu 19th Dec 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] The facts go back to December 13, early in the morning: Yannick Rousselet, nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace France, sees arriving at his home in Cherbourg-Octeville, officials of the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI), by order of the Prosecutor Of the Republic of Paris. All the digital media present at the home of militant Greenpeace are seized and taken away. Yannick Rousselet is served with a future conviction for police custody. The only reason given to him is “compromise of the secrecy of National Defense”.
Ouest France 19th Dec 2016 read more »
The share price of Britain’s biggest power station operator has jumped to a five-month high after the European commission approved subsidies for its conversion to burn wood pellets instead of coal. Drax was awarded a renewable energy subsidy contract by the government in 2014 to switch the third unit of its coal power station in North Yorkshire over to biomass. That prompted a state-aid investigation by the commission, which was concerned the estimates of the plant’s performance were too generous and Drax would be overcompensated. On Monday the investigation cleared the subsidy, which sees a guaranteed price paid for electricity generated by the plant. The commission said its analysis found the support would “not result in overcompensation” and would not unduly distort the wood market that will supply the plant with 2.4m tonnes of pellets a year.
Guardian 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Scotland’s largest privately owned solar farm is on track to record just under 1.5 million kilowatt hours in 2016, its first year in operation.Based on a farm near Westerton, Aberdeenshire, the 10-acre facility was built for the family-owned Mackie’s ice cream business and has a total installed capacity of 1.8MW. It complements four wind turbines, with a total of 3MW, providing peak power in summer when wind levels tend to drop. The 7000-panel solar farm, installed by Loch Lomond-based Absolute Solar and Wind, is capable of creating enough electricity to power 485 homes. Its 2016 output is five per cent above estimates thanks to favourable weather conditions.
Scotsman 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Herald 19th Dec 2016 read more »
The recent U.S. solar installation numbers are astonishing. Greentech Media and the Solar Energy Industries association reported a record third quarter, at over 4,100 megawatts (MW) installed, with expected annual numbers exceeding 14,000 MW. Put another way, that is nearly one megawatt installed every half hour. For the first three quarters, new solar capacity ranked second only to natural gas-fired generating capacity.
Forbes 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Northern Ireland’s first minister has survived an effort to unseat her in a growing political scandal over a botched renewable energy scheme that could cost the province’s taxpayers at least £400m. Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist party who became Northern Ireland’s first female first minister a year ago, offered a qualified apology for her role in introducing the renewable heating incentive. But she accused her opponents of trying to lead her to the “political gallows” over her role in the affair, which has been dubbed “cash for ash”. Ms Foster admitted that the renewables scheme, or RHI, which was meant to be a modest step to encourage Northern Ireland’s businesses to switch to renewable energy sources, contained “fundamental flaws”. Critics say it was so poorly designed that its costs quickly ballooned out of control.
FT 19th Dec 2016 read more »
John Pilger’s latest film The Coming War on China is an essential wake-up call. When it comes to China, the media rarely, if ever, mentions why the country is so protective over access to the South China Sea. And, as Pilger’s film points out, the media never speaks on how the United States surrounded China with a ring of military bases and an arsenal of nukes aimed at it. It is in the midst of all this that I got in touch with the eminent journalist with a few questions about his film.
Morning Star 20th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Vattenfall has signed a GBP 237 million (approx. US$353 million) deal to partner-up with leading Swedish pension group AMF on an UK offshore wind farm. Vattenfall’s partnership strategy aims at supporting wind growth and the shift to renewables. The partnership agreement means that AMF will take a 49% share in Vattenfall’s 150 MW Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm for GBP 237 million, approximately SEK 3 billion. Vattenfall will continue to operate the wind farm as majority shareholder.
Solar Thermal Magazine 19th Dec 2016 read more »
The Obama administration’s energy efficiency efforts are saving billions of dollars each year and could save trillions by 2040. The projected savings by then are far more than what consumers now spend on phones and the Internet, combined. Even as President Barack Obama has made energy efficiency a top priority, it’s remarkable that federal agencies have achieved these savings over the last eight years by implementing bipartisan laws passed before he entered the Oval Office. Our new analysis reveals how much the United States has saved and still can in the future. If President-elect Donald Trump does not want to shut off a huge moneymaker for the US economy, he should continue these policies.
ACEEE 16th Dec 2016 read more »
The energy storage asset class puts a single label on a dizzying variety of technologies and applications. It’s hard to compare a cavern full of pumped air with a lithium-ion battery, even if they perform similar functions. This makes it difficult to gauge progress across the entire industry. The financial analysts at Lazard make it easier with their Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis, the second annual instalment of which was released Thursday. They standardized costs for 10 prevailing storage technologies to show how they stack up for 10 particular use cases. The picture that emerges is of an ecosystem of technologies rapidly trending down in cost, especially for the larger-scale projects. The old grid-scale stalwarts, pumped hydro and compressed air, still beat the newcomers on cost, but the advanced technologies are closing the gap quickly, and they can operate in many more settings.
Greentech Media 19th Dec 2016 read more »
Opponents of shale gas in the west country are celebrating a series of recent council votes against fracking. In the past fortnight, Conservative-controlled Gloucestershire and Herefordshire County Councils have backed anti-fracking motions while Forest of Dean District and Watchet Town Councils have declared themselves Frack Free Zones.
Drill or Drop 19th Dec 2016 read more »