BRITAINS householders face increases in their power bills of about £200 a year to pay for a new generation of nuclear reactors under a deal being negotiated between Ed Davey, the energy secretary, and EDF, the French state-owned power company. The talks have been under way for weeks, even though the energy bill, under which EDF would receive billions of pounds in levies on British consumers, has yet to be published. A draft will be released on Tuesday. In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Liberal Democrat Davey confirmed that talks were advanced and that their purpose was to enable EDF to start work on its first two new reactors, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, before the bill was even approved, confident in the prospect of healthy profits. Daveys comments follow weeks of speculation over the future of nuclear energy, driven by factors such as the the collapse of the Horizon consortium, which was backed by the German utility giants Eon and RWE. They said nuclear power stations were simply too expensive to build and took too long to generate a return. More recently, EDFs own plans have been called into doubt as the predicted costs of Hinkley Point and other stations rose from £9 billion each to £14 billion. Some experts have suggested that the consumer levies needed to make the plant viable will simply be too high. Peter Atherton, head of European utility sector research at Citigroup Global Markets, calculates that the proposed 10 new plants would cost each household an extra £200 a year on average power bills. Since the average bill is around £400- £500 a year, this would be a huge increase.
Sunday Times 20th May 2012 more >>
Ministers will press ahead this week with the biggest overhaul of the energy sector in two decades amid escalating warnings from the industry that it remains seriously flawed. Energy Secretary Ed Davey will lay the Draft Energy Bill before Parliament on Tuesday, hailing it as a blueprint to keep lights on, bills down and air clean. He is expected to claim the reforms offer the TLC transparency, longevity and certainty needed to secure £110bn investment to replace old power stations and meet green targets. Yet industry experts warn that crucial details remain unresolved, and that some of the fundamental proposals could deter investment and increase costs for consumers. One key tenet of the Bill the capacity mechanism, intended to encourage new gas-fired generation will add billions in unnecessary costs, Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower has argued. And last week he raised concerns over the proposed contracts for difference (CfD), intended to guarantee investors the price for the power they will generate from new nuclear or renewables. Mr Beckers said CfD plans now appeared miles away from original expectations that the Government would act as a counterparty to the guarantees. CfD are to replace the current incentive scheme which is only open to renewables in order to also incentivise new nuclear. John Musk, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said: The whole system has essentially been designed to deliver nuclear in the UK, and its slightly forcing a round peg into a square hole.
Telegraph 19th May 2012 more >>
Fears are growing that the Governments electricity market reforms, which favour low-carbon power, will fail to prevent the collapse of the nuclear power rebuilding programme. David Cameron has been lobbying Japanese firms to replace German energy giants Eon and RWE, which have decided to pull out of the nuclear business in Britain. A Bill to be published on Tuesday will offer inducements to encourage foreign companies to invest £200 billion to build and replace old coal-fired and nuclear power stations. At the heart of the reforms will be long-term contracts guaranteeing certain prices for nuclear power supplies. If costs fall, the companies would still get the agreed prices. The idea is to give nuclear operators certainty as they spend billions of pounds to build the power stations. However, despite talks there are no signs of agreement. There are also fears that the EC may ban the contracts for being unfair subsidies.
This is Money 19th May 2012 more >>
Local and national press coverage of the Geological Dump CONsultation is promoting the idea that Cumbrians are a load of greedy turkeys voting for christmas. This is the nastiest spin which cherry picks the results of 8 CONsultation questions by reporting on the answer to one question. It is highly suspect that all those people who have said NO to the previous 7 questions should say yes to question 8! But then again the writers of the CONsultation have made sure that question 8 is vague enough to allow any answer other than a strong no to be interpreted as an endorsement for proceeding. The LIE that Cumbria supports a geological dump is becoming harder to promote with the majority of Parish Councils opposing any further steps towards a high level nuclear waste dump.
Radiation Free Lakeland 19th May 2012 more >>
GEOLOGY, safety, the environment and security are just some of the issues discussed in a consultation on whether high-level nuclear waste should be buried under Cumbria. Opinion is divided on whether to push on with plans for a £4bn repository in West Cumbria, after a large scale consultation was carried out. The full results of West Cumbrias Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership study will be revealed at a meeting in Whitehaven on Tuesday, but a draft report has been released. More than 1,400 responses were received during the consultation and West Cumbria is the only area in the country that so far has expressed an interest, although Shepway District Council in Kent said it is to hold a public meeting about whether Romney Marsh should consider volunteering, to offset the loss of 1,000 jobs at Dungeness power stations.
NW Evening Mail 19th May 2012 more >>
Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group leafleted in the town centre today (Saturday 19 May 2012) saying that Rochdale needs jobs and services, not nuclear weapons. They called for an immediate end to spending on the Trident nuclear weapons system and for the scrapping of expensive plans to upgrade it. They asked people to sign postcards from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament calling on MP Simon Danczuk to: Please stop our precious money being spent on nuclear weapons.
Rochdale Online 19th May 2012 more >>
The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain’s energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on. The Independent on Sunday has learned that industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers, including David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, that the UK’s reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract.
Independent 20th May 2012 more >>
The Prime Minister is to be briefed on plans for a £30bn, 10-mile tidal barrage from Somerset to South Wales which could provide 5 per cent of Britain’s total electricity. David Cameron signalled his backing, telling MPs: “A huge amount of renewable energy could be delivered through a barrage of this kind.”
Independent 20th May 2012 more >>
FOR more than half a century the coal-fired power station stood like a grim sentry over the dockyard in the town of Methil, at the mouth of the river Leven in Fife, Scotland. The plants demolition last year was long overdue. It was built when coal was king and climate change barely a glimmer in the eye of campaigners. In a few months, a symbol of the new era of energy will take its place the worlds biggest windmill. The prototype turbine will be installed a few hundred metres from the shore. It will be as tall as Londons Gherkin tower, its diameter will be bigger than that of the London Eye, and it will be able to power 70,000 homes. The big pieces will be built by Samsung, the Korean engineering giant. The guts of the machine a 50-tonne gearbox will be built by the former owner of Aston Martin.
Sunday Times 20th May 2012 more >>