Energy and Climate Change Committee will take evidence on 24th May from EDF Energy and Department of Energy and Climate Change on the recent delays to the Hinkley Point C project. The session will explore a range of issues, including: the reasons for the most recent delays to the final investment decision; the impact on the building schedule and cost of the project; the Government’s contingency plans, should the Hinkley project be delayed further.
UK Parliament 19th May 2016 read more »
The chief executive of French energy giant EDF is to be quizzed by MPs next week over the delay in making a final investment decision on the multibillion-pound Hinkley Point nuclear power project. Vincent de Rivaz will appear before the Energy and Climate Change Committee on Tuesday, alongside Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF’s Managing Director, Nuclear New Build. Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom will also be questioned by the committee, which said it will explore issues including the cause and impact of the delay to a final investment decision, financial and operational risks for the planned power station, and alternative plans for the UK’s energy future.
Western Daily Press 19th May 2016 read more »
Renewable energy is far from being able to replace nuclear energy in France’s electricity mix, utility EDF’s head of nuclear said on Thursday. Dominique Miniere said a 2015 study by state energy agency ADEME, which showed France could switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 for the same cost as relying on nuclear for half of its power, was not realistic. “A certain number of points in that study are not based on technological realities,” EDF executive committee member Miniere told reporters in reply to a question. Energy minister Segolene Royal delayed publication of the controversial study until after parliament voted last summer for the energy transition law, which pledged more support for renewables but maintained reliance on the atom for about three quarters of French electricity. “We do not believe in a 100 percent renewables mix by the horizon (ADEME) indicates. However, we want to extend the lifespan of our reactors in order to allow a gradual increase of renewables in the mix,” Miniere added. He said replacing nuclear with renewables too quickly, citing Germany as an example, ends up boosting carbon emissions from fossil fuel.
Daily Mail 19th May 2016 read more »
Reuters 19th May 2016 read more »
The French government’s energy investment plan due in July will be a key indicator for whether and for how long EDF will extend the depreciation period of its nuclear plants, an executive said on Thursday. EDF hopes to get nuclear energy regulator ASN’s authorisation to extend the lifespan of its nuclear plants to 50 years from 40, and already wants to extend the depreciation period on these assets, which would boost bottom-line profit. Early this year ASN said it expects to give generic guidelines on French nuclear plant life extensions by 2018, but said extensions could not be taken for granted and that they would be decided reactor by reactor.
Euro News 19th May 2016 read more »
Reuters 19th May 2016 read more »
According to spokespersons for the proposed ‘NuGen’ nuclear development at Moorside in Cumbria either or both the Japanese and American Governments could end up part-paying for the proposed 3.8 GW project. That is if it ever happens (which I doubt). According to a report in World Nuclear News, NuGen’s boss Tom Samson said that they were hoping to get the US and Japanese Government’s support to supply export credit guarantees for the debt element of the necessary investments – as well as the British Treasury. What this means is that if there are serious cost overruns on the project that exceed the equity (risk capital) element of the project then the Governments would end up paying out. Given the track record of the only western-based nuclear plant using the AP1000 technology from Toshiba that is earmarked for the project then this scenario is all too plausible. The only two projects in the West are at Virgil C Summer in South Carolina and Vogtle in Georgia. Both are suffering serious cost overruns and will not be built on time. It is just a question of how high the cost overruns will be. Of course these plant are being built with what amounts to a blank cheque. The developers are monopoly electricity suppliers with compliant regulators who allow the electricity companies to charge the electricity consumer (in advance) for whatever the power plant costs.
Dave Toke’s Blog 19th May 2016 read more »
NuGen says it expects to begin operations at its new nuclear power project in Britain by 2025, overtaking Hinkley Point C as the first new nuclear plant in the country in two decades. The joint venture between U.S.-based Westinghouse and France-based Engie is building three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in Cumbria at the Moorside Nuclear Project, with a planned total capacity of up to 3.8 GW. France-based EDF said it plans to finalize an investment decision on Hinkley Point C by September, with the two Areva-designed European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs) potentially completed by 2026. NuGen must still secure approval for the AP1000 under Britain’s Generic Design Assessment approval process, which is expected to be finished by early 2017, according to Reuters. A final investment decision for Moorside is then set for 2018. A third nuclear plant, Hitachi’s Horizon, is also scheduled to begin operations in Britain in the 2020s.
Power Engineering 19th May 2016 read more »
NuGen has run two contests for designers to come up with their vision for several buildings at the development, at Moorside, near Sellafield, including a visitor centre and worker accommodation. These were run through two separate organisations the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute. The first of these has focussed on the site’s buildings while the latter has been about the overall layout of the area. Each body has chosen five finalists for their own competitions. The shortlists have been selected by independent panel of experts – including Sir Terry Farrell, who designed the iconic MI6 building in London and Paul Tiplady, former chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority – and the public has now been invited to give their views. NuGen chief executive, Tom Samson, said: “We have had an overwhelming response to the competition, both in terms of numbers and the level of creativity in the designs.
Whitehaven News 19th May 2016 read more »
Utility Week 19th May 2016 read more »
World Nuclear News 19th May 2016 read more »
Horizon Nuclear Power has struck a deal with joint venture partners Hitachi, Bechtel and Japan’s JGC Corporation to deliver the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station project. This JV will work as a Tier-1 contractor responsible for engineering, procurement and construction of the £14bn project in Anglesey. The deal paves the way for the JV known as Menter Newydd, meaning New Venture in Welsh, to strike deals with key subcontractors. Menter Newydd will scale up its UK presence in the coming weeks and months, developing construction plans for the Wylfa Newydd site.
Construction Enquirer 20th May 2016 read more »
Birds of prey are being used to stop gulls nesting at the Dounreay nuclear power complex in Caithness. The site near Thurso has had problems in previous years with gulls swooping down aggressively on staff who inadvertently walk too close to nests. A falconer from Norfolk is working with a zoologist on the gull-scaring project.
BBC 19th May 2016 read more »
Last week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) submitted the first-ever permit application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a small modular nuclear reactor. The TVA’s application comes as a huge milestone in the pathway of small modular reactors (often abbreviated SMRs) from the laboratory to the marketplace, and brings a glimmer of hope to the future of nuclear power in the United States. Let’s review what advantages SMRs have over conventional nuclear reactor designs, and why they have the potential to overcome some of the key barriers limiting new nuclear construction today.
Scientific American 19th May 2016 read more »
German politicians angrily dismissed a strategy paper by the E.U. Commission calling for more research into new types of nuclear power generation. But the Commission insists that the bloc will need more reactors in the foreseeable future.
Handelsblatt 18th May 2016 read more »
Energy MPs on the House of Commons select committee are to hold a one-off evidence session on the implications for the UK on British Independence from the EU-Bloc. The selected witnesses who will give evidence to the committee, which is chaired by the SNP’s Angus MacNeil (MP for the Western Isles) on 25 May are: Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House; Professor Michael Grubb, Professor of International Energy and Climate Change Policy, University College London; Tony Lodge, Political and Energy Analyst, Centre for Policy Studies.
Scottish Energy News 20th May 2016 read more »
The design of European wholesale electricity markets and the emissions trading system (EU ETS) will be improved to help – and no longer hinder – nuclear energy as a low-carbon source of electricity, a European Commission official assured delegates at a nuclear financing conference held in Paris last week. The conference, titled Nuclear energy’s role in the 21st century: addressing the challenge of financing, was jointly organised by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation.
World Nuclear News 19th May 2016 read more »
Belgium’s policy to close its nuclear power stations between 2022 and 2025 would “seriously challenge” the country’s efforts to ensure electricity security and provide affordable low-carbon electricity, a report by the International Energy Agency says. The report, ‘Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Belgium 2016 Review’, says nuclear energy from Belgium’s seven commercial reactors accounts for around half of the country’s electricity generation and their potential closure is a “major” issue. Allowing the plants to run as long as they are considered safe by the regulator would ease electricity security pressures, would reduce the costs of electricity generation in the medium term, would likely reduce the costs of the phaseout itself and would create time for investments in alternative generation options, the report says.
NucNet 19th May 2016 read more »
Egypt has announced a $25 billion loan from Russia for the building of a nuclear power plant. Thursday’s announcement came in a decree by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The Russian loan will cover 85 percent of the expenses of the plant’s construction. Egypt, which will cover the other 15 percent, is to repay the loan over a 22-year period, starting in 2029, with a 3 percent annual interest rate. Egypt and Russia agreed in February 2015 to build the plant together and signed a memorandum of understanding on the project. But the relations between the two nations were badly impacted after the horrific Russian passenger plane crash in Sinai last October, when all 224 people on board were killed.
Power Engineering 19th May 2016 read more »
Clean power supplied almost all of Germany’s power demand for the first time on Sunday, marking a milestone for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Energiewende” policy to boost renewables while phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels. Solar and wind power peaked at 2 p.m. local time on Sunday, allowing renewables to supply 45.5 gigawatts as demand was 45.8 gigawatts, according to provisional data by Agora Energiewende, a research institute in Berlin. Power prices turned negative during several 15-minute periods yesterday, dropping as low as minus 50 euros ($57) a megawatt-hour, according to data from Epex Spot
Independent 19th May 2016 read more »
U.S. President Barack Obama will cite his country’s “moral responsibility” to lead efforts to create a world free of nuclear weapons when he visits Hiroshima next week, one of his top speechwriters said Wednesday.
Japan Times 19th May 2016 read more »
It’s been a good couple of months for renewable energy in the UK which, having charted its first ever instance of coal-free power generation last week, has notched up a couple of milestones for both solar and wind energy and their contribution to the grid. First to solar, which reportedly generated more electricity over the week between May 3 and May 9 than coal in the UK. The May achievement was tweeted by the policy editor for Carbonbrief.org, along with the graphs below showing solar surpassing coal for the week. The same was true for two days in April, CleanTechnica reports, when coal generated 3 per cent of electricity, while solar generated 4 per cent on one and 6 per cent on the other. As CleanTechnica notes, this is happening both because of more solar installations around the UK and a falling off of coal, as the economics of the fossil fuel continue to deteriorate. Wind power generation, meanwhile, managed to surpass coal for the first time ever in April, generating 2,290 gigawatt hours (GWh) compared to coal’s 1,755 GWh, according to National Grid statistics.
Renew Economy 19th May 2016 read more »
Renewable energy firms and other low-carbon businesses are making more than £46 billion a year and employing nearly 240,000 people in the UK, according to the first survey of their impact on the economy by the Office for National Statistics. It found that there were more than 96,000 individual businesses involved in the sector in 2014, making up 4.4 per cent of the total number of British firms excluding the financial ones.Scotland had the highest percentage of those kinds of businesses with 5.2 per cent involved in the sector, followed by England (4.4 per cent), Wales (3.9 per cent) and Northern Ireland (3.2 per cent). Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said: “These figures underline the importance of low-carbon businesses to Scotland and the rest of the UK, by helping grow our economy and creating jobs.
Independent 19th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
A £2m solar investment by the London Borough of Hounslow has converted London’s largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and plant market into a ‘carbon-zero’ zone. Unveiled today, it is the largest PV solar array installation by a UK local authority and the first to incorporate battery storage, according to lead project partner LG Electronics.
Business Green 19th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Offshore wind farms are “back on the agenda” for SSE, the energy giant has said, as it reported a fall in profits due to lower gas prices. Alastair Phillips-Davies, chief executive, admitted he had “spat the dummy” on offshore wind two years ago when he cast doubt on the sector’s viability, but said SSE was now considering more investment after ministers pulled the plug on onshore wind subsidies, making offshore “the only game in town”.
Telegraph 18th May 2016 read more »
“Micro CHP and other efficient gas appliances have potential to revolutionise home heating and in turn reduce our carbon emissions” says the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council, HHIC. Their comments come in response to the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s Energy Revolution Inquiry. Stewart Clements, Director of HHIC said “Micro CHP units meet the space heating and hot water needs of homes and buildings, while generating electricity. By enabling consumers to produce their own electricity, used directly or fed back to the gird, micro CHP has the potential to revolutionise the UK energy market. The majority of micro CHP products are “heat led” and as the peak demand for heat and power are fairly closely aligned it means that electricity is generated and used locally at the time the grid is facing its largest demand. As the electricity generated is used at source, micro CHP devices result in no transmission or distribution losses and offer back up generation capacity to the grid. Unlike some alternative heating technologies installing micro CHP does not require larger radiators or sizeable external units making them well suited to the average UK home. Generating electricity on site can also result in significant bill savings for consumers – an additional bonus. In the short term micro CHP can enable the efficient use of fossil fuel gas but will also be a key enabler of a transition towards low carbon gas. As the gas grid is decarbonised, through biomethane, bio SNG or hydrogen, micro CHP will still operate, proving heat and power.
Energy & Utilities Alliance 18th May 2016 read more »
A new report paid for by some of Britain’s Big Six energy suppliers and the Scottish and UK government – has found that household bills could be cut by £50 a year through energy storage. The report details total cost savings for the UK electricity system, should the potential for energy storage be realised, of up to £2.4bn a year by 2030. The report (Can storage help reduce the cost of a future UK electricity system?) was collaboratively funded by three major utilities – SSE, Scottish Power and E.On – as well as the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Scottish Government. The analysis, carried out over 12 months by the Carbon Trust and Imperial College London, is the most comprehensive review to date of the benefits of storage at a UK-system level.
Scottish Energy News 20th May 2016 read more »
At the time of writing the IGov working paper on ‘Governing for Demand Management Innovations in Germany’ earlier this year it was rumoured that there would be a new, comprehensive energy efficiency strategy. Germany has already made considerable gains in demand reduction for energy, and electricity, so much so that there have been claims about a decoupling between GDP growth and electricity demand. However, Germany also has tough demand reduction targets that they are determined to meet – not least a 20% reduction in primary energy by 2020, and of 50% by 2050, both compared to 2008 levels. Against these targets, and despite the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency announced only in December 2014, the German government recognises that it still needs to take more action. Hence there are now reports that a comprehensive new strategy, the ‘Effizienzoffensive’, is being launched. Details are sketchy at the moment, but sources say that there will be €17bn invested as part of the strategy, which also includes a broad public awareness campaign called: ‘Deutschland Macht’s Effizient’ (Germany makes it efficiently). Reports are that there will be 4 programmes launched, including a new tender process to find the most cost-effective energy savings measures; a pilot programme promoting smart metering; an initiative to improve the recovery of waste heat; and an initiative to promote cross-cutting technologies that enhance the efficiency of energy output or its use. This latter initiative marks massive, planned investment in energy efficient technologies over the next 5 years.
IGov 19th May 2016 read more »
Marine surveys are taking place in Morecambe Bay ahead of a major project to connect a new electricity pipeline from Barrow to Heysham. The National Grid is digging boreholes from two drill rigs off the coast at Heysham up to 100 metres below the sea bed.
The Visitor 18th May 2016 read more »
Profits at National Grid rose 6pc to £4.1bn last year as the company benefited from Britain importing cheaper power from France. The utility giant, which manages Britain’s gas and electricity networks, said that a “strong performance” from the French interconnector cable contributed to the rise in group adjusted operating profits, which was in line with analysts’ expectations. Operating profits from its 2 gigawatt undersea power cable rose 19pc to £123m, as the “high power price differential between France and the UK in the first half of the year” meant companies were willing to pay higher fees to use the interconnector to buy cheap power from France.
Telegraph 19th May 2016 read more »
The 450-mile cable to Norway, which is under construction, will be the longest subsea electricity cable in the world, Mr Pettigrew said. He added that Britain’s electricity supply margin would be thin this winter but expressed confidence that National Grid had enough tools at its disposal to prevent blackouts, including new contracts designed to temporarily switch off power to large industrial users to help reduce overall demand at peak times.
Times 20th May 2016 read more »
The majority of fossil fuel reserves are unburnable if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, but carbon capture and storage (CCS) could “unlock” greater use, a new study concludes.
Carbon Brief 19th May 2016 read more »