A company which advised the UK government over the Hinkley Point nuclear power project has been accused of a potential conflict of interest after it emerged the same company was also working for EDF, The Times has learnt. Leigh Fisher, a management consultancy, worked as an adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change on a 2013 deal to pay EDF double the current wholesale price of electricity for the power produced by Hinkley for 35 years. Documents show the group was paid £1.2 million for its advice on the deal despite the UK arm of Jacobs Engineering Group, a US firm which also owns Leigh Fisher, supporting EDF on the Hinkley project. Tender documents obtained by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act show Leigh Fisher disclosed a number of potential conflicts of interest, including that Jacobs was providing engineering services and project and construction management resources for EDF and had seconded staff. Iain Wright, the Labour MP and chairman of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee, said there were questions over whether the advice given by Leigh Fisher was impartial and he would investigate further.
Times 21st Nov 2016 read more »
Engie the French multinational energy group, is to enter the UK consumer power market, creating a powerful new challenger to the “big six” suppliers as the government pushes for more competition in the industry. The Paris-based group, one-third owned by the French government, will be the biggest European utility to muscle into the UK market for a decade when it begins offering electricity and gas to British households early next year. Its arrival promises to increase pressure on the top six — Centrica’s British Gas, RWE npower, Iberdrola’s Scottish Power, SSE, Eon and Engie’s French rival EDF — which together command about 85 per cent of the market. They are already shedding customers to dozens of smaller competitors that have entered the market in recent years, while facing intense political scrutiny over pricing. The company would focus on adding value to basic gas and electricity supplies, Mr Petrie said, including technology to help customers increase energy efficiency. “There is more value for us in helping manage energy demand than in supplying the energy itself,” he added.
FT 20th Nov 2016 read more »
Last month, shovels hit the ground in a dry corner of western Spain, near the ancient city of Salamanca. Berkeley Energia, a mining company listed in Australia and on London’s junior AIM market, started work on a $100m (£80m) uranium mine. The project hopes to create nearly 500 jobs in a depressed former mining region and tap into future demand for the heavy metal, which powers nuclear reactors. To fund its plans, Berkeley recently raised $30m from a placing of new shares, winning support from funds run by the likes of Blackrock and JP Morgan. When it opens in 2018, the mine will be one of the lowest-cost uranium producers in the world – and the only such mine in Europe, turning out 4.5m pounds a year. But with uranium prices languishing at 13-year lows, the timing would seem curious. Why would anyone bet on a metal that has fallen so far out of favour? Is uranium due to become a hot property once again? Somewhat paradoxically, Atherley is happy for the price to go even lower, because he has his eye on long-term contracts, which command a premium on the spot price. “You have large reactors in the US and Europe coming off supply in 2018 – they will come back into the market,” he says. “China is building 60 reactors. They’re coming into the market at the same time. We’re creating the biggest deficit the uranium market has ever seen.” Canada’s Cameco, the world’s largest listed uranium producer, believes that 500m pounds of uranium that will be needed for reactors in the next 10 years have not yet been purchased.
Telegraph 20th Nov 2016 read more »
Two Chinese firms plan to build a solar plant in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, which has been off limits since a devastating explosion contaminated the region with deadly radiation in 1986. GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI), a subsidiary of the GCL Group, said it would cooperate with China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC) on the project in Ukraine, with construction expected to start next year.
Reuters 21st Nov 2016 read more »
A candidate who pledged to conditionally approve the restart of the world’s biggest nuclear power plant has been elected mayor of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. Masahiro Sakurai, a 54-year-old former member of the city’s assembly, on Sunday defeated Eiko Takeuchi, 47, a former municipal employee who opposes the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex on the Sea of Japan coast.
Japan Times 21st Nov 2016 read more »
Next month, Ontario Power Generation will submit to the Canadian government new information about its proposed Deep Geological Repository for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced the submission goal in October. “OPG has stated that it intends to submit the requested information in December 2016,” said the CEAA in a public announcement on Oct. 25. OPG’s submission will contain new details about alternative locations for the DGR, an analysis of the cumulative effects the dump could have on the environment and an updated list of OPG’s commitments to reduce “each identified adverse impact” of the DRG.
Voice News 19th Nov 2016 read more »
Port Augusta, a country town of 14,000 people in South Australia, could have been a perfect example. For 68 years, coal-fired power stations and the local mines generated jobs for 400 workers and provided power for South Australia. This is the story of a community, its power station workers and their union taking their plan for jobs and solar thermal power to state and federal government, and to global energy giants in France and the United States, demanding a just transition for the people of Port Augusta, demanding a zero carbon future for people everywhere. The coal-fired power station was on borrowed time. Worried about air quality and environmental health, the community looked for alternative plans for energy, industry and jobs. Five years of work – during which all options were considered – resulted in a decision that a solar thermal plant was the best fit for both a clean energy base and for skills transfer for existing energy workers
Guardian 21st Nov 2016 read more »
Businesses can now choose how and where their electricity is generated through the UK’s first online marketplace for renewable energy, launched by independent supplier Good Energy this week.
Edie 18th Nov 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has again set tongues wagging, this time with his declaration that his newly launched integrated solar roof tiles could actually cost less to install than a regular roof – making the renewable electricity they produce “just a bonus”. The claims, which are already being carefully dissected by various media pundits, were made by Musk last Thursday, after Tesla and SolarCity shareholders voted in favour of a $2 billion deal to merge the two companies.
One Step Off the Grod 21st Nov 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
A Scottish tidal energy company set up six years ago has secured EU funding to demonstrate a direct drive tidal turbine – a technology that, when commercialised, could revolutionise the future of the tidal energy sector. The Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation – which in earlier this year deployed of the world’s first fully-operational, grid-connected offshore tidal array in Shetland – has landed €2.25 million of grant funding of through the EU Commission’s Horizon 2020’s SME Instrument programme.
Scottish Energy News 21st Nov 2016 read more »
Fracking can cause earthquakes that rumble on for months after the controversial gas extraction process ends, a new study has found. Researchers recorded more than 900 individual tremors linked to hydraulic fracturing, as it is properly known, between December 2014 and March 2015 in an area around Fox Creek in Alberta, Canada, according to a paper in the journal Science.
Independent 17th Nov 2016 read more »
The decision to allow fracking in North Yorkshire will be challenged at the High Court this week by campaigners. A judicial review brought by local residents and Friends of the Earth will be heard on Tuesday over the decision by the county council to allow the extraction of shale gas near North York Moors National Park. Drilling by Third Energy at Kirby Misperton was approved by the council’s planning committee in May, the first consent in England since a ban was lifted in 2012.
Times 21st Nov 2016 read more »
Donald Trump’s pledge to pull the US out of the crucial Paris Agreement to limit global warming is galvanising world leaders into taking even greater action to tackle the problem, according to a leading figure in the climate change movement. Speaking at the end of a two-week UN summit on climate change in Marrakech, during which the climate change denier Mr Trump was elected to be the next US president, delegates said the resolve of politicians to tackle global warming had been strengthened by recent events. “Trump’s election on the second day of the meeting was certainly as much of a shock in Marrakech as it was back in the United States,” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s former environment minister and now head of climate and energy at WWF, told i.
The i newspaper 20th Nov 2016 read more »