Electricity Market Reform
The Big Six energy giants face the prospect of price controls if Labour returns to power. In the month that companies have announced huge inflation-busting price increases, the party signalled it would take action to curb bills. Shadow Energy Secretary Meg Hillier said that Labour was working on plans to create a panel of experts who would give independent advice to the Government on energy pricing. Hillier wants to compel companies to auction all of their electricity to allow more entrants into the market and to create pressure to reduce prices. The dilemma for the Government is that while it wants to curb energy companies it is conscious that they are the only source for £200 billion of investment to pay for new clean power sources such as wind and nuclear
Dail Mail 21st Aug 2011 more >>
A four-year plan from the UK’s Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has spelt out the resources it will put towards new nuclear build in coming years. The ONR expects to issue interim Design Acceptance Confirmation for the Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 by the end of the year, if the outcomes of Mike Weightman’s post-Fukushima report can be incorporated. Some items will be outstanding, but these should have a predictable timetable for resolution. It also counts among its deliverables the granting of approval for non-nuclear site work for Hinkley Point C, Wylfa B and Sizewell C, as long as applications are satisfactory. Subject to government approval, the ONR will start acceptance work on a new set of reactor designs in mid-to-late 2012.
World Nuclear News 18th Aug 2011 more >>
Scientists have long sought easier ways to make the costly material known as enriched uranium – the fuel of nuclear reactors and bombs, now produced only in giant industrial plants. One idea, a half-century old, has been to do it with nothing more substantial than lasers and their rays of concentrated light. This approach has always proved too expensive and difficult for anything but laboratory experimentation. Until now. In a little-known effort, General Electric has successfully tested laser enrichment for two years and is seeking permission from the US government to build a $US1 billion ($960 million) plant that would make reactor fuel by the tonne. That might be good news for the nuclear industry, but critics fear that if the work succeeds and the secret gets out, rogue states and terrorists could make bomb fuel in much smaller plants that are difficult to detect.
Sydney Morning Herald 22nd Aug 2011 more >>
New York Times 20th Aug 2011 more >>
Russia has put forward “proposals” to build new nuclear power plants in Iran after the completion of the Bushehr project, local media reported Sunday quoting the Islamic republic’s atomic chief.
AFP 21st Aug 2011 more >>
Coal is facing its demise in Britain as new stations have to meet onerous environmental standards and margins remain low. Furthermore, nine of the UK’s coal stations must close before 2015 because of European regulations on pollution. All coal power stations were given the choice between spending millions on becoming less pollutive or running 20,000 more hours in their current form before closing.
Telegraph 22nd Aug 2011 more >>
A raft of farmers have responded to Government incentives to make energy from manure, waste crops and discarded food. Between 40 and 50 farmers are seeking planning permission to set up anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, which harness natural micro-organims to break down organic waste creating gas and heat which can be used to make electricity. If successful, they will double the UK’s farm plants from 24. Dr Prabodh Mistry, a consultant at AEA Group, which is helping investigate the potential for anaerobic digestion in the UK, believes 400 such plants, which produce between 300kW and 800kW of electricity each, are likely to be built by 2020. Farmers are also among the backers of some big AD plants, capable of producing 1MW or more of electricity by processing a combination of farm waste, specially grown crops and discarded food collected by local councils. There are currently just 30 of these operating or commissioned in the UK. Dr Mistry believes there could be up to 70 operating by 2020.
Telegraph 22nd Aug 2011 more >>
Edinburgh could be powered by a huge offshore wind farm under new proposals from Mainstream Renewable Power. The wind farm would consist of as many as 130 turbines and could be installed 30km north of Dunbar. The wind farm would connect to the National Grid through East Lothian.
Utility Exchange 20th Aug 2011 more >>
A NORTH Yorkshire company that has become a world leader in offshore wind turbine installation is continuing to power the future with the launch of its latest vessel. MPI Offshore, based in Stokesley, has finished building its second wind turbine installation vessel, MPI Adventure, at a cost of 150m.
Business Desk 20th Aug 2011 more >>
GLASGOW energy firm EML Group is seeking to capitalise on the boom in community wind projects across Scotland with a part-ownership scheme that offers towns and villages a slice of the profits from turbines in their area. The company is offering community groups access to 100 per cent finance to take a share in small wind turbine arrays it plans to build. It says this allows communities to take part in energy projects without any risk or capital outlay.
Scotsman 21st Aug 2011 more >>