Green taxes on energy bills will more than double by the end of the decade, despite a promise by David Cameron to “roll back” the charges, according to one of Britain’s biggest suppliers. Tariffs to fund wind turbines and solar panels will drive the average gas and electricity bill towards £1,500 a year by 2020, npower says. The claim by the German-owned company raises the prospect of another inflation-busting price rise after the next election, and threatens to break the uneasy truce agreed between the Government and the energy industry. In a report published today, npower says that the cost of green levies will fall only temporarily after the Government’s decision last month to remove some environmental tariffs from bills. Npower says that subsidies to fund the rapid expansion of wind farms, solar power and biomass plants will cost households an extra £82 by 2020. Funding insulation schemes will add a further £77 to bills. In total, green taxes will add £245 to the cost of heating and lighting a home by the end of the decade, the company adds.
Times 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
Energy bills will rise by more than £200 over the rest of this decade, driven by costs of government green policies, unless consumers use less gas and electricity, supplier npower has warned. A typical dual fuel bill will increase from £1,123 in 2013 to £1,330 by 2020, although this could be pegged back to £1,240 if customers take out energy efficiency measures to insulate draughty homes, it said in a report on Wednesday. Paul Massara, npower chief executive, said: “The actual unit price of energy in the UK is one of the lowest in Europe but bills are high because British houses waste so much energy. “If we can increase the efficiency of the UK’s old and draughty housing, we can ensure that annual energy bills are some of the lowest too.”
Telegraph 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
High bills? Your home is too draughty,’ says boss of energy firm npower. FURY was sparked last night after an energy boss claimed bills are too high because homes “waste” energy.
Express 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
High bills are your fault: Energy boss tells families power is only expensive because ‘British houses waste so much energy’.
Daily Mail 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
£600k npower chief slammed by hard-up families after blaming THEM for sky-high bills.
Daily Record 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
Npower fatcat blames PUBLIC for huge energy bills.
Daily Mirror 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
Energy regulator Ofgem has accused electricity and gas supplier Npower of publishing a “misleading” report. Npower, one of the UK’s big six suppliers, said the idea of the publication was to “shine a light” on company costs. In the report, the company argues that energy suppliers make small profits, and have little control over customer bills. But Ofgem said that some of the data used was “incorrect and misleading”. In its analysis, Npower said the cost of transporting gas and electricity – so-called network costs – was likely to rise by 74% by 2020, pushing up household bills. Between 2015 and 2020, it claimed network costs would increase from £295 per customer to £314. But Ofgem, which regulates that side of the industry – and sets the price controls – said those figures were wrong. It said that after this year network costs per household “are expected to remain broadly flat in real terms”. “It is unclear how Npower can state with any authority otherwise,” said a spokesman. In the report, Inside the Cost of Energy, Mr Massara argues that the unit price of electricity in the UK is one of the lowest in Europe. “But bills are high because British houses waste so much energy,” he says. Last November, the consumer watchdog Consumer Futures said Npower had received the highest number of complaints per customer. In a three-month period in the summer, it had received 202 complaints per 100,000 customers, more than five times its nearest rival. Last month, the company was fined £3.5m by Ofgem, for breaching sales regulations.
BBC 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
US gains huge competitive advantage from EU muddle. Europe is slowly emerging from the crisis and economic growth is picking up. But the sluggish nature of the recovery means governments cannot ease up in the pursuit of reforms that boost investment and jobs. Much of the discussion about improving competitiveness revolves around labour market reforms and reductions in red tape. But far too little attention is paid to what has become a significant burden on European growth: the high cost of energy in Europe when compared with the US and other markets.
FT 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Directive 2009/71/Euratom establishes a framework for the safety of nuclear installations and requires member states to establish responsibilities for the safety requirements, provide for the licensing of nuclear installations and establish an independent regulatory authority. Although the safety record of the European Union’s nuclear power plants is good, the European Council decided in March 2011, in the wake of the Fukushima accident, that they should each be subjected to a stress test and that the EU should review its legislative framework in this area. The Commission subsequently produced in June 2013 a draft Council directive for comments by the European Economic and Social Committee. The draft directive aims to strengthen the role and independence of national authorities; enhance transparency; introduce new safety requirements, addressing issues across the entire life cycle of nuclear installations; reinforce monitoring and exchange of experience; and enable the development of EU-wide guidelines. The Government said that the proposal could result in restrictions on member states, with some safety decisions being taken centrally by the Commission, and that the focus should be instead on the proper implementation of the current directive. They also said that the proposal appeared to be inconsistent with the Euratom treaty, and to be driven by politics, rather than safety. The Commission subsequently adopted its earlier draft as a formal proposal, which gives rise to the same concerns. The Government also commented that the Commission’s impact assessment does not provide a fully balanced assessment of events following Fukushima and fails to demonstrate the benefits of the proposed change. As the Commission appears wedded to an approach containing a number of elements of significant concern, which would impose unacceptable constraints on member states in an important area, the European Scrutiny Committee considered it right for the House to consider the issues that the document raises at an early opportunity. It therefore recommended that the document be debated in European Committee A.
House of Lords 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Many of the arguments that were employed in favour of nuclear in the 1950s and 1960s as a solution to oil supplies running out are now being resurrected in favour of nuclear as a solution to climate change. But the promise of safe, clean and reasonably priced nuclear power seems as far away now as it was 60 years ago. We are still waiting for the safe, cheap and reliable reactor designs that were promised in 1956. For 60 years, nuclear engineers and operators have been promising safer and cheaper designs. By the early 2000s, the industry had recovered from memories of Chernobyl and was promising a fourth generation of standardised reactor designs with more passive safety features. Then Fukushima revealed a host of design flaws and unsafe operating practices, damaging public confidence.It is possible that large-scale nuclear power could offer part of the solution to global warming, just as it promised to avert Hubbert’s fears about peak oil. But the industry appears no nearer than it was then to building a favourable consensus or solving its cost and safety problems.
Reuters 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Lancaster University has been studying the effects of chronic long-term radiation on animals. This includes: “Severe effect on reproduction hatching and abnormal larvae (fish).” These test studies are backed up by findings in the real world. Many universities worldwide have been studying evidence from nuclear accidents: “Low-dose radiation has been known to have negative consequences for living beings for almost 100 years. Indeed, background radiation causes the death of tens of thousands of humans annually. These ‘natural’ effects may be exacerbated by the 23 nuclear accidents recorded during the last century”. Radiation Free Lakeland believe Sellafield to be the equivalent of an ongoing accident with routine releases of radiation to sea, air and groundwaters.
Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Four options to deal with radioactive contamination on the beach at Dalgety Bay in Fife have been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence. The first option listed in the document is to put up a fence and warning signs to keep people out. Other proposals include excavating the area or building stronger sea defences. The report said the preferred option would be chosen after further detailed appraisal and consultation. However it said a likely preferred solution would be the optimised option involving keeping people out with fences, modifying some of the pathways and excavating the material from some areas.
BBC 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
A rail freight wagon carrying nuclear waste was derailed at a depot in Drancy, 3 km northeast of Paris on 23 December 2013. The wagon carried spent fuel from the Nogent nuclear power plant destined for AREVA’s reprocessing plant at La Hague in Normandy. Although no leakage of radiation was measured at the accident location, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) reported that subsequent testing by AREVA revealed a hotspot on the rail car that delivered a dose of 56 microsievert. An investigation into the origin of the contamination is underway. Wide concerns have been raised over nuclear transports in the UK this year. Councilors are being urged to object to plans to transport 70 lorry loads of nuclear waste from the Oldbury nuclear power plant site in South Gloucestershire to Hinkley Point in Somerset, both in the south west of England. The NDA argues the move makes financial sense and is safe. Approximately 144 tons of the nuclear waste would be transported between the two sites from 2020 to 2022, the NDA said. At the other end of the UK, discussions are underway about how to move 26 tons of “exotic fuel”, including plutonium and highly-enriched uranium, from the UKAEA’s Dounreay site in Caithness, on Scotland’s northern shore, to the NDA’s Sellafield complex in Cumbria.
International Panel on Fissile Materials 21st Jan 2014 read more »
The UK’s energy industry is in trouble with the public. The reasons seem pretty simple: energy prices continue to skyrocket, while media reports claim profits are skyrocketing. So what can polling tell us about trust in the energy industry – and how could the companies that provide our heat and light regain it? It’s worth noting that trust in governments and institutions has dipped all over the world, Edelman’s survey reveals – but mistrust in the energy sector has a much longer history. Efforts to rebuild relations so far – such as the green levy cut – appear to have failed because they don’t address the problems people identify. For government and the big six to start making headway with people, they could do worse than listening to what people want.
Carbon Brief 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Binding national targets on renewable energy are expected to be dropped from new EU proposals due to be unveiled on Wednesday. The UK has lobbied hard to have the mandatory 2030 target watered down, saying it would drive up energy bills. The EU executive will also outline a goal on emissions cuts for 2030, set to be 35 or 40% below 1990 levels. But green groups said the proposals lacked ambition and were the acts of a “burnt out” Commission. Seven years ago, the EU set out a three-pronged energy and climate strategy for 2020. Emissions of greenhouse gases were to be cut by 20%, energy efficiency was to be improved by a similar amount and one fifth of all energy had to come from renewable resources.
BBC 21st Jan 2014 read more »
The European Commission is to ditch legally-binding renewable energy targets after 2020 in a major U-turn and admission that the policy has failed industry and consumers by driving up electricity bills. A Brussels paper on the European Union’s “2030 framework for climate and energy” will instead propose binding targets to reduce carbon emissions without imposing requirements on how the reductions are made. The climbdown on setting mandatory national targets, enforced in the EU courts, will be welcomed by Britain, which argued to allow countries to keep the choice of how best to reduce CO2 emissions as a matter of national sovereignty.
Telegraph 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
A coalition of green businesses have made a last ditch attempt to convince the European Commission to include an energy saving target in its 2030 climate change package, warning failure to do so would undermine both the economic recovery and efforts to slash carbon emissions. Executives from 20 businesses and organisations, including Siemens, Velux, Schneider Electric and Opower, yesterday wrote to Commission President José Manuel Barroso, arguing that a binding energy efficiency target would be the EU’s most effective tool for boosting energy security, strengthening the economy, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Business Green 21st Jan 2014 read more »
The European Union has been a world leader in establishing binding targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building up renewable energy supplies. But as officials in Brussels unveil a new energy strategy, questions are being asked about Europe’s commitment to combatting climate change. Key issues to be announced by the Commission are 2030 targets for reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and the renewables share of the EU’s energy mix and – crucially – whether these targets will be made legally binding on states within the union. Measures aimed at achieving greater energy efficiency within the EU will also form part of the new package.
Climate News Network 21st Jan 2014 read more »
EUROPE will undermine international efforts to tackle climate change if it does not set strong targets on emissions and energy for 2030, campaigners have warned. The European ÂCommission is set to unveil a series of proposals for addressing climate change up to 2030 today, including a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions across the EU, which is expected to be around 40% on 1990 levels. But in the face of lobbying from countries including the UK, there are concerns the commission will not set out binding targets for countries to increase the percentage of energy they source from renewables.
Herald 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
Negotiations over landmark targets for greenhouse gas emissions in Europe are continuing , just hours before their planned publication on Wednesday. At stake is whether the EU opts for a 35% or 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and whether the block sets a firm target for renewable energy generation. The UK government is strongly opposed to a target for renewable energy generation, and its opposition has led to the impasse.
Guardian 21st Jan 2013 read more »
Ukraine – nuclear safety
Electricity prices in Ukraine are expected to double to help pay for a series of safety upgrades to old Soviet nuclear power stations, according to a leaked report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). EBRD, a public sector bank investing in Eastern Europe and elsewhere on behalf of 64 countries and the European Union, last year announced a €300 million loan to the Ukrainian state nuclear power company, Energoatom. It is the largest nuclear safety loan the bank has made. The loan is to help implement up to 87 improvements to each of the country’s 15 electricity-generating reactors, which were built in the 1970s and 1980s. The improvements, aimed at complying with today’s international safety standards, include new equipment, new controls and organisational overhauls. Details, however, have been kept secret by the EBRD but a leaked copy reveals that major price increases are part of the package. The 105-page report forecasts that the price of electricity in Ukraine will increase from 27.1 kopeks per kilowatt/hour in 2012 to 54.4 kopeks per kilowatt/hour in 2020. “Significant tariff increases will be required for Energoatom,” it says.
Euractiv 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Rob Edwards 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Germany – Energiewende
On Wednesday, the German government is to discuss the new proposals for energy policy revisions. The focus is on price. Craig Morris back-calculated what needs to be done to hit the government’s official targets, for instance for 2020.
Renew Economy 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
Germany’s transition to renewable energy has strained Europe’s largest economy to its limit, the economy minister said on Tuesday, as he outlined reforms to a subsidy scheme that costs business and consumers 24bn euros a year. Sigmar Gabriel, the economy and energy minister, said Germany had to focus on the cheapest sources of clean energy in order to rein in costs or risk losing public support for such policies. Mr Gabriel said he would begin talks with utilities about special payments designed to ensure that they maintained gas power plants and other conventional sources of energy that have suffered because of the emphasis on renewables.
FT 21st Jan 2014 read more »
India – Solar
India added just over 1 gigawatt of solar energy to its electrical grid last year, a major milestone that nearly doubles the country’s cumulative solar energy capacity to 2.18 gigawatts. After a slow start to the year, solar installation picked up rapidly — a good sign that India will be able to meet its ambitious solar targets going forward. India hopes to install 10 GW of solar by 2017 and 20 GW by 2022.
Climate Progress 21st Jan 2014 read more »
India – nuclear
The commercial operation of the first 1,000 MW atomic power plant at Kudankulam got further delayed and is expected to happen in February, the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) said.
DNA 16th Jan 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Fukushima Crisis Update 17th to 20th Jan. A new leak of contaminated water has been found at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Officials for TEPCO, the plant’s operator, say the water is leaking from a 30-centimeter opening on the first floor of the reactor #3 building and into the basement. “The leaked water is highly likely to have come from the water that was already used to cool fuel rods, and not from leaked rainwater or cooling water (on its way to the reactor),” a TEPCO official said.
Greenpeace 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Japan – radwaste
Japanese government to pick site for Fukushima radioactive waste disposal.
Cumbria Trust 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
US – enrichment
Tucked into the $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill racing toward passage in Congress this week is a provision sending tens of millions of dollars to a uranium enrichment company that just last month announced it is filing for bankruptcy.
CNN 16th Jan 2014 read more »
US – Solar
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will send that power across California, the Golden State, early this year, becoming the largest solar plant in the world to concentrate the sun’s rays to produce electricity. Such utility-sized solar plants are beginning to appear across the US, with 232 under construction, in testing or granted permits, many in the south-west and California, says the Edison Electric Institute, which represents utilities. The scale of the largest plants is difficult to imagine in the eastern part of the country, where a relative lack of available open land and unobstructed sunlight have limited solar facilities to perhaps a tenth the size of the West’s plants. In the west, ample sun, wide-open spaces, financial incentives, falling costs and state mandates have made big solar plants possible.
Guardian 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Reformists who supported the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last year fear his focus on improving relations with the West will prevent him from pushing for greater political and cultural freedoms at home.
Reuters 22nd Jan 2014 read more »
Fewer households applying for assessments under government’s flagship energy-saving scheme The number of households applying for a government-promoted energy-saving scheme has fallen by a fifth in the last month, as the green deal programme continues to falter. The number of households applying for assessments under the green deal fell by 21% in December, compared with the previous month, to just over 12,000. Assessments are no guarantee that the measures will be taken up.
Edie 21st Jan 2014 read more »
The government has today been urged to “wake up” to the continuing difficulties faced by its Green Deal energy efficiency scheme, after new official figures showed just 1,612 households had Green Deal Plans in progress as of the end of December. The latest monthly statistical update confirms the number of Green Deal assessments has continued to rise, climbing from 117,454 to 129,388 during December. The increase in assessments was 21 per cent lower than that achieved in November, but officials said the slowdown was likely to be a result of the Christmas holiday period.
Business Green 21st Jan 2014 read more »
The number of households applying for a government-promoted energy-saving scheme has fallen by a fifth in the last month, as the green deal programme continues to falter. The number of households applying for assessments under the green deal fell by 21% in December, compared with the previous month, to just over 12,000. Assessments are no guarantee that the measures will be taken up. The government said the reduction in the number of assessments was due to the Christmas break, but winter is the prime time for households to consider insulation.
Guardian 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Clean Technology firms are today being invited to bid for a share of a new £11m funding programme designed to support the development of localised smart grid and energy storage technologies. Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced the government and industry-backed Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to jointly fund the new programme, which aims to generate a “cross sector approach” to localised energy systems.
Business Green 20th Jan 2014 read more »