Letter Jo Brown: I am writing on behalf of Parents Concerned About Hinkley in response to the comments made by the Government minister Amber Rudd. She said that opponents of nuclear misread the science as it is safe and reliable and the challenge, as with other low carbon technologies, is to deliver nuclear power which is low cost as well. It is Amber Rudd who is behind the times in understanding nuclear science. Since the government decided that public health detriment from exposure to nuclear radiation was justified we have provided new evidence of individual radionuclide health impact from the US Environmental Protection Agency; evidence that There is No Safe Dose of Nuclear Radiation Exposure from NIRS – Nuclear Information Resource Service and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Bridgwater Mercury 21st Nov 2015 read more »
EDF are fond of saying they will be creating 25,000 new jobs in the Bridgwater area over the next few years but at the moment for many firms there’s a period of waiting before things really happen. One company that has been busy working for the French energy giant and will be gearing up for the next surge of activity once Hinkley C is finally given the go-ahead is Plantforce. “I slept on the doorway of the main buyer for Kier Bam for about six months,” said Geoff Wyatt, Plant Force’s project manager with a smile. “It was to build a relationship with the joint venture construction company who are involved with the building of Hinkley C. We supply either self-drive diggers or driver operated diggers. Our digger operators are all employed by us and have to go through a security process for EDF which can take about four or five weeks. Mostly they are local men (we are keen to employ women as well) and they meet at J24 at about 6.30am and are taken to Hinkley by bus.”
Bridgwater Mercury 21st Nov 2015 read more »
Over reliance on China leaves us vulneable. Britain’s reliance on “unreliable partners” such as China for key elements of national infrastructure such as Hinkley Point C could leave the country dangerously vulnerable, MPs have warned.Ahead of the publication of the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) on Monday, the Commons Defence Committee highlighted a series of weaknesses which it said must be addressed. It highlighted “serious reservations” about Chinese investment in critical UK infrastructure, including one third ownership of the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant being built by the French company EDF. “While foreign investment in capital projects has a positive impact on the UK economy, such investments may open up vulnerabilities in our infrastructure,” the report said.
Western Daily Press 21st Nov 2015 read more »
It makes obvious sense to cut the subsidies on wind and solar, even if this apparent U-turn has added further uncertainty to an industry whose continued investment demands incentives and long term planning. Unbridled pursuit of renewable energy goals was locking consumers into some punishingly high prices. This profligacy with customers’ money had to be addressed, so full marks to Ms Rudd for that. It also makes sense to shift as rapidly as possible from coal to gas – where emissions are roughly half – as a primary source of base load power. In any event, carbon taxes and high business rates look set to render coal uneconomic well before the 2025 deadline. What Ms Rudd has yet adequately to explain, however, is how the Government is going to persuade the industry to invest in all those new gas fired generators. Estimates by Jefferies put the cost of plugging the gap left by coal at a whopping £70bn, including £22bn for Hinkley Point C. Simply requiring coal to be phased out and expecting the industry naturally to fill the void won’t hack it, a point Ms Rudd seemed to acknowledge in saying that coal would be given a stay of executive if gas had not by then stepped up to the plate. nobody would willingly build new gas fired capacity knowing that it will be needed for only short periods of time as back-up for intermittent renewables. Without subsidy, or exceptionally high prices when generating, it makes no sense. Besides its humongous costs, the present trajectory also looks set to deliver an energy system whose supply potential is vastly bigger than what’s actually needed. To ensure the required level of overcapacity, consumers would be forced to pay through the nose. However much Ms Rudd might wish it otherwise, the stupidities of UK energy policy are never going to be far from the headlines.
Telegraph 21st Nov 2015 read more »
FORMER energy secretary Ed Davey has claimed he spent much of his time in office “compensating for the stupidity of the chancellor”. He ran the Department of Energy & Climate Change for three years until May, when voters deserted his Liberal Democrat party at the general election. The former MP for Kingston and Surbiton became the first Cabinet minister to lose his seat since 1997. Since then Davey, 49, has launched his own energy consultancy and taken a role as chairman of community power scheme developer Mongoose Energy. He expressed dismay at moves the Tories have made now they are free of their coalition partners. The deep cuts to renewable energy susbidies were a “travesty” that will “take Britain back to the 1980s”, he said. Davey also spoke of his battles with George Osborne, who sought to limit subsidies for low-carbon technologies, such as solar and wind power. He said: “The idea that he was green was just a joke. He fought it every step of the way.” Last week Amber Rudd, his successor, laid out her vision for Britain’s energy mix, which relies on nuclear and gas. Davey branded the policy as incompetent. “But to be fair to Amber, it was written by Treasury,” he said.
Sunday Times 22nd Nov 2015 read more »
A week before the long awaited talks on climate change, a Labour frontbencher has expressed concerns that the Paris conference will provide a false dawn in Britain’s contribution to combating global warming. Lisa Nandy, the shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, told The Independent on Sunday: “I think David Cameron will be very conscious that he has to stand on the world stage and say the right things, but I’m really worried about what will happen after Paris.” She said she believed a deal will be achieved, but that domestically the British government’s policies are going in the wrong direction. Nandy says there is a false dichotomy in Tory thinking – “they seem to have decided you can’t cut energy bills and take on climate change, you either look after the poorest people here or on the other side of the world” – and says the Government should be taking advantage of local initiatives. Citing a number of small-scale projects, some of which have fallen victim to recent cuts, she sees great possibilities in “democratising energy” schemes, as developed in Oldham, Nottingham, Plymouth and Brixton, whether under the auspices of local authorities or entrepreneurs or crowdsourcing, or all of them. She berates the Tories for their wastefulness in supporting the Hinkley C plan (though endorsing nuclear power), takes a non-ideological position on fracking if backed locally (but demands a return of the environmental safeguards that the Tories ditched after the election).
Independent on Sunday 22nd Nov 2015 read more »
After a grilling by MPs about her leaked letter, which revealed that the UK would miss its legally binding targets for carbon emission reductions by 25 per cent, the pressure was on Amber Rud d to fill the policy vacuum created by undoing 20 years of work in only her first weeks in office. Disappointingly, the speech and later parliamentary questions served up only a half-baked, Treasury sponsored programme, 20 years past its sell-by date. Perhaps Oasis’s Britpop classic made a lasting impression on the minister, as we were treated to a series of “definitely maybe” policy aspirations cut and pasted from the 1990s – dash for gas, no action to bring down the costs of nuclear, and the absence of measures on energy efficiency or clear direction for what will be the biggest generator of energy in the UK by 2020 – renewables. All she could offer was a coal-fired fig leaf so her boss didn’t walk into the climate talks naked. Ms Rudd’s reference to getting rid of a “Blairite” renewables policy and her desire to unleash “Thatcherite” unfettered capitalism suggests that she needs to read her briefing on 20th-century energy policy a bit further to see how it end s. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t end well for bill-payers. Critics in the industry see Ms Rudd as being unable or unwilling to stop Treasury interference in energy policy. She talks about an energy “trilemma” (low carbon, low cost and security of supply), but fails to see that when you are stuck in a hole it is a good time to stop digging (or fracking). Renewables offer the minister a way out but she seems determined to ignore the answer staring her in the face, instead making a risky 40-year bet on future energy security. Rather than encourage the creation of a world-leading renewables industry that uniquely has support from 75-80 per cent of British people, she wants to bring back a reliance on gas generation for our electricity supply. Ignoring the fact that the plants themselves and the pipeline infrastructure will take years and billions of pounds to build, they also place the security of 33 per cent of our gas supply (and energy bills) in the hands of that old softie Vladimir Putin. Those who remember the price hikes of the 2000s will know the cost of letting unfettered capitalist oligarchs get their claws into your energy supply.
Independent on Sunday 22nd Nov 2015 read more »
BRITAIN’S green energy barons are getting huge taxpayer subsidies to install diesel generators — exactly the kind of polluting energy source their wind and solar farms are meant to replace. Wind and solar power firms are being encouraged to install the generators, which pour out CO2, a greenhouse gas, and toxic nitrogen dioxide, on their sites in order to provide standby generating capacity and prevent the lights going out during periods of peak demand. The giant Roundponds solar farm, near Melksham, Wiltshire, is among the first green generators to take advantage. The directors of Hive Energy, which owns it, have won permission to put diesel generators near the solar panels — despite local objections. Similarly, First Renewable has won permission for a diesel farm next to its wind turbines and solar panels at Kettering Energy Park in Northamptonshire.
Sunday Times 22nd Nov 2015 read more »
Islamic State (Isis) has set its sights on obtaining a rare and incredibly expensive lethal substance called Red Mercury that can make nuclear bombs as small as a sandwich bag, but there’s only one problem – it doesn’t exist.
IB Times 21st Nov 2015 read more »
The building of a new nuclear college in west Cumbria has taken a step closer. Plans to build The National College for Nuclear (NCfN) on land next to the Lakes College in Lillyhall, near Workington, have been filed with Allerdale Council. It is part of a Government strategy to tackle a future national skills shortage within the nuclear industry.
Carlisl News and Star 21st Nov 2015 read more »
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been accused of making money from weapons of mass destruction after it was named as the biggest financial backer of nuclear bombs in the UK. New international analysis by disarmament groups reveals that over the last four years RBS has lent £4.5 billion to 21 major companies involved in nuclear weapons in the UK, the US, France and India. They include firms that work on the Trident weapons systems, such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Jacobs Engineering and Serco.
Herald 22nd Nov 2015 read more »
Renewables – Geothermal
Central Belt coalmines could offer up deep heat for Scotland’s homes. Major research into whether Scotland’s old coal mines can deliver low cost heating to hundreds of homes is now underway. The Scottish Government earlier awarded around £200,000 to four projects across Scotland to research the potential of turning the thermal energy stored deep in the ground into clean electricity. An abandoned mine at Hartwood in North Lanarkshire is amongst projects being examined for the potential use of geothermal energy in Scotland. Paul Steen, associate director of Ramboll Energy, has been involved in the Hartwood research The heat is pulled out by pumps which work like fridges, concentraing heat energy from the water in the mines that is naturally warmed by the earth’s crust. It is then stored before being distributed to homes through a district heating network.
Scotsman 20th Nov 2015 read more »
The world could be powered almost entirely by clean, renewable energy sources in the space of a few decades, and two engineers in the US say they’ve have figured out exactly how it can be done. Blueprints for 139 countries around the world, including the US, Japan, and Australia, break down exactly how many wind turbines, solar farms, hydroelectric dams, and other facilities are required to cover each nation’s personal, business, industry, agriculture, and transport power needs, and how much it would cost. They’ll be presented to leaders of 195 nations at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, starting on November 30, where a binding and universal agreement on climate will be set.
Science Alert 20th Nov 2015 read more »
MORE than £840,000 worth of share purchases have been snapped up in a community-owned city solar farm project – aiming to be the biggest in the UK. Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative is now more than half way to reaching its £1.4 million funding target – with several leading names in the city heading the charge. Council leader Andrew Burns, renewable energy firm Locogen and Edinburgh Zoo, are all pledging to buy a stake. And members of the community have also pledged their support with as little as £250 to become a share holder.
Edinburgh Evening News 21st Nov 2015 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 20th Nov 2015 read more »
“I launched the business three years ago. I’d been an ecologist specialising in bats and it dawned on me how many people have chimneys that are draining the heat out of their homes; it’s basically like leaving a window open. ”My market research consisted of looking up a lot of chimneys, but you can quickly see how big this market can be. Two-thirds of the housing stock is pre-1960s and most of those homes have chimneys. “I talked to a local firm in Cumbria which specialises in insulation made from wool – our local Herdwick sheep. I used similar techniques to develop our product. It’s a felt circular plug that you can fit inside the flue to prevent heat escaping.
Independent 20th Nov 2015 read more »