The planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be outpaced by cheaper, lower-carbon energy sources that will render it largely obsolete within a decade of opening, new University College London analysis indicates. The analysis, based on National Grid’s own energy scenarios, shows that by 2030 wind and solar energy sources will, for increasing periods of the year, be meeting all the UK’s electricity needs. With Hinkley not expected to begin operating until well into the 2020s, the plant is likely to be directly competing with more environmentally-friendly, and often much cheaper, energy sources – effectively tying the British consumer and taxpayer to an increasingly obsolete and irrelevant source of energy. The findings suggest Hinkley Point could only operate at ‘baseload’ if it forces these renewables sources off the system. Otherwise, it would have to reduce its own output, which could strain its operation and reduce its promised revenues. This means that for decades British consumers will be tied to using energy that is far more expensive than readily-available renewable sources like wind and solar. The UCL analysis even shows that by 2030, for growing periods of the year renewable sources will be able to solely fulfil demand. This starts to happen when around 30% of electricity is generated from wind and 10% from solar. The National Grid has suggested this could be easily met by 2030 – and the UK Secretary of State has indicated that the UK expects to achieve around 35% of electricity from renewables overall by just 2020.
UCL Energy Institute 16th Sept 2016 read more »
James Murray: my reluctance to join the chorus of disapproval aimed at the government over the ‘worst decision in UK energy policy history’ (trademark: virtually every respected energy analyst and environmental commentator going) is genuine. It is also a little disconcerting given I still agree with so many of the critiques slamming the project and admire so many of the experts doing the slamming. As Michael Liebreich has argued, it is eye wateringly expensive. AsTom Burke has argued, there are better alternatives available. And as Caroline Lucas has argued, there is still no long term solution to nuclear’s waste legacy. I am still hugely concerned the failure of EDF to deliver the EPR reactor on time and on budget through its last two attempts means the chances of further delays and cost overruns in Somerset are far higher than they should be. And I am also pretty confident the project’s many critics will be proved right when they predict Hinkley Point will be judged by history as an absurdly costly white elephant. Just as the most recent wave of large scale renewables projects enabled by the government’s FID contracts were left looking like the beneficiaries of overly generous subsidies as the global renewables cost reduction curve continued downwards, by the time Hinkley Point comes online it is highly likely it will have been overtaken by events. As I have argued previously the paradox of Hinkley Point is we are going to build it to deliver clean energy at the same time as striving to prove the alternatives are now so mature we never needed it in the first place. Despite its serious flaws there are good green reasons for welcoming Hinkley Point and the positive role it could yet play in the UK’s decarbonisation journey. The project promises to deliver significant emissions reductions and has helped to underscore the new government’s commitment to clean technology. It may eat into the budget for renewables, but it is also another major blow to the fossil fuel industry.
Business Green 21st Sept 2016 read more »
A NEW power station at Bradwell has moved a step closer after a similar project in Somerset was given the green light. Last year EDF Energy signed heads of terms – principles which precede a contract – with China General Nuclear Power Corporation for Bradwell B. The Chinese firm will provide two-thirds of development costs and hopes to begin work by 2023. Up to 25,000 jobs will be created during construction. Blackwater against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has been campaigning against a new power station, saying the site is unsuitable. A spokesman for BANNG said: “Bradwell is the site of an irration- al and irresponsible dalliance with danger for us and the generations to follow. “Experts have shown that nuclear is not needed and indeed it will commit the UK to an outmoded system of supply.” But East Anglian MEP Vicky Ford, who visited Bradwell last year said she was encouraged by the news. She said: “Nuclear will play a vital part to our long-term energy mix and is key to the UK’s energy security strategy. I am pleased to see the Hinkley deal approved which sets the scene for future progress in the East.”
Clacton & Frinton Gazette 21st Sept 2016 read more »
PROPOSALS for a new power station in Essex have been backed by MPs as a similar project in Somerset is given the green light. Plans for a new power station at Bradwell-on-Sea have moved a step closer following the approval of a new £18billion nuclear plant in Hinkley Point in Somerset, which will be financed by both the French and Chinese governments. Chinese state-owned firm CGN, which is helping to build the Somerset plant, has stated the approval means it is now “able to move forward and deliver” a new plant at Bradwell. Simon Burns, Tory MP for Chelmsford welcomed the news. He said: “We have got to protect our energy supply and make sure we don’t lose any power. “Our energy sources should be mixed. “Bradwell over the past years was a provider of our nuclear energy and I see no problem with it starting up again with the next generation of nuclear power. “There is also the potential that it could create jobs in the area. “We have had a nuclear power station there before, on exactly the same site, and there was no (safety) problems with it.” But the news has dismayed members of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group, which has been campaigning against a new power station at Bradwell. A spokesman for the group said: “Bradwell is the site of an irrational and irresponsible dalliance with danger for us and the generations to follow.
Chelmsford Weekly News 21st Sept 2016 read more »
The energy secretary, Greg Clark, is in Carlisle today to attend a conference which aims to promote the nuclear industry in Cumbria. Delegates will be asked to look at how local businesses can be included in any future developments.
ITV 22nd Sept 2016 read more »
Hundreds of key players in the nuclear industry are in Carlisle today for the first-ever Cumbria Nuclear Conference.
Whitehaven News 22nd Sept 2016 read more »
In Cumbria 22nd Sept 2016 read more »
Saturday’s flight was the first movement of material held at the Caithness plant to the US since an announcement in February. David Cameron, who was prime minister at the time, said the UK and US governments had agreed to an exchange of nuclear materials. He said the UK would receive a type of uranium used to diagnose cancer. But Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd has criticised the weekend’s flight and the level of secrecy surrounding the handling of nuclear material at Dounreay. She said there should not be a need for an exchange of nuclear material, and the UK should be able to purchase what it requires for medical diagnoses. During the 1990s, nuclear material was sent from abroad to Dounreay for reprocessing. The customers included power plants and research centres in Australia, Germany and Belgium. Under the UK-US deal signed earlier this year, highly-enriched uranium (HEU) stored at Dounreay is being sent to the US. Saturday’s flight took place under tight security from Wick John O’Groats Airport, which is about 30 miles (48km) from the Dounreay nuclear site. It involved a US military Boeing C-17 transport aircraft.
BBC 19th Sept 2016 read more »
Uranium Hexafluoride is highly toxic, radioactive, corrosive to most metals, and reacts violently with water. One of the questions we have been asking since the Close Capenhurst Campaign was established is just how much Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride is stored at the URENCO Capenhurst site. The best answer we have received is ‘A vast Quantity’, which is also the only way we have been able to describe it. We just don’t know. Although one recent article stated that it is some 60,000 tonnes. This is exactly what we want to know.
Close Capenhurst 21st Sept 2016 read more »
The United States could alleviate growing stockpiles of nuclear waste at U.S. power plants by allowing private companies to dispose of it and foster support for new nuclear projects, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Cumbria Trust 22nd Sept 2016 read more »
ENGINEERING giant Amec Foster Wheeler has opened a new laboratory at its Birchwood Park, Warrington base to research advanced energy systems of the future. The High Temperature Facility, built with a £2m grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will provide open access for research organisations to test materials for applications such as Generation IV nuclear fission, nuclear fusion and advanced gas turbines.
Business Desk 21st Sept 2016 read more »
The Government’s decision to approve the new nuclear plant last week is merely a “starting point” and “there remain significant risks to the delivery”, the CCC said in a statement this week. Although the Committee is focused on the country’s carbon budgets and “does not comment on specific projects”, it does monitor their efficacy, it added. “It has taken about 10 years to get the project at Hinkley Point to its current stage. Over that period, estimates of total cost have risen and the time required to realise the project has increased.” Completing the project on time and on budget will require oversight by “successive governments, parliaments and public and private sector bodies,” CCC said. “A prudent energy policy will involve sufficient investment across low-carbon technologies to ensure that power output and carbon targets can be met given the risk of delays at Hinkley. The Committee said there are “a number of ways” in which new nuclear could help to cut emissions, but there are also “many mixes” of low-carbon technologies which could be used to decarbonise the power sector. It continued: “These will all require a combination of demand-side flexibility, storage, interconnection, and modern transmission and distribution networks to deliver them at least cost. It is crucial that these are pursued with vigour, alongside spending on nuclear.”
Edie 21st Sept 2016 read more »
There is a long-standing debate over price vs. quantity approaches to supporting the deployment of renewable electricity technologies. In the context of a recent shift from quantity to price-based support, the UK has also introduced a new form of budgetary framework, the Levy Control Framework (LCF). The introduction of the LCF has been very important for investors but has received relatively little attention in the academic literature. The paper gives an overview of the LCF, explores its effects on renewables policy, on consumers and on investor confidence arguing that an unintended consequence of its introduction has been to increase uncertainty, through interactions with underlying support mechanisms. A number of problems with the current scope and design of the LCF are noted. It is argued that the LCF is best understood as aimed at avoiding a political backlash against renewable support policy in a context where the benefits of such policy are concentrated economically and socially. The paper concludes by placing the LCF within a wider context of a shift towards greater budgetary control over renewable energy support policy across European countries.
IGov 21st Sept 2016 read more »
Governing for Innovation Without Disruption in Energy Systems
IGov 21st Sept 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
The effects the UK-wide vote to leave the EU will have on Scotland’s energy sector will be discussed at the first of two summits today in Edinburgh. Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse will meet with key sector stakeholders to hear more about the challenges presented by the EU referendum vote, and ensure the Scottish Government is doing all it can to help. Mr Wheelhouse will set out plans for the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Climate Change Plan and Energy Strategy, canvassing industry opinion on the best joint way forward to navigate current uncertainty.
Edinburgh Reporter 21st Sept 2016 read more »
The government decided to cut its losses Wednesday on the ¥1 trillion Monju fast-breeder reactor, pulling the plug on the project after years of mishaps, cover-ups and waste. At an extraordinary meeting, the Cabinet decided to decommission the idle facility in Fukui Prefecture but reaffirmed a national commitment to obtaining a nuclear fuel cycle. At the end of the Cabinet meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government will set up an expert panel on fast-breeder reactor issues that will “carry out an overall revision of the Monju project, including its decommissioning” by the end of this year. Fast-breeder reactors like Monju are designed to produce more plutonium than they consume. The government has long envisioned them as playing a role in the nation’s nuclear profile. During the same meeting, the government also pledged to draw up a road map of developing “demonstration fast reactors” by the end of the year.
Japan Times 21st Sept 2016 read more »
How did the Germans convince their politicians to pass laws allowing citizens to make their own energy, even when it hurt utility companies to do so? Energy Democracy traces the origins of the Energiewende movement in Germany from protests against the industrialization of rural communities in the 1970s to the Power Rebels of Schönau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shutdown of eight nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. The authors explore how, by taking ownership of energy efficiency at a local level, community groups became key actors in the bottom-up fight against climate change. Individually, citizens might install solar panels on their roofs, but citizen groups can do much more: community wind farms, local heat supply, walkable cities and more. This book offers evidence that the transition to renewables is a one-time opportunity to strengthen communities and democratize the energy sector – in Germany and around the world.
Energy Democracy (accessed) 22nd Sept 2016 read more »
China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth next year, fuelling concerns that Chinese space authorities have lost control of the 8.5-tonne module. The Tiangong-1 or “Heavenly Palace” lab was described as a “potent political symbol” of China’s growing power when it was launched in 2011 as part of an ambitious scientific push to turn China into a space superpower.
Guardian 21st Sept 2016 read more »
The nuclear bomb convoys that shuttle across the country have reported 43 safety incidents in the last three years, according to Ministry of Defence (MoD) reports published by The Ferret. The hitherto unknown mishaps include three collisions and a series of breakdowns and equipment failures. They bring the total number of incidents that have plagued nuclear convoys to 180 since 2000. Brakes have failed, fuel has leaked and engines have overheated. The convoy has got lost and been delayed or diverted by bad weather, accidents and protests. On one occasion it had to cope with “dogs loose on the carriageway”. The SNP described the revelations as “chilling” and “shocking” and warned that communities were being put at risk. But the MoD insisted that the convoys were safe.
The Ferrett 21st Sept 2016 read more »
Nukes of Hazard 21st Sept 2016 read more »
Leeds City Council has teamed up with Robin Hood Energy to launch a new supplier for residents across Yorkshire.
Utility Week 21st Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Chile’s solar industry has expanded so quickly that it’s giving electricity away for free. Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator. While that may be good for consumers, it’s bad news for companies that own power plants struggling to generate revenue and developers seeking financing for new facilities.
Bloomberg 2nd June 2016 read more »
The Scotch Whisky Association said it had refreshed its Scotch Whisky Industry Environmental Strategy – first published in 2009 – and would look for manufacturers of the spirit to use energy sources such as anaerobic digestion and solar power. The new interim target of 40 per cent comes in addition to the long-term aim of reducing non-fossil fuel energy use to 80 per cent by 2050. Currently, 17 per cent of energy used in the whisky industry is generated from non-fossil fuels – up from just three per cent in 2008. Other guidelines include improving distilling water efficiency by 10 per cent and ensuring that no general waste from Scotch Whisky operations will go to landfill – both by 2020. Scotch whisky accounts for around a quarter of UK food and drink exports, generating £3.95 billion for the UK balance of trade.
Scotsman 21st Sept 2016 read more »
Herald 22nd Sept 2016 read more »
The on-site bio-energy plant commissioned one year ago by Diageo at its Glendullan distillery in Speyside is helping lead the Scottish whisky industry’s drive for environmental sustainability and carbon reduction. The Clearfleau anaerobic digestion (AD-power) plant has delivered a 25% reduction in fossil fuel energy demand at the distillery, saving Diageo significant costs and reducing its carbon footprint by 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Over the past 12 months, anaerobic digestion at the Dufftown distillery has converted approximately 1,000m3 per day of malt whisky distillery co-products into renewable energy. This is about 1 million m3 of biogas per year – producing 6000 MW hours of thermal energy for the distillery.
Scottish Energy News 22nd Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – wind
THE UISENIS WIND FARM on the Isle of Lewis has been bought by Amec Foster Wheeler and EDF Energy Renewables, whose parent company secured the Hinkley Point C nuclear facility, in a joint takeover. Set to be the biggest green energy project in the Western isles it has already received planning consent for 45 turbines that will be capable of generating enough electricity to power over 124,000 homes. The joint project, which will be called Lewis Wind Power (LWP), will be added to another EDF part owned acquisition, the Stornoway Wind Farm project which is 20km north of Uisenis.
Commonspace 20th Sept 2016 read more »
A coal-burning power station in Wales repeatedly violated pollution controls for nitrogen oxide emissions, the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg has ruled. It ordered the UK to pay the European commission’s legal costs after ruling that Aberthaw power station, near Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, should not have been allowed to exceed specially negotiated pollution limits. The decision prompted calls from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for the power station to be shut permanently on health grounds. The government had argued that the plant, which opened in 1971, was continuing to make investments to bring down the amount of nitrogen oxide it put into the atmosphere. The ECJ, however, ruled a higher emissions threshold the government had granted to Aberthaw should not have been allowed because of the quality of “low-volatile” opencast Welsh coal being burned.
Guardian 21st Sept 2016 read more »