Delays in fixing the price for energy from the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is putting Britain’s nuclear industry at risk, energy experts have warned. Eighteen leading nuclear scientists say plans for five new plants by 2030 could fail because of a lack of progress on the first of the projects. Amyas Morse, the controller and auditor general of the audit office, has written to MPs suggesting that he may investigate a deal, potentially drawing the process out further. He said: “If the Government reaches agreement with EDF an audit could review the process and outcome of the negotiations and whether they have secured value for money.”
Western Daily Press 22nd April 2013 read more »
SLOW progress in negotiations between the Government and power giant EDF could cause plans to build a nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast to come crashing down, experts fear.
Ipswich Star 22nd April 2013 read more »
It has been under discussion for years but the sale of Britain’s stake in Urenco, the uranium enrichment company, is likely to be anything but straightforward. Urenco operates in one of the most sensitive parts of the nuclear industry: enriched uranium is used in civil power plants but also in atomic weapons, so any change in ownership will need to be tightly regulated to ensure security interests are protected. All three shareholder groups need to agree. The UK government, which owns a third of the company, first began to pursue a sale in 2007, but this was blocked by the Dutch government, which also owns a one third stake. Today, however, the economic crisis of the eurozone has prompted its owners to explore all ways to reduce debt and raise much-needed cash. RWE and Eon, the German utilities which jointly own the remaining third of the company, have wanted to sell their stake in Urenco since the German government decided to abandon atomic power.
FT 22nd April 2013 read more »
George Osborne is eyeing a privatisation windfall of up to £6bn after ministers confirmed that Urenco, the uranium enrichment company, would join Royal Mail in the queue of state-owned companies up for sale. The chancellor could use receipts from the two sales to fund capital projects – providing a much-needed boost to growth – or to pay down the national debt, Mr Osborne’s aides said. The sale of the one-third taxpayer stake in Urenco could raise up to £3bn, potentially more than the expected £2bn-Â£3bn from the Royal Mail privatisation. Both sales are expected to be concluded in the 2013-14 financial year.
FT 22nd April 2013 read more »
Telegraph 22nd April 2013 read more »
Independent 23rd April 2013 read more »
Times 23rd April 2013 read more »
ONE of Hartlepool Power Station’s two reactors remains shut down after a fire. EDF Energy, which runs the nuclear power station in Tees Road, Hartlepool, says there was an oil leak leading to a small fire on the lagging of a turbine. Ten fire engines from Hartlepool and across the region were called to the fire, along with the police and ambulance services. The fire was put out quickly, there were no injuries and emergency services said there was no risk to the public or staff. Steam was vented from generators as part of the plant’s safety procedures and police said smoke was drifting away from the area. The station is now in the process of reviewing any damage to the plant and will establish any repair programme required.
Hartlepool Mail 22nd April 2013 read more »
Controversy around Britain’s energy industry will intensify on Monday amid revelations that the former head of a low-tax-paying power provider has been hired to help oversee HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and a warning that a new price regime demanded by the regulator, Ofgem, could still mean consumers paying £55m more a year than they should. RWE npower was at the centre of a storm last week after admitting it had paid £2m, £3m and nothing in tax in the years 2009-2011, but now it transpires that Volker Beckers, its former boss, has been appointed as a non-executive director at the HMRC.
Guardian 22nd April 2013 read more »
FOR YEARS, European leaders have flaunted their unwavering commitment to fighting climate change — and chastised the United States for lagging behind. But last week brought yet more confirmation that the continent has become a green-energy basket case. Instead of a model for the world to emulate, Europe has become a model of what not to do. The centerpiece of the European Union’s climate plan — indeed, the only major climate policy that acts across all member countries — is a slowly declining continent-wide cap on emissions. By allowing companies to buy, sell and bank permits to pollute under that cap, the program puts a price on European carbon dioxide emissions. Designed properly, the scheme should encourage companies and consumers to reduce the carbon-intensity of the goods they purchase and invest in cleaner alternatives. But the Europeans didn’t design the policy properly. For a variety of reasons that E.U. officials should have anticipated, the market for carbon permits has all but collapsed. And in a Tuesday vote, the European Parliament rejected a slapdash rescue plan.
Washington Post 22nd April 2013 read more »
Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant halted cooling of a spent fuel pool at the site on Monday to remove two dead rats, the third time cooling equipment has gone offline in five weeks because of rodents.
Reuters 22nd April 2013 read more »
The German government wants to find a site to store nuclear waste – just not in Gorleben, for many years the preferred location. But many politicians are revisiting the battles of the past. It was a day to make Peter Altmaier happy. The sociable German environment minister is considered a bridge-builder, a Christian Democrat (CDU) who can do well with the environmental specialists of the opposition. Again and again he had invited leaders of the Greens and the Social Democrats (SPD) to his Berlin apartment to try to wine and dine them into a consensus on the vexed question of the nuclear waste repository in Germany. Finally, it worked.
Deutsche Welle 22nd April 2013 read more »
Security guards at Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA’s) Watts Bar nuclear power plant fired shots yesterday morning in an incident which is now under investigation.
World Nuclear News 22nd April 2013 read more »
The U.N. nuclear agency is talking with Iran to set a date for discussions on resuming an investigation there, it said on Monday, as Washington stressed the importance of diplomacy in ending a standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program.The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which wants to restart a long-stalled inquiry into suspected atomic bomb research, issued a brief statement after Iranian media reported that talks were set for May 21.
Reuters 22nd April 2013 read more »
At the beginning of March, the Norwegian government hosted a landmark conference in Oslo on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the inability of relief agencies to respond effectively in the event of a nuclear attack. More than 120 governments, the Red Cross and several UN agencies participated. Their message came through loud and clear: The only way to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again is to outlaw and eliminate them without further delay.Of the nine nuclear-armed states, only two — India and Pakistan — attended the Oslo conference. The permanent five members of the UN Security Council jointly boycotted the meeting, claiming that an emphasis on humanitarian consequences somehow diverted attention from the existing “step-by-step approach” to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. But multilateral treaty negotiations to advance a nuclear-weapon-free world have been at a standstill for more than a decade and a half. The last major accomplishment in this field was the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, which has still not entered into force.
Arab News 22nd April 2013 read more »
The plunge in the cost of wind and solar power that bankrupted more than two dozen manufacturers is forecast to spur a tripling of investment in renewables by 2030 and to reduce the grip fossil fuels have on world energy supply.
Bloomberg 22nd April 2013 read more »
Business Green 23rd April 2013 read more »
Global annual investment in renewable energy is set to grow by anywhere from two-and-a-half times to more than four-and-a-half times between now and 2030, leading to a future energy mix that would see renewables accounting for between 69-74 per cent of new power capacity added by 2030 worldwide, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The research, published today, suggests that the most likely scenario for the renewable energy market outlook – a scenario BNEF is calling the “New Normal” – will see a jump of 230 per cent, to $630 billion per year by 2030, driven by further improvements in the cost-competitiveness of wind and solar technologies, and an increase in the roll-out of non-intermittent clean energy sources like hydro, geothermal and biomass. The result will be renewable energy projects including wind, solar, hydro and biomass accounting for 70 per cent of new power generation capacity between 2012 and 2030, the report said. By 2030, it finds, renewables will account for half of the generation capacity worldwide, up from 28 percent last year.
Renew Economy 23rd April 2013 read more »
The launch of a feed-in tariff style scheme that provides financial support for households that install renewable heat technologies such as heat pumps, biomass boilers or solar thermal heaters has been delayed time and again, while the non-domestic component of the scheme has won plaudits from those firms that have taken advantage of the incentives, but has singularly failed to set the world alight. The long-running saga of the scheme’s introduction took another twist late last month with confirmation that the promised launch of the domestic part of the scheme would be delayed again until spring 2014, prompting some industry insiders to “sit back and question whether this is going to happen”. So why has the full introduction of the scheme been delayed again? Why has a commercial support scheme that offers attractive returns to businesses who install renewable heat technologies struggling to take off? And most importantly, how is the government planning to revive the fortunes of this flagship green policy? BusinessGreen sat down with Climate Minister Greg Barker to find out.
Business Green 22nd April 2013 read more »
Imagine you work in government and you’ve been asked to really slow down the development and growth of a new industry. How would you go about it? How about just outlawing it? You could pass a law that makes it illegal. Bit too obvious for your tastes? Perhaps not clever enough? Yes, you’re right. It could get messy, people might protest, take you to court, that kind of thing. OK then, how about about this? Why not announce a scheme that is going to actually pay a subsidy to people who buy the products this industry produces, but that its going to start in 12 months’ time. Anyone thinking of buying will wait for this scheme to start, so no one will buy anything this year. Then, just before you were going to launch it – delay it for another year. Then do the same again. And again. Genius!
Solar Blogger 20th April 2013 read more »
The financial returns for businesses installing renewable heat technologies are likely to increase from next year, after climate minister Greg Barker confirmed an upcoming consultation on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme will increase tariffs for some technologies. Speaking to BusinessGreen as part of a wide-ranging interview on the policy, Barker acknowledged the department had faced a series of technical and resource issues that have resulted in repeated delays to the introduction of the domestic RHI scheme. But he insisted the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) now had “a credible, sensible timetable for delivery of the policy” in place that will both bolster the appeal of the existing non-domestic RHI scheme and ensure the domestic part of the scheme is introduced next spring.
Business Green 22nd April 2013 read more »
A strain of bacteria has been created that can produce fuel, scientists say. Researchers genetically modified E. coli bacteria to convert sugar into an oil that is almost identical to conventional diesel. If the process could be scaled up, this synthetic fuel could be a viable alternative to the fossil fuel, the team said.
BBC 22nd April 2013 read more »
A NEW interactive map launched today shows thousands are employed in the energy sector across the Highlands and Islands.
Scotsman 23rd April 2013 read more »
Herald 23rd April 2013 read more »
Energy-saving smart meters could save Leeds residents almost £21m between now and 2019, according to new figures. According to British Gas and Oxford Economics, each of the city’s 320,000 homes could expect to save around £65 per year on bills thanks to the new smart meters. The devices, which will replace current gas and electricity meters, enable people to better monitor their energy usage and monitor its cost more effectively, making it easier to identify waste and save on bills.
Yorkshire Evening Post 19th April 2013 read more »
Despite rapid growth in low carbon generation, the increasing global use of coal has resulted in average unit of energy produced today being as dirty as it was 20 years ago – progress has stalled. We have far more fossil fuels that we can safely use, and maybe as little as 20% of current proven reserves can be used by 2050 if we want to avoid the worst affects on the climate. Yet companies, with political support for remuneration, tax cuts, etc, including within the UK, are being encouraged to recover yet more fossil fuels, conventionally and non-conventionally. Separate reports from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and by Clean Energy Pipeline have both recently highlighted how policy uncertainty is impacting investment. PWC have also highlighted how investors are assessing opportunities across multiple markets, suggesting the UK is not giving the right policy signals to attract investment; that there are on-going uncertainties around support for renewables and that the on-going uncertainties supporting the CfDs in the energy bill need to be resolved. The first REA survey of confidence within the renewables sector also shows clear concerns over CfDs for the renewables sector, as well as how the lack of a 2030 emissions target will not send the right signals to attract investment. A lack of confidence is stifling investment, making the cost and timing of the necessary, and inevitable, low carbon transition more difficult; it is also driving up the cost of capital, making what does happen more expensive.
IGov 22nd April 2013 read more »
A report from the Grantham Institute and the Carbon Tracker initiative, titled “Unburnable Carbon”, has produced a studied silence from the energy industry. The study, published last week, is privately being dismissed as the predictable conclusions of people who don’t understand business. But investors should take it more seriously because it opens up some very interesting questions about what energy companies are doing with their money. In summary, the report says the investment of more capital to find hydrocarbons is a waste of money. More than enough has been already identified to fulfill the world’s needs if we are to meet the carbon limits implied by international agreements on climate change. I have two points of doubt about this thesis. First, I don’t believe the market puts much if any value on reserves or unproven resources which are not due to be developed within the next ten years. Second, the report is based on the assumption that the international agreement to reduce emissions by changing the energy mix over the period to 2050 is being implemented. I wish that were true. But the agreement reached at Cancun in 2010 was like so many international declarations – a statement of aspirational intent delinked from hard policies. But the onward march of technology which is steadily transforming the global energy economy.
FT 23rd April 2013 read more »