The boss of the Sellafield nuclear site has blamed a “long and gruelling” cross-examination for providing MPs with inaccurate information. Tony Price, managing director of the facility in Cumbria, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this month that a vitrification plant, which turns radioactive waste into glass for storage, was working well, while many staff were unable to work there after a power failure had led to heavy contamination. When told of this the PAC’s chairwoman, Margaret Hodge, said that she would look at what Mr Price had said and that it was “a very serious thing to mislead” the PAC. Mrs Hodge has criticised the cost of decontaminating Sellafield but was told that the plant was an example of where the private-sector team working on the clean-up had given the taxpayer good value for money.
Independent 23rd Dec 2013 read more »
SNP ministers have hit out at the UK Government, accusing it of prioritising nuclear power at the expense of wind farms. The row follows a decision to omit all planned Scottish offshore wind farms from a list of 10 “affordable” projects likely to receive UK Government support. The developments could now miss out on a share of subsidies worth £4.5 billion. SSE, the energy company behind one of the schemes, has already said it was disappointed by the announcement. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said that the decision had serious ¬implications for Scotland’s offshore wind industry and would increase ¬uncertainty for developers and investors. He also criticised the UK Government’s priorities, saying: “They should be supporting the release of our green energy potential instead of being hell-bent on ploughing billions into nuclear power stations, which restricts the funds available to s upport renewables.”
Herald 23rd Dec 2013 read more »
EDF Energy’s Torness power station is taking part in an initiative called ‘Together We Count’ run by five local primary schools and a secondary school in a bid to improve children’s number skills and encourage them to use maths. Dunbar Primary, Innerwick Primary and Dunbar Grammar School are all taking part. The youngsters are all being encouraged to take part in a quiz at Torness power station’s visitor centre called ‘Nuclear Numbers’ which asks them to look in detail at the information and exhibits on display and then fill in their answers, which are all maths related.
Berwickshire News 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
A National Grid manager dismissed warnings about blackouts this winter saying a dramatic surge in demand for power would only result in the lights being dimmed.
Telegraph 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
Letter Director UK Steel: It is right that uncompetitive energy prices are rendering our energy-intensive sectors uncompetitive both within the EU and globally. These sectors are vital for the UK to capture maximum value from the huge energy infrastructure projects that the UK is determined to implement. Professor Helm also identifies the disastrous paradox that reducing UK emissions as a result of uncompetitive energy prices will see emissions increase elsewhere and do nothing to tackle climate change. The Chancellor missed a chance to address this issue in the Autumn Statement by ensuring that sectors such as steel, chemicals and cement can compete on a more level playing field. For example, the Renewables Obligation costs energy-intensive sectors in the UK more than 10 per cent of their electricity bill, while competitors in France and Germany are virtually exempt from these costs. The uncompetitive landscape that Professor Helm describes is not economically sustainable and has negative environmental consequences on a global level. Domestically this is bad news for jobs and the UK economy. The Chancellor must address this in the Budget.
Times 23rd Dec 2013 read more »
Letter Michael Fallon: we are creating record investments of £4 0 billion in renewable electricity to bring jobs and growth to the UK. The Hinkley nuclear power station deal will help to maintain security of supply, reduce consumer bills and decarbonise our electricity market. The price is competitive when measured against other forms of large-scale low-carbon power generation commissioning along similar timeframes, and the plant will help keep the lights on for years to come. It is also the first time a private company is taking all the construction risk in building a new nuclear plant.
Times 23rd Dec 2013 read more »
Experts were divided over whether radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident affected the thyroid cancer rate among children in Fukushima Prefecture, in which 59 young people have been diagnosed with or suspected of contracting the disease. Most of the experts dismissed the possibility that effects from radiation from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant could appear so soon in children.
Asahi Shimbun 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
The government will have to extend its decontamination work following the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by a maximum of three years, government officials said Sunday. The Environment Ministry will shortly release a new schedule for radiation cleanup work, which was scheduled to be completed by the March 31 end of fiscal 2013 under the initial plan, according to the officials.
Mainichi 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
Managing Germany’s highly ambitious plans for a transition to electricity generation from renewable sources will be a main task of the incoming German government. The aims for the “Energiewende” in the new coalition agreement are for renewable energy to account for 40-45% of energy consumption in 2025 and 55-60% in 2035. A key challenge will be to implement a new market design in the electricity market that allows a cost-effective integration of energy from renewable sources, as the current subsidy scheme is coming under increased pressure, both from domestic consumers and companies for its costs and from the European Commission for its compatibility with state aid regulations.
Bruegel 19th Dec 2013 read more »
A community-owned wind turbine looks set to be the gift that keeps on giving for a rural Aberdeenshire village when it is powered up tomorrow. Electricity generated by the 77-metre tall turbine is expected to bring in Â£75,000 a year for the Buchan village of Fetterangus, known locally as Fishie and home to around 350 people. The money, which will come from feed-in tariffs earned by supplying energy to the national grid, will be spent on regenerating the local community and encouraging youngsters to stay in the area. Pioneered by the Fetterangus Community Association and inspired by similar schemes on the islands of Gigha, Tiree and Lewis, the £1.5 million project has taken nine years to come to fruition.
Scotsman 23rd Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Hydro
While much of the recent focus in renewable energy has focused around wind and solar, one key source that continues to offer Scotland significant energy capacity for the future is hydro. There are around 120 hydro schemes of various sizes operating in Scotland. These produce around 5TWh of electricity each year which represents roughly 12 per cent of our current demand. The Scottish Government recently reported potential for up to 7,000 hydro developments across the nation which could generate carbon-free electricity for a million homes. These new schemes could produce around 3TWh of additional electricity per year, more than a 50 per cent rise on current output levels. Because many of these would be micro-site developments there is great potential to deliver real benefits to local communities across Scotland.
Scotsman 23rd Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Solar
It’s the shortest day of the winter, but the bright blue morning means the UK’s biggest solar farm is powering away. The 120,000 matt-black panels laid out in long, neat rows above sheep-shorn grass are running at about three-quarters of their peak capacity. A few miles west, the giant chimney of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station is pumping smoke into the sky. “It’s a nice contrast between the new and the old,” says Jonathan Selwyn, chief executive of Lark Energy, which developed the solar farm on a disused second world war airfield at Wymeswold in Leicestershire. The panels sit between the old runways, now used as racetracks, and were erected in just seven weeks in the spring. But the burgeoning industry has seen its sparkle dulled by a series of recent attacks from Conservative ministers, with planning supremo Eric Pickles overturning permission for another old airfield solar farm at Ellough in Suffolk, Greg Barker at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) signalling a crackdown on “monster solar farms”, and his colleague Michael Fallon deriding subsidies for large solar farms as immoral.
Guardian 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
With costs rising because of carbon taxation and overseas competition growing, big emitters have staked their hopes on a new lease of life through carbon capture and storage. CCS involves isolating the carbon dioxide and storing it underground, typically at sea, to avoid it heating the atmosphere. “This is about ensuring the UK has heavy industry into the future,” says Stan Higgins, chief executive of Nepic, the process industry cluster that brings together the leading companies on Teesside, which are aiming to have a CCS pipeline. These include BOC Linde, an industrial gas supplier, Growhow, a fertiliser maker, chemical producers Huntsman and Lucite and px, a diversified energy business and trader. “If we don’t give an alternative to carbon taxation, companies will migrate to countries where they aren’t taxed,” he warns.
FT 22nd Dec 2013 read more »