Ed Davey will on Monday begin a 10-day visit to China to drum up inward investment in Britain’s next generation of power stations and offshore wind farms as London is officially taken out of the diplomatic “deep freeze”. The energy secretary is the first British cabinet member to visit China for at least 18 months after Beijing cut contact with the UK last April following David Cameron’s decision to meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, in London in early 2012. Mr Davey is set to sign a memorandum of understanding on offshore wind as he seeks to engage with China, which is looking to expand its offshore wind capacity. Mr Davey will also use his China visit to tout Britain’s nuclear opportunities as it looks for investment into the next generation of power stations. All but one of Britain’s 16 nuclear reactors will be retired by 2023. The state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group is already in talks to share the cost of EDF’s planned power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. It may also become involved in two other plants EDF is planning at Sizewell. However, in return for investment, the Chinese are demanding greater operational control, which has caused a national security headache for the government given the sensitivities around nuclear power.
FT 22nd Sept 2013 read more »
The German owner of RWE npower is halving its dividend after a slump in profits, which it blamed on the boom in renewable energy. RWE Group said that payouts would be permanently lower in future, falling to 40-50 per cent of net profit from the previous target of 50-60 per cent. The second-largest utility in Germany has been hammered by the proliferation of solar energy that has resulted in an electricity supply glut, leading to the closure of loss-making plants. RWE will propose a dividend of €1 a share at its next annual meeting, down from the €2 it paid shareholders last year.
Times 21st Sept 2013 read more »
Centrica plc has taken the decision not to proceed with its new-build gas storage project at Baird in the UK Southern North Sea and to put its project at Caythorpe in East Yorkshire on hold indefinitely. This decision was taken in light of weak economics for storage projects and the announcement by the UK Government on 4 September ruling out intervention in the market to encourage additional gas storage capacity to be built. As a result of this decision, Centrica will write off all costs incurred and committed on these projects and expects to recognise impairments and provisions totalling approximately £240 million as an exceptional cost in the Group’s 2013 preliminary financial results.
Centrica 23rd Sept 2013 read more »
Two decades and $21 billion after construction commenced, Japan’s nuclear reprocessing and waste storage facility at Rokkasho may finally start operating in 2014, but probably later. There have been numerous delays and large cost overruns, but the operator, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL), is hopeful because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has revived prospects for restarting nuclear reactors. The Japan Atomic Energy Commission and JNFL want to get the facility running as soon as possible, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is busy reviewing applications to restart 12 reactors based on the new safety guidelines issued in July 2013. A report issued recently by the Princeton, New Jersey-based International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), compiled by independent nuclear experts, gives a failing grade to Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy and urges reconsideration because it is, “dysfunctional, dangerous and costly” and because “Japan is undermining the non-proliferation regime.” The IPFM recommends, inter alia, a government takeover of spent fuel management, air-cooled dry-cask storage of spent fuel at nuclear power plants, continuation of local subsidies to offset axing the reprocessing project and deep burial of Japan’s 44 tons of separated plutonium.
Japan Times 21st Sept 2013 read more »
Iran will take control of a Russian-built nuclear power station at Bushehr on its Gulf coast on Monday, Iranian Atomic Energy Agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi said.
Middle East Online 22nd Sept 2013 read more »
The two parties agree very largely on their European policy, including management of the eurozone crisis, although the SPD is more inclined towards boosting economic growth in order to help the most debt-laden members of the eurozone to escape recession. They also both recognise the need to renegotiate the “energy switch” caused by the decision to quit nuclear energy in favour of renewable sources such as solar and windpower.
FT 22nd Sept 2013 read more »
How the nuclear fallout from a 1961 hydrogen bomb accident in North Carolina could have reached as far as New York.
Daily Mail 22nd Sept 2013 read more »
Scrapping the Trident missile system would put our nation at risk. But would Ed Miliband do it to seal a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, asks Dr Julian Lewis.
Telegraph 22nd Sept 2013 read more »
Energy minister Greg Barker has rejected industry pleas for higher subsidies for offshore wind farms – despite warnings from the government’s official adviser that financial support is being cut too severely. Greg Barker, the energy minister, told the Telegraph he was confident that proposed subsidy levels – which would be see support cut by 13pc over the next five years – were high enough. “Investors will always want more,” he said. “We believe that what we have set will be sufficient to drive the necessary scale of investment and strikes the right balance between the interests of the consumer and the necessary return for investors to ensure we deliver the capacity.”
Telegraph 22nd Sept 2013 read more »
ONE of the world’s largest tidal energy projects has moved a step closer for waters off the isle of Islay. DP Energy has lodged an application for the development about five miles from the southern shores of the island, close to the village of Portnahaven.
Herald 23rd Sept 2013 read more »
A nondescript street full of social housing on the edge of Walsall is a strange place for British Gas to show off. Nonetheless, Ivy York, a pensioner who lives in one of the 1950s houses on Thames Road, is used to visitors. She even once welcomed a delegation from Japan. She and her neighbours are the first beneficiaries of the nationwide Community Energy Saving Programme, funded by levies on consumers’ energy bills to clad the outside of her home in thermal insulation. It has cost £8,000 but her monthly gas bill has almost halved to £38, something that she calls “absolutely fantastic. I did not have to pay anything at all.” British Gas, along with other energy companies, is giving away hundreds of millions of pounds each year to households nationwide to meet government targets to cut carbon emissions and fuel bills. While insulation is a lot less visible — and controversial — than wind farms, ECO subsidies will cost consumers more than twice as much as those going on renewable energy. Energy companies are already blaming the next round of energy price hikes due before Christmas on the ECO scheme. Nick Luff, the finance director of Centrica, British Gas’s parent company, complains that the targets are too tough. He wants the Government to give the industry an extra year to complete the work, arguing that not having to rush will save companies — and consumers — money.
Times 23rd Sept 2013 read more »