Chinese nuclear power giants are reportedly zoning in on Bradwell as the site for a new atomic plant. The Sunday Times reports today that the area on the Dengie coast, currently home to the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power station, has been picked as a favourite. China General Nuclear Power Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation agreed to help finance Britain’s first new atomic power plant, for nearly 20 years, about two years ago. Bosses shortlisted other sites in Lancashire, Hartlepool, Wales and Gloucestershire – but the national newspaper says Essex is the preferred option following talks this month.
Essex Chronicle 24th Aug 2014 read more »
Britain’s largest electricity suppliers have challenged the Competition and Markets Authority over its approach to the investigation into the industry. In separate submissions, the “Big Six” have expressed concern about the CMA exploring the break-up of their businesses, pricing strategies and arguments that they face little competition. They claim that the CMA is failing to give sufficient weight to the effects of Government intervention into the industry and are surprised the investigation does not cover the impact of the volatile wholesale gas market.
Telegraph 24th Aug 2014 read more »
The energy industry is facing its biggest crisis since privatisation 20 years ago. Starting a special week-long series, Tim Webb explains what this means for consumers, companies and shareholders alike, beginning with how the backlash against record energy bills threatens the survival of the big companies that dominate the British market. When, on September 24 last year, Ed Miliband told his party conference in Brighton that he would impose a 20-month freeze on household energy bills if Labour won the next election, his words sent an icy shudder through the energy industry — and sparked an almost immediate firestorm. Bills have risen in large part because the wholesale cost of electricity and gas, which now makes up just under half the bill, has risen by 50 per cent over the past decade to £600 per household, according to Ofgem. The cost of green levies — subsidies for government household insulation programmes and wind farms and other renewables — are starting to rack up, too. They make up a smaller proportion of the annual bill, at about £130, but have grown from almost nothing five years ago. The government claims that in the long run these levies will save consumers money by reducing energy consumption and reliance on expensive gas. However, officials have overestimated the effectiveness of energy efficiency measures. The government’s assumption that gas prices will keep rising and eventually make wind farms and nuclear cheaper alternatives is no longer such a safe bet thanks, in part, to the global shale gas revolution.
Times 25th Aug 2014 read more »
Power companies are moving again to raise their electricity rates to get out of dire financial straits caused by the increased cost of importing fuel to run more thermal power plants while their nuclear power reactors remain idled. Hokkaido Electric Power Co. is the first among the nation’s regional utilities to apply for government approval of a plan to raise its rates for the second time since the shutdown of nuclear power plants following the March 2011 triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant. Of the 20 reactors at 13 nuclear power plants under safety review by the Nuclear Regulation Authority since July last year, the two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture have effectively cleared the NRA screening, but their actual restart is not likely before the end of this year due to pending procedures. It is not known how soon the NRA screening — based on tightened standards for plant resistance to natural disasters and severe accidents, and on more rigorous checks of on-site earthquake risks — will proceed.
Japan Times 24th Aug 2014 read more »
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claimed on Sunday that an Israeli stealth drone had been brought down above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country. The semi-official Fars news agency reported that Iran’s elite forces had intercepted and brought down an unmanned aircraft belonging to “the Zionist regime”. The news was announced in a statement published by the guards, but it was not clear when the incident, if true, happened.
Guardian 24th Aug 2014 read more »
Daily Mail 25th Aug 2014 read more »
Independent 24th Aug 2014 read more »
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on September 1 in Brussels to agree a framework for renewed nuclear talks, Iran said on Sunday.
EU Business 24th Aug 2014 read more »
Russia is slowly but surely replacing its aging stockpile of Soviet-era nuclear weapons with an arsenal that’s fit-for-purpose in the 21st century. Richard Weitz reminds us, however, that a weakening Russian economy and less-than-favorable international climate may yet derail Moscow’s efforts to revive its nuclear prowess.
Oil Price 24th Aug 2014 read more »
When the oil crisis hit in the winter of 1973 the price per barrel quadrupled, and countries that were heavily dependent on oil were in dire straits. Denmark was one such nation: more than 90% of its energy came from imported oil. Danish citizens shivered in their homes while factories were forced into temporary shutdowns, alternate street lights were switched off and driving was banned on a Sunday. After that long and painful winter Denmark vowed to wean itself off oil imports, determined to improve its energy security. Ever since it has invested heavily in renewables, energy efficiency and “district heating”. District heating is exactly as it sounds: colossal boilers provide heat for entire districts through a network of heating pipes. While in the UK households buy gas, which is piped into individual boilers to provide heating, Danish neighbourhoods do away with individual boilers and instead have their hot water piped directly into their houses from one larger, and much more efficient, shared boiler. the British government is trying to increase the number of households connected to district heating networks. The Department for Environment and Climate Change (Decc) would like to see the number of connected properties increased from a paltry 2% (just under 200,000 nationwide) to 20% by 2030 and 40% by 2050. To facilitate this, Decc has made £7m available to councils to carry out feasibility studies for district heating systems. More than 50 UK local authorities have taken the government up on its offer. Between them they have been awarded £4m and there is £3m remaining in the pot. The Greater London Authority has set a target that 25% of its energy supply will come from decentralised sources by 2025. The first step towards this was creating a map of London’s heat resources. The map shows where London’s power plants are, where its energy from waste plants is, its CHP sites and the proposed sites for heating networks. The regeneration of the area around Kings Cross station in London will see 2,000 new homes built – all of which will be connected to district heating. Another 10,000 homes to be built on the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will also benefit. Another scheme in Pimlico is already up and running, supplying heat to 3,000 homes. Outside the capital, Sheffield, Leicester, Nottingham and Bristol are also investing in district heating. Bristol is developing the infrastructure in the local enterprise zone around Bristol Temple Meads railway station.
Guardian 20th Aug 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Plans have been unveiled for a 40,000-panel solar farm on land a few miles from Coldingham in the Scottish Borders. BHA Enterprises wants to build the development on land at Huxton Bogbank. The company initially planned to create a wind farm but following discussions with Scottish Borders Council it has opted to create a solar development. If given permission the panels would be suspended above the ground to allow sheep grazing to continue on the land. A scoping request for the plans has been submitted to the local authority.
BBC 25th Aug 2014 read more »
Readers of the Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics will find an extraordinary table in the new edition: the two-century link between growth and energy has broken. The UK economy has doubled in real terms since 1985, but total energy consumption is exactly the same as it was in that year. Indeed, energy consumption has fallen since 1970 while the economy has nearly trebled in size. Of course, industry is a big user of energy, and a lot of heavy manufacturing has migrated to China and other low-labour cost parts of the world. Global energy use and carbon emissions are rising because of population and income growth, but the energy-saving trend is visible even in developing co untries. Global GDP per unit of energy is 35% higher than it was in 1990. What has been going on? Cars are far more efficient, even though larger. The cost of lighting is collapsing. A light emitting diode (LED) will give the same amount of light as an old-fashioned Edison incandescent bulb, with a saving in electricity use of 93% (and you can now get dimmable and warm versions). One business that runs three warehouse shifts a day – and therefore uses a lot of light – told me it recently re-equipped with LEDs, and the investment paid for itself in little more than a year.
Guardian 24th Aug 2014 read more »
North Sea oil forecasts by the UK government’s budget watchdog are “ludicrously pessimistic” compared with the oil industry’s “plausible” high-end projection, according to academics. Industry body Oil and Gas UK yesterday stood by its projection that there are 24 billion barrels of oil left in the North Sea, following scepticism by two leading oil economists Sir Ian Wood and Melfort Campbell.
Scotsman 25th Aug 2014 read more »
A LEADING oil exploration expert has predicted a second major oil boom for Scotland as the country’s future energy reserves dominated the run-up to tonight’s second televised referendum debate. Professor John Howell of Aberdeen University, an expert on geology, has forecast huge potential for development west of Shetland. The professor of petroleum geology and Yes campaign supporter argues that, while there are no certainties in oil exploration, a second oil boom is possible. He said: “The geology west of Â¬Shetland may be challenging and fraught with uncertainty but I for one would never underestimate the ingenuity of the explorers and I certainly will not be surprised if major discoveries are made there in the next few years, totally changing the perception of the region and opening up a second major oil boom for Scotland.”
Herald 25th Aug 2014 read more »