Nuclear power operator Horizon and Anglesey County Council are planning to establish a framework of contractors to deliver vital road improvements before the massive construction project starts. An estimated £30m-£70m of road improvements will be needed on the Welsh island to accommodate works for the new nuclear power station. The partners aim to select three to five firms for each of three lots covering works valued at less than £1m, £1-£5m and bigger projects.
Construction Enquirer 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Workers at the Sellafield nuclear site are to take industrial action in two separate disputes over pay and health and safety. The GMB said 400 of its members working as health physics monitors will stage a series of strikes from tomorrow in a row over pay. Unite said its members at sub-contracting companies working at Sellafield will stage a wave of action as part of a campaign to have a full-time union convenor at the site. The GMB members will strike for four hours from 8.30am tomorrow and for 48 hours from 6.30am on Wednesday.
Shropshire Star 24th Aug 2015 read more »
SECURITY at Scotland’s nuclear bases is at an all-time low due to government defence cuts, according to police guarding them. Union leaders say bosses have axed 900 officers from the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) since 2010, resulting in numbers falling from 3500 to 2600. Eamon Keating, chairman of the MDP Federation, yesterday said the security situation is on a “knife-edge” and any more cuts could mean the bases are no longer secure. He warned further planned savings would put Faslane’s Trident nuclear sub base on the Clyde at increasing risk of terrorist attack and other security breaches.
Daily Record 23rd Aug 2015 read more »
Energy Supplies – Scotland
Letter Elizabeth Marshall: Murdo Fraser seems to ignore the fact that management of the electricity supply system was supposed to be operated and controlled on a UK-wide basis from London in order to guarantee an economic security of supply to all consumers, with the taxpayer-funded grid being the conduit to achieve this. Clearly, there now exists major failures both in policy and management to which the effective operation of the central grid is apparently the key. Power stations in Scotland are to be closed, while a disastrous contract for a non-working and dated French EPR nuclear reactor design for Hinkley Point C has been made in Whitehall. Rushed contracts have been concluded to import expensive foreign electricity from Europe from 2016 instead of using electricity generated in Scotland, in order to try to avoid power cuts and to keep the lights on in England. Meanwhile, Scottish consumers are to be penalised by an estimated levy on their electricity bills of more than £200 a year to pay for Hinkley C, notwithstanding further likely hikes in electricity prices as a consequence of the European imports, making the cost to us of this failed energy policy worse than any poll tax. We can only look forward to an increase in fuel poverty in Scotland, already estimated to affect 700,000 people, as more than 50 per cent of our heating is dependent on electricity. This is not only a failure in energy policy and security of supply; it is a failure in economic policy of a most fundamental nature. If there is a cold winter in Europe, it is likely that electricity imports from the European surplus will not materialise as there will be no surplus. There will be power cuts in UK with the risk of substantial economic losses and even civil unrest. Meanwhile, if Hinkley C construction does proceed despite current valid European Union state aid objections, what confidence can anyone have that it will succeed in generating when all the six previous reactors of this design have never worked? Areva, the company involved, declared 4.8 billion euro losses for 2014, greatly in excess of its capitalisation. The latest EPR reactor Areva is building in France is five years late, more than three times its original budget, and has recently had all its steel condemned by the French nuclear inspectorate. Hinkley Point C steel is apparently to be sourced from the same supplier. Why should Scots be grotesquely penalised for such incompetent economic management when our energy economy, including our wind and marine energy, should make us the power house of UK?
Scotsman 25th Aug 2015 read more »
The keel for the US Navy’s second Gerald Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the John F Kennedy, has been laid at a ceremony in Newport News, Virginia.
World Nuclear News 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: The US Clean Power Plan (CPP) was announced at the beginning of August 2015, and follows on from the Presidents Climate Action Plan of 2013. The first stage of the CPP was announced in 2014 and the final CPP is very different from that proposed a year ago. The CPP has come into being via the EPA, and their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via air quality legislation (The Clean Air Act, 111d). The EPA has said that it expects the CPP to lead to a 32% reduction in GHG by 2030 from 2005 levels. The EPA is giving each state an individual goal for cutting power plant emissions. States can then decide for themselves how to make those reductions. For example by switching from coal to natural gas, expand renewables or nuclear, boost energy efficiency, enact carbon pricing or trading and so on. States have to submit their plans by 2016-2018, start making reductions by 2022 at the latest, and then continue until 2030. It is also expected that many States will oppose the CPP. If the EPA gets through the challenges, and the States still don’t comply with the legislation as it stands, the EPA is able to step in and force them to work to a federal plan – expected to be tougher and more inflexible than the recalcitrant States own plans.
IGOV 24th Aug 2015 read more »
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says his country’s company will consider participating in developing the Czech Republic’s nuclear program. The Czech government has recently approved a long-term plan to increase the country’s nuclear power production. As part of the plan, the government wants to build one more reactor at the Temelin nuclear plant and another at the Dukovany plant, with an option to build yet another reactor at each plant. Unlike some other European countries, such as Germany and Austria, the Czech Republic and France are both heavily relying on nuclear energy.
New York Times 23rd Aug 2015 read more »
After years of painstaking development, Siemens was triumphant in 2011 when its new H-class gas turbine, the world’s largest and most efficient, went into regular operation at an Eon power plant in Irsching, Bavaria. But in March this year, Eon said it planned to shut down the turbine in 2016 – because German laws that prioritise solar and wind energy in the electricity grid mean it is left switched off much of the time and has no prospect of operating profitably. The transition from fossil-fuel-based power to renewable energy – Germany is pursuing one of the most radical policies in the world – has created big opportunities for European companies that supply wind turbines, solar panels and smart electricity grids. But for suppliers of equipment and services to the conventional power industry based on coal and gas, the pain is really starting to mount. Orders and profit margins are falling, triggering restructuring and job cuts.
FT 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
DONG Energy has acquired the Hornsea Zone, an offshore wind development with the potential to develop around 3GW of capacity, and its remaining projects. The developer, which secured Project One in February, has now secured the rights to Project Two and Three. Hornsea Project One a 1,200 MW windfarm was acquired from Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Financial Services (SFS). The Hornsea Zone off the coast of Yorkshire is one of the world’s biggest offshore wind development zones, covering an area more than twice the size of Greater London. DONG Energy’s executive vice president Samuel Leupold said: “We have already invested around £6bn in the UK, and the Hornsea Zone provides us with new exciting development opportunities, not least because of the sheer size of the project in terms of acreage as well as the high generation potential.
Edie 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – Feed-in Tariffs
An alliance of 100 organisations – representing tens of thousands of workers, small businesses, retailers, farming groups, co-operatives and local government representatives – has written to the Prime Minister to express its support for small scale renewable electricity ahead of an expected review of the Feed-in Tariff. Signatories of the letter included: Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association; Ramsay Dunning, General Manager, Co-operative Energy; Alasdair Reisner, Chief Executive, Civil Engineering Contractors Association; and Charles Middleton, Managing Director, Triodos Bank. It comes against a backdrop of unexpected cuts in the renewable energy sector in the first months of the new Government.
Scottish Energy News 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – Island Energy
The UK Government is being urged to fulfil its commitment to ‘enable the deployment of renewable energy on the Scottish Islands.’ The Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, has written to the Secretary of State for Energy, Amber Rudd, ahead of the next Scottish Islands Delivery Forum which will meet in Glasgow on 21st September. Ms Rudd had previously agreed to co-chair the meeting. In January this year the Prime Minister committed to the deployment of renewable energy on Scottish Islands. To assist with this the former Energy Secretary Ed Davey pledged to publish information about Remote Island Wind Contract for Difference by July 2015 – which has now been delayed until sometime in the autumn of this year.
Scottish Energy News 25th Aug 2015 read more »
The National 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Scottish Housing News 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Energy Voice 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – Hydro
A new hydro power scheme which could produce enough power for over 800 homes each year has been officially opened in Argyllshire. Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited the new jointly owned £3.5 million project in Glen Fyne, Argyll to see the project in action. Now that it is connected to the national grid, it is estimated it will produce around 3.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) each year, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of over 800 homes.
Scottish Energy News 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – Solar
It is a problem that has so far stumped even Google’s brainy engineers – how to generate cheap solar electricity using a small-scale array of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy. Now a team at a South African university – led by a former Intel strategic planner – believes they have cracked it. Once they have completed a prototype system in October they have big plans for rolling out the technology. The idea behind the design – so-called Concentrated Solar Power or CSP – is simple. A field of mirrors on the ground tracks the sun and concentrates its rays on to a central point which heats up. That heat is converted into electricity. There are a handful of large-scale examples of such solar plants around the world generating electricity, and there are predictions that the technology could generate a quarter of the world’s energy by 2050. But the plants are expensive and it has proved difficult to make them work at smaller scale. Called heliostats, the shaped mirrors are usually large with a huge central base set in concrete. With current technology they are expensive to produce, have to be connected through pricey wiring and need to be installed by highly skilled and large construction crews. This is the main factor that makes CSP more expensive than traditional photovoltaic panels, which have fallen in price by 75% since 2009. Paul Gauch is the South African founding director of the Solar Thermal Research Group at Stellenbosch University that is testing a new approach. His team’s aim is to produce CSP technology that will be cheap and quick to install. “We are developing plonkable heliostats. Plonkable means that from factory to installation you can just drop them down on to the ground and they work.” So no costly cement, no highly-trained workforce, no wires, just two workers to lay out the steel frames on the ground and a streetlight-style central tower. Their work has already attracted the interest of well-known foreign companies, including a German consortium and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology solar company.
Guardian 24th Aug 2015 read more »
A new report is to explore how Scotland’s proud engineering tradition can be harnessed to tackle fuel poverty, improve public health, create jobs and slash carbon emissions. Commissioned by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force, which includes key figures from engineering, finance, construction, academia, public sector, development and environmental groups, the ‘Scotland’s Way Ahead’ report found greater investment in low carbon infrastructure by both public and private sector must increase if Scotland’s to meet its climate change targets. The report’s findings make clear that public investment into low carbon infrastructure would bring many benefits, including eradicating fuel poverty, improving health and creating jobs. Almost 1 million households in Scotland are living in fuel poverty. The report argues that investing in low carbon heating systems and improving the energy efficiency of our homes could cut bills and keep homes warm.
Scottish Construction Now 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Business Reporter 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Revelations that an underground coal gas plant in Australia is facing prosecution for allegedly contaminating over 300 square kilometres of farmland have sparked fears that the same could happen in Scotland.
The Ferrett 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Scotland should nationalise its oil industry to break its dependence on “distant multinationals and neoliberal forces”, and cut down on drilling, according to a report commissioned by the Scottish Greens. The report, written by environment campaigner Mika Minio-Paluello, says an economy focused on green energy could create over 40,000 more jobs than the current fossil fuel extraction industry. It proposes a comprehensive change to UK economic policy away from tax cuts for foreign oil companies, which are designed to boost oil production, towards empowering local communities to create an economy based on publicly-owned renewable energy. It states: “The North Sea oil industry says jobs are threatened by falling oil prices, but a better future for Scotland is possible.
STV 25th Aug 2015 read more »
A NATIONALISED energy sector could create 40,000 more jobs, say the Scottish Greens. In a report published today, the party claim the best way to save the energy sector is to take it into public ownership. The report by Mika Minio-Paluell, author of the Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London, says tax cuts for oil corporations are not the answer. The report states: “The North Sea oil industry says jobs are threatened by falling oil prices, but a better future for Scotland is possible. More and better jobs. A safer and more stable economy. Stronger communities. A long-term future as an energy exporter. Moving from energy colonialism to energy democracy. “This better future won’t come with tax cuts for oil corporations and trying to extract every last barrel. It means changing direction tow ards a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. This will require a wholesale change of UK economic policy away from austerity and toward investment in the new economy. “Sustainable sectors in the new economy can employ significantly more people than currently work in fossil fuel industries.” The new economy could employ 200,000 people by 2020 in contrast to the 156,000 currently employed in fossil fuel extraction, says the report.
The National 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Herald 25th Aug 2015 read more »