Mr Osborne appears to be saying that shale gas is a low-cost way of tackling climate change.The world already has lots of oil and gas. In fact, at current use, the technically recoverable gas we’ve already discovered would last for 250 years – according to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA suggests that over the next forty years nearly half the world’s proven gas (and oil) supplies need to be left in the ground if we are to avoid the type of climate change that could leave new parts of the world uninhabitably hot or very wet. And European shale gas is likely to be more expensive than the gas we already know about. Which means that if you want to go out and find entirely new sources of gas and still cut emissions you need to show it’s going to stop us (meaning the world) using existing, proven, gas reserves.
Greenpeace 21st Feb 2014 read more »
Nuclear Strike Price
The UK Labour party will not adjust the £92.50/MWh strike price agreed with French state-owned utility EdF for the planned 3.3GW Hinkley Point C nuclear plant if it returns to power next year, although it expects the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the terms of the deal, shadow energy minister Caroline Flint said.
Argus Media 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Business Green 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Brussels has started a preliminary investigation into whether the UK breached state aid rules when it guaranteed a £75m loan to Britain’s largest coal-fired power station to help it burn wood pellets instead of coal, the Financial Times has learnt. The guarantee deal signed in April last year was one of the first under a £40bn scheme the government launched in 2012 to kick-start big UK infrastructure projects struggling to get finance in difficult market conditions.
FT 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Campaigners have renewed calls to halt plans to dissolve metal casings surrounding spent fuel rods at Bradwell Power Station. Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group fear discharge from the process will be released in the Blackwater Estuary. A spokesman for Magnox, which runs Bradwell Power Station, said: “The process, which is based on the safe and successful dissolution experience elsewhere, will reduce the volume of FED by more than 90 per cent.” Effluent will be discharged within authorised limits agreed by the Environment Agency, he added.
Maldon Standard 23rd Feb 2014 read more »
Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru are convulsed by internal turmoil over the selection of their Ynys Mon assembly member and the party’s position on nuclear power, Wales Eye can reveal. Senior officials, and party leader Leanne Wood, have been involved in a huge dispute, with a formal investigation undertaken into the actions of a leading party supporter. It follows public attacks on Rhun ap Iorwerth’s statements on nuclear power before his election as assemby member for Ynys Mon. Mr ap Iorwerth stood accused by the Plaid Cymru voter who was investigated, of a “tortuously ambiguous” position on the proposed new nuclear power plant on Anglesey, Wylfa B – now known as Wylfa Newydd.
Wales Eye 25th Feb 2014 read more »
The government’s nuclear safety watchdog is threatening to crack down on the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston for failing to make 1,000 drums of its most dangerous radioactive waste safe. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is considering enforcement action against AWE, which designs and makes Britain’s nuclear bombs at its site in Berkshire, because it missed a legally-binding deadline set seven years ago. The action could range from a formal warning letter to a prosecution and a fine.
RobEdwards.com 24th Feb 2014 read more »
The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston could face enforcement action after failing meet a deadline to deal with 1,000 drums of nuclear waste. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said a 2007 licence requiring AWE to reduce and encapsulate “intermediate level waste” by February had expired. AWE said it informed ONR in 2011 it was unable to meet the deadline after work on the project was abandoned.
BBC 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Nuclear sites in Aldermaston and Burghfield have been shortlisted to store radioactive waste from retired nuclear-powered submarines. The Ministry of Defence-owned sites are two of five potential sites identified as appropriate for the interim storage of reactor components from disused subs.
Get Reading 24th Feb 2014 read more »
At the recent DECC/NGO Forum, Neil Crumpton (Friends of the Earth) raised the following point: The original MRWS process was intended to deal solely with legacy waste. With waste from nuclear new build now to be taken into consideration, the capacity of any disposal facilities, wherever they are located, will need to be vastly increased.
Cumbria Trust 25th Feb 2014 read more »
More than a year after taking office with a vague promise to “rethink” Japan’s post-Fukushima repudiation of nuclear power, the government of Shinzo Abe is poised to formally reverse course and declare a long-term commitment to atomic energy. The draft of a new Basic Energy Plan, made public on Tuesday, calls nuclear power an “important baseload electricity source” and effectively reverses a decision made by a previous government in 2012 to close all of Japan’s atomic power plants over the next several decades.
FT 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Wall St Journal 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Some two weeks after a “pro-nuclear” victory in the Tokyo gubernatorial elections, Japan’s nuclear regulator has indicated that it may be close to a decision on whether one or more reactors are safe enough to consider re-starting.
Oil Price 24th Feb 2014 read more »
While understanding the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are key to acheiving disarmament, efforts for a new convention outside the nuclear non-proliferation treaty will only fragment the nuclear debate further.
Open Democracy 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
SSE has withdrawn planning applications for two wind farm projects on land in Scotland due to financial reasons. The firm had submitted planning applications to the Scottish government to build an 81-megawatt (MW) Dalnessie wind farm in Sutherland and for an extension to its 36MW Fairburn wind farm in Ross-shire. The firm said that continued investment in developing the projects was no longer financially viable. “SSE continues to have a good pipeline of very strong onshore renewable developments across Scotland,” Colin Nicol, SSE’s director of onshore renewables, said. “Each project is dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and the decision to end Dalnessie and Fairburn Extension means that we can redirect resource onto the best projects in our portfolio.”
Telegraph 24th Feb 2014 read more »
The North Sea’s oil and gas fields look set to become a political battleground for the next seven months. The prime minister today announced new measures he hopes will bolster the industry for decades to come, in a move designed to woo Scottish voters ahead of the independence referendum next September. But beneath the politicking is the wider issue of what the UK plans to do with its remaining fossil fuels as it tries to decarbonise the energy sector. Deciding what to do with the North Sea oil and gas reserves is important regardless of whether Scotland votes for independence. Working out a way to make North Sea oil and gas extraction compatible with wider climate change goals will remain the central task of whoever is in charge north of the border come September 19th.
Carbon Brief 24th Feb 2014 read more »
New projects to greatly increase North Sea oil and gas output and develop a “cleaner” low-carbon power station have been unveiled by ministers as the UK cabinet met in Scotland. The new North Sea efficiency programmes could increase oil and gas production by up to 4bn barrels and £200bn over the next 20 years, said Ed Davey, the UK energy secretary, as he visited Peterhead power station. He confirmed on his visit that Shell’s gas-fired power station at Peterhead had been awarded about £50m to install new carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment – the first time in the world a gas-fired power station would be fitted with this technology. He said it would capture 1m tonnes of CO2 a year.
Guardian 24th Feb 2014 read more »
The UK Government announced that Peterhead would be the location of the world’s first gas-fired carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility as part of a £100m investment in the ground-breaking technology. Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, denied the move was a bribe but said it would be “more difficult” to fund the project if Scots voted for independence.
Independent 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Scotsman 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Ed Davey fired the opening salvo in the UK and Scottish governments’ battle for energy industry support in the independence debate when he confirmed this morning that the world’s first gas-fired carbon capture and storage plant would be built in Peterhead.
Times 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Too much emphasis has been placed on British shale gas at the expense of the North Sea, which offers greater and quicker potential for home-grown energy than fracking, Ed Davey has said. But urgent action is required to stem steep falls in North Sea output, and the Scottish people could not rely on the sector as a “money tree” capable of funding an independent Scotland, the energy secretary warned. Mr Davey was speaking as he vowed to implement the recommendations of Sir Ian Wood’s review into maximising the potential of the North Sea, including creating a new independent regulator that could spur the recovery of an extra 3-4bn barrels of oil, worth £200bn, over the next two decades. The energy secretary said he wanted to “rebalance the debate” from shale toward the longstanding offshore oil and gas industry.
Telegraph 24th Feb 2014 read more »
North Sea oil exploration is at a “worrying” all-time low and needs urgent government action such as tax breaks to stimulate drilling, Sir Ian Wood has warned. In a government-commissioned report, the industry veteran said that up to 16bn barrels of oil could be left untapped in the ground if exploration remained at current low rates. He also warned the North Sea would continue to see steep declines in oil and gas output unless government and industry tackled a series of problems, including falling productivity and rising costs.
Telegraph 24th Feb 2014 read more »
Investment in the North Sea will collapse unless a tough new regulator forces oil companies to collaborate, one of the founding fathers of the industry has warned in a government-commissioned report. Sir Ian Wood said that urgent action needed to be taken to arrest the industry’s alarming decline and prevent oil discoveries being stranded for good when ageing pipelines and rigs nearby are decommissioned.
Times 25th Feb 2014 read more »