Aides to senior government ministers were at pains to insist that the energy deal finally signed off at about 6pm on Wednesday proved that both the Lib Dems and Tories were now in harmony on energy policy. One Whitehall figure sought to present the previous disagreement as a fairly standard round of negotiations between a spending department and the Treasury. In reality, the last two weeks have seen one of the most hard-fought coalition battles since the general election, with countless meetings and phone calls between senior figures and some particularly vicious in-fighting. An attempt to secure an acceptable subsidy cap for renewables and nuclear power – the levy control framework – was already subject to complex negotiations. The complex system (we are not allowed to call it a ‘subsidy’, even though it clearly is one) should give investors enough certainty to build wind farms, nuclear power stations and other renewable plants. There are still concerns that with Mr Hayes piloting the bill through Parliament he could accept various non-green amendments – which would plunge the coalition back into civil war. Relations between Mr Davey and Mr Hayes are now so bad that the pair are barely speaking, using email instead to communicate. The former has insisted that he must sign off any renewables paperwork put forward by his junior minister: it is a sign that while the hatchet is now buried this may not stay the case for long.
FT 23rd Nov 2012 more »
Energy reforms to be unveiled this week by the Government could cost consumers even more than expected and may even jeopardise the credit ratings of major supp¬liers, Ian Marchant, the chief executive of SSE, has warned. Government estimates show that policies to subsidise low-carbon power alone will add £95 to household bills by 2020. But Mr Marchant said the costs were likely to be even higher because of increased risks for suppliers who have to manage the collection of volatile subsidy payments. “From month to month, the costs to suppliers could vary enormously, introducing a new and unhealthy element of uncertainty into the energy supply market, which would increase the cost of capital,” he said.
Telegraph 25th Nov 2012 more »
Michael Meacher: The long-awaited Energy Bill, the subject of the worst in-fighting within the Coalition, is to be unveiled finally in this next week – barring further disruptions to the temporary ceasefire. There are two central issues that matter in this Bill. Will it enable Britain to de-carbonise the electricity supply sector by 2030, without which we will not be able to meet our carbon emissions reduction target of an 80% cut by 2050? And will the central thrust of the Bill be towards a renewables future driven by a major uplift in feed-in tariffs or is it framed to provide a massive hidden subsidy to nuclear? The Bill fails on both counts. the Bill’s real key (though well-camouflaged) objective is to lay the foundations for a new round of nuclear build. All but one of the bidders for the proposed nuclear renaissance have pulled out, partly because of the ever-rising cost of building a new reactor (now around £8bn), partly because of the huge expense of waste management and decommissioning, and not least because the costs of insuring against a major nuclear accident are prohibitively expensive if not uninsurable. The government have therefore inserted into the Bill the curiously named ‘contracts for difference’ which are meant to provide the crucial price guarantee that nuclear operators demand as a condition before they are prepared to enter the bidding process.
Michael Meacher 23rd Nov 2012 more »
At 7pm last night the phones started ringing in Energydesk towers. Word had got out that the government was unexpectedly announcing details of the biggest shakeup in UK energy policy in generations – just hours before print deadlines. The announcement was largely as expected, but there was something strange about the phone-calls. They weren’t from the usual suspects who have been following this story. In fact, some of the journalists closest to the issues have told Energydesk that just hours earlier their inquiries had been stone walled or denied by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It’s not so much about who was told – good reporters all of them – usually covering the business beat. It’s about who wasn’t. Almost all the main environmental reporters covering energy and climate change that we contacted had been left out of the loop including environmental reporters at mainstream media organisations who have covered the bill at every stage. Political reporters covering the story to see who would win in the coalition battle over decarbonisation (not the Lib Dems it turned out) were also firmly out of the loop. Instead political advisors to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change chose to brief a select few journalists, interested in business and with an understanding of energy but with relatively little prior knowledge of (or interest in?) the political fight their man had just spectacularly lost.
Energy Desk 23rd Nov 2012 more »
Letter: IF STEUART Campbell is ¬correct in his assertion that nuclear power stations in the UK have succeeded in paying their way without subsidy, perhaps he could explain why it was necessary for the UK Government to nationalise a near-bankrupt British Energy, before selling it to EDF for just £12.5 billion without passing on any responsibility for future decommissioning of current sites to the new owners? That, however, is in the past. If it’s going to be different in the future, perhaps Mr Campbell could explain why EDF wants a guaranteed minimum electricity price for nuclear of £140 per MW/h – well in ¬excess of what it costs to ¬generate from fossil fuels and most renewables, whether in receipt of subsidy or not?
Scotland on Sunday 25th Nov 2012 more »
Anoosh Chakelian talks to Lord Hutton, chair of the Nuclear Industry Association, former business secretary, and Labour’s ‘nuclear renaissance man’. You’ve got to look at the costs of all of the low-carbon sources. It’s pretty clear now that offshore wind is at the high end of the scale of cost, and nuclear is at the low end.
Total Politics 23rd Nov 2012 more »
Conservation chiefs have pledged to do all they can to minimise the environmental impact of any new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast. They said there were a few concerns that had sprung out of EDF Energy’s initial plans for Sizewell C but were looking forward to working with the company to try and iron them out. The pledge came on the same day as the electricity giant held the first of its public exhibitions in Leiston yesterday.
Eastern Daily Press 24th Nov 2012 more »
AN accommodation hostel for up to 3,000 workers building the new power station is to be created in the Leiston area – but its exact location still has to be determined.
Ipswich Star 21st Nov 2012 more »
A group of protesters campaigning against the expansion of Hinkley Point, near Burnham-On-Sea, blockaded access to the power station on Friday (November 23rd). Police made four arrests after ten protesters halted access to the power plant on Friday.
Burnham-on-sea.com 23rd Nov 2012 more »
Scotland is on track to miss virtually all its legally-binding targets to cut climate pollution for the next 15 years, according to the Scottish Government’s own senior energy official. Even if ministers adopt all the measures they have currently proposed to cut carbon emissions, Scotland will still fall eight million tonnes short of the target cut mandated by the Scottish Parliament for 2027 in the Climate Change Act. The revelation, which comes as Scotland seeks to promote its “world-leading” climate targets on the global stage, has been described as potentially disastrous by environmentalists.
Herald on Sunday 25th Nov 2012 more »
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, the Energy Department today (Nov. 20) announced an award to support a new project to design, license and help commercialize small modular reactors (SMR) in the United States.
Lab Manager 23rd Nov 2012 more »
Britain hopes a conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East could take place “as soon as possible”, after the United States said it would not be held next month.The U.S. State Department said on Friday that the conference could “not be convened because of present conditions in the Middle East and the fact that states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions for a conference”. It did not spell out when or if the event, originally scheduled for December, would take place. But Britain, which along with the United States, Russia and the United Nations is ones of the organisers, made it clear that the conference was only being postponed rather than cancelled altogether, saying it backed efforts to hold it next year.
Reuters 24th Nov 2012 more »
When the aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis returns to the placid blue waters of the Gulf with her strike force of 70 jets in the next few days, she will be ready for action off the coast of Iran.
Telegraph 25th Nov 2012 more »
ED DAVEY, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, has taken legal advice to have his Conservative deputy stripped of his responsibilities for green energy policy in an increasingly bitter coalition battle over wind farms. Davey appealed to David Cameron over comments made by John Hayes, the energy minister, who is a firm opponent of onshore wind power. The fallout comes as Britain’s onshore wind-farm industry is under threat from councils using new planning rules to block the construction of thousands of turbines.
Sunday Times 25th Nov 2012 more »
Telegraph 24th Nov 2012 more »