Britain could save £1bn a year by pursuing cheaper alternatives to the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station, according to a report that says the Franco-Chinese project is not essential to keeping Britain’s lights on. As few as four big offshore wind farms could provide as much electricity as the 3.2 gigawatts expected from Hinkley, with additional gas-fired power and interconnectors with other countries also helping to fill the gap if the Somerset plant is scrapped. The findings from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit follows the decision by Theresa May, prime minister, to put Hinkley on hold pending a review, with a decision expected next month. Critics say that the £18bn project is too expensive and risky. Richard Black, director of the ECIU, said the think-tank set out to determine whether it was possible for the UK to maintain adequate electricity supplies without Hinkley while keeping carbon emissions and energy bills in check. “Our conclusion is that [Hinkley is] not essential; using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower cost,” he said. “If Mrs May decides to go ahead with Hinkley, all well and good — if she decides not to, or if the project stumbles at a later stage, we have alternatives.”
FT 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Edie 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Business Green 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Times 26th Aug 2016 read more »
The government used one method to calculate it could add about £10 a year to each household’s bill, although some other calculations have suggested it could be more. In its report, the not-for-profit ECIU made the assumption that “the total annual cost of Hinkley will probably be about £2.5bn”. It then calculated the cost of a basket of alternative measures to meet the country’s energy and climate change targets, and concluded that bill payers, both domestic and business, would end up paying a total of £1bn less per year for their energy if they were adopted than if Hinkley C were built.
BBC 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has said that with the government looking for a way out of proceeding with the hugely expensive Hinkley nuclear project and the commissioning of new renewables schemes ‘falling off the cliff’, an urgent plan for kick-starting an energy revolution is now needed. Figures just released from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy show that the installation of small scale renewable energy schemes – those under 5MW – have almost disappeared in the last few months. There has been no new small scale wind, hydro or anaerobic digestion projects at all since January this year, and new solar schemes have seen a drastic cut. Dr Scott Cato believes this is entirely a result of changes in government energy policy, particularly changes to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT). She said: “The government is now looking for an exit route from Hinkley. This is great news; I have been calling for this white elephant to be shelved for many years. However, by putting all their eggs in one radioactive basket, and introducing policies that have discouraged individuals and communities from installing renewable energy schemes, they have all but killed off growth in small scale renewables. This is a sector with enormous potential not only for filling the energy gap and creating thousands of jobs, but also for generating home-grown energy that gives power back to communities rather than leaving it in the hands of giant corporations and foreign governments. It is a scandal that this sector, which was beginning to thrive in the UK, has been so badly hit.”
Green Party 25th Aug 2016 read more »
A state-owned Chinese power company under indictment in the U.S. pressed American nuclear consultants for years to hand over secret technologies and documents they weren’t supposed to disclose — and in some cases it got them, several of the consultants have told the FBI. Summaries of the consultants’ interviews with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were filed this month in a federal court where the company, China General Nuclear Power Corp., has been charged with conspiring to steal nuclear technology. The FBI documents surfaced shortly after the same company became a focus of concerns across the Atlantic: The U.K. last month delayed approval of the country’s biggest nuclear power station in a generation as questions swirled about whether China General Nuclear’s investment in the plant poses a security risk.
Bloomberg 25th Aug 2016 read more »
Horizon Nuclear Power will launch their second major public consultation next Wednesday. The developer behind Wylfa Newydd has published the public notice signalling their intention to submit an application for the nuclear power station next spring. Horizon Nuclear Power will launch their second major public consultation next Wednesday – giving residents the chance to have their say on the multi-billion pound plans for the plant, sites for workers’ accommodation and issues like highway improvements. Under planning law they have also published a public notice announcing their intention to apply for Development Consent to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy minister.
Daily Post 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Radioactivity and warming seas could make the seas near the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station more dangerous for marine creatures, a Plymouth scientist warns. EDF, which will build the Somerset power station if Theresa May, the Prime Minister, gives the green light, already has an Environment Agency permit to release water containing tritium into the seawater. Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen, found naturally in small doses, and at much higher levels in nuclear power stations’ cooling water. These so-called radionuclides are atoms which have excess nuclear energy, making them unstable. They break down into more stable elements, releasing energy that in high doses is potentially harmful to living things. A combination of global warming and heat from the power station could magnify the harm done by radioactivity in the water around a nuclear plant, Professor Awadhesh Jha from Plymouth University said. Lab experiments, led by Prof Jha, showed that the effects of even low doses of tritium on marine mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis), increased as the water temperature rose from 15C to 25C. The radiation damaged DNA – the genetic material – in the mussels’ cells and could lead to mutations, cancers and other diseases.”In common with other nuclear power plants around the world, the operating authorities of Hinkley C need to look at the potential impact of radionuclide discharges either alone or in combination with thermal stress in the marine environment,” Prof Jha said.
Plymouth Herald 25th Aug 2016 read more »
As the debate over whether to go ahead with the controversial Hinkley Point project drags on into the autumn, one ambitious nuclear start-up is making headway with a novel idea to develop “micro-nuclear” power stations for a fraction of the cost. The U-Battery concept was first conceived by scientists at the University of Delft in Holland and the University of Manchester in 2008 as an affordable, zero-carbon solution to the problem of providing power to sites unsuitable for renewables. Developed in response to a challenge from Helmut Engelbrecht, the former chief executive of uranium enrichment firm Urenco, the U-Battery initiative is now being taken forward towards commercial development by a consortium of six nuclear engineering firms and construction companies, including Urenco. Its makers claim the invention could unlock a new era of British nuclear power development, delivering home-grown zero-carbon power as well as providing UK industry with significant overseas export potential.
Business Green 26th Aug 2016 read more »
The UK’s burgeoning independent energy supply market is braced for a heavy hit as rocketing market prices make it harder for the smaller companies to compete against larger energy rivals. This summer energy markets have shown their steepest climbs in half a decade, which is already putting pressure on smaller companies to raise their prices while big six suppliers are able to delay price hikes, which are often responsible for an exodus of customers. In recent years the big six energy suppliers have lost market share to a rising breed of independent companies which typically rely on the wholesale energy markets to secure supply rather than producing their own gas and power by owning expensive production assets.
Telegraph 25th Aug 2016 read more »
Germany vs US
The Governor of New York State says Americans will be reading by candlelight unless nuclear is subsidized. The state’s Public Service Commission (NYPSC) implemented such subsidies at the beginning of August, claiming it “learned a lesson from Germany.” Craig Morris takes a look at the data. In short, Germany is paying coal to shut down, ramping up renewables far faster than nuclear shrinks, and enjoying unparalleled power reliability—while New York fails to move with solar and wind, pays nuclear to stay on, and has as much downtime a month as Germany has in a year.
Renew Economy 26th Aug 2016 read more »
New York state recently set a terrible example by approving a $7.6 billion bailout of failing nuclear power plants, writes PETER BRADFORD. But other states aren’t following. including California and Nebraska, where a host of highly competitive clean energy technologies are filling in the power shortfall left by nuclear closures, at much lower cost. It’s time to let old nuclear reactors die.
Ecologist 25th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – floating turbines
Floating offshore wind is generating increasing interest in the offshore wind industry. But although several pilot projects are (literally) ‘off the ground’, commercial deployments remain a number of years away. Offshore wind with foundations fixed to the seabed has performed admirably in shallow water sites of less than about 50m; costs have been reduced, AEP has been increased and supply chains have been developed. Much of the global resource is however in deeper waters and this is where the next opportunity lies; floating offshore wind could be the key to unlocking this opportunity. Floating offshore wind certainly addresses a number of inherent issues – such as reducing the amount of offshore activity and avoiding the use of heavy-lift vessels. However, as things stand, floating offshore wind remains a more costly option than the fixed equivalent. Over the coming years, we expect that much of this cost will be removed as deployments increase and learning is implemented. The biggest opportunity for cost reduction is in the floating structure itself where the cost per tonne remains high for most concepts. Where deep water is close to shore, floating wind farms can also offer considerable transmission costs savings.
Scottish Energy News 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Japan’s ambition to lead in the development of floating wind turbines is facing stiff competition from rivals in Europe — most notably from France — as companies and governments press to lower costs and prove the technology can rival other sources of clean energy. At the center of Japan’s effort is a demonstration project off the coast of Fukushima north of Tokyo. The largest floating turbine project of its kind at the moment consists of a 2-megawatt turbine, a 7-megawatt turbine, a substation, and a 5-megawatt model, which was towed into place last month and is expected to begin generating power soon.
Bloomberg 25th Aug 2016 read more »
In a field in Central Texas, Aaron Mandell and his crew are running pumping equipment to bring a former oil and gas well back to life. But they’re not trying to extract black gold. Instead, they are developing a way to turn abandoned oil and gas wells into vaults for storing electricity. The concept behind Mandell’s startup, Quidnet Energy, sounds simple: pumping water deep into the earth to fill up the cracks in-between rocks that previously held fossil fuels. When the pressurized water is released, it acts like a spring as it races through a turbine-generator above ground, powering it to produce electricity.
Guardian 25th Aug 2016 read more »
Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union may hinder its 15-year plan to shut down coal-fired power stations and decommission all but one of its ageing nuclear plants. The nation, which would lose 23 gigawatts (GW) of power-generating capacity with such measures, would then have to rely more than ever on imports of natural gas and electricity… or not. According to Alex Harrison, counsel at Hogan Lovells in London, who specializes in electricity markets and utilities, coal-fired generation may remain a key part of Britain’s energy supply for longer than planned.
Oil Price 25th Aug 2016 read more »