The UK Government “is on the wrong side of history” as it is supporting nuclear and cutting subsidies for green energy. Frans Van Den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury told ELN subsidising nuclear power will lead to increased energy bills for consumers. The company claims the government’s proposed £7 million budget for solar is equivalent to subsidising Hinkley Point for just two days. Mr Heuvel said: “It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? We know already from the Contracts for Difference… that the offers made with solar are already lower than the strike price – the minimum guaranteed price for investors – than nuclear. 10 years from now imagine what the price will be for solar. It has been reduced by 50% in the last seven, eight years.”
Energy Live News 26th Oct 2015 read more »
In Whitehall parlance it is known as “mogging” – slamming together or scrapping departments to save cash. Speculation about machinery of government changes is set to reach a fever pitch this week as MPs debate a private member’s bill on the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The bill, introduced by the maverick Tory MP Peter Bone, is unlikely to pass – in its current form at least. Nevertheless, for the hundreds of civil servants at DECC, the debate will not be much fun because its dissolution remains a distinct possibility. With George Osborne asking for departments to prepare for budget cuts of as much as 40 per cent, winding up one or two would help to ease the burden on those that are considered indispensable. Ministers are urgently running the rule over possible savings in advance of the chancellor’s autumn spending review on November 25.
Times 26th Oct 2015 read more »
US – Radwaste
Is the Missouri Landfill Fire a Chernobyl or Fukushima in the Making? Initially this seems like an odd question, and even hyperbole. However, the tonnage of radiological waste at the Bridgeton-Westlake landfill exceeds that of Fukushima over 20 fold, and Chernobyl by 163 times. Nonetheless, how diluted the Bridgeton nuclear waste is appears unknown. The fire may reach the area where this radiological waste was disposed, in as little as 3 to 6 months, if action is not taken to stop it. Even if it is stopped, it should serve as a warning of the risks of sending nuclear waste, and radioactive rubble from decommissioned reactors to regular landfills, as is becoming the fashion. The burial of nuclear waste, even in special facilities, constitutes a hazard, as well.
Mining Awareness 15th Oct 2015 read more »
The operator of a closed radioactive waste dump that caught fire in southern Nevada last weekend was troubled over the years by leaky shipments and oversight so lax that employees took contaminated tools and building materials home, according to state and federal records. A soundless 40-second video turned over by the firm, US Ecology, to state officials showed bursts of white smoke and dirt flying from several explosions on 18 October from the dump in the brown desert, about 110 miles north-west of Las Vegas. In the 1970s, the company had its license suspended for mishandling shipments – about the same time state officials say the material that exploded and burned last weekend was accepted and buried. Nevada now has ownership and oversight of the property, which opened in 1962 near Beatty as the nation’s first federally licensed low-level radioactive waste dump. It closed in 1992. State officials said this week they did not immediately know what blew up.
Guardian 25th Oct 2015 read more »
US – new reactors
The Spring City, Tennessee, nuclear reactor — the nation’s first new nuclear-powered generating plant of the 21st century — has gotten the go-ahead from the federal government. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) last week issued an operating license for Watts Bar Unit 2. TVA President Bill Johnson said it will still be several months before Unit 2 begins commercial operation as workers begin the slow process of fueling, starting and testing the reactor.
Kallanish Energy 26th Oct 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
A new study says children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere, a difference the authors contend undermines the government’s position that more cases have been discovered in the area only because of stringent monitoring. Most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture (state) have been given ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The most recent statistics, released in August, show that thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children, a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier. Elsewhere, the disease occurs in only about one or two of every million children per year by some estimates.
The Big Story 8th Oct 2015 read more »
A vocal advocate of nuclear power in Australia, Dr Alan Finkel, is set to be named as the country’s next chief scientist. The appointment of Finkel, an engineer and former neuroscience research fellow who has served as the chancellor of Monash University since 2008, is due to be announced by Malcolm Turnbull this week. It is not yet clear whether the prime minister’s choice, first reported by the Herald Sun on Monday, signals a new openness by the government to consider nuclear power generation.
Guardian 26th Oct 2015 read more »
The overall cost of replacing and maintaining Britain’s nuclear deterrent will reach 167 billion pounds ($256 billion), much more than expected, according to a lawmaker’s and Reuters’ calculations based on official figures. The Scottish Nationalist Party, which wants Britain’s Scotland-based nuclear-armed Trident submarines scrapped, called the sum “unthinkable and indefensible” at a time when deep cuts under the government’s “austerity” policies mean “thousands of people across the UK are struggling to afford basics like food”. Some military officials also oppose investment in Trident, saying the money would be better spent on maintaining the army and on more conventional technology, which have also faced cuts.
Reuters 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Mirror 25th Oct 2015 read more »
In a large complex located at Greifswald in the north-east corner of Germany, sits a new and unusual nuclear fusion reactor awaiting a few final tests before being powered-up for the very first time. Dubbed the Wendelstein 7-x fusion stellarator, it has been more than 15 years in the making and is claimed to be so magnetically efficient that it will be able to continuously contain super-hot plasma in its enormous magnetic field for more than 30 minutes at a time. If successful, this new reactor may help realize the long-held goal of continuous operation essential for the success of nuclear fusion power generation.
Gizmag 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Vice 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Water giant United Utilities is to install Europe’s biggest floating solar power system on a reservoir near Manchester, as it seeks to cut its energy costs. The 12,000 panel, £3.5m development will be only the second of its kind in Britain, dwarfing an 800-panel pilot in Berkshire last year, and will be the second biggest in the world after a scheme in Japan. Installation of the panels is due to begin today at the Godley reservoir in Greater Manchester, where it will provide a third of the power for a water treatment works. The system is scheduled to be completed before Christmas, to qualify for subsidies before they are due to be drastically cut in the new year.
Telegraph 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Aberdeen-based BWE Partnership has announced that it has been granted full planning permission for its second solar park project to be built in Kinblethmont Estate near Arbroath, Angus. Work on the 5MW ground mounted large solar PV project is set to begin in early December on the 26 acre site and when complete the solar park should produce enough energy to power around 3500 homes.
Scottish Energy News 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Last week there was dismay as the future of Britain’s nuclear sector was subcontracted to France and China. Now, as the impact of the cuts in subsidies for green energy hits home, the country’s future as a leader in renewable technologies risks going the same way as the nuclear expertise that used to be world-beating. Along with it could go its admired position as an effective voice in the climate-change negotiations. In Bonn last week, as diplomats met for the final round of pre-Paris talks, there was bewilderment at the abrupt change in direction. Suddenly the UK, so recently at the forefront of negotiations within the EU, driving through ambitious targets for carbon reduction, looks like a country that isn’t taking climate change seriously.The government says it just wants to keep energy bills down, and it is true that there is a case for tackling them. It is also true that the subsidies for solar favour wealthier homes, those with suitable roof space to fit solar panels; it would be fairer to spend more on making homes warmer. All the same, the impact on bills of the complex support structure that provides a stable price framework for the new technologies required to green the energy supply and incentivise providers has been greatly exaggerated. By the government’s own estimates, the planned cut in solar subsidies by an industry-destroying 87% will save the average household 50p a year. Meanwhile, energy costs have been blamed for the crisis in the British steel industry too. Yet it is dumping, and Treasury reluctance to challenge EU rules on state support for energy-intensive industries, that has done the real harm to workers in towns like Redcar and Scunthorpe.
Guardian 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Letter: I WISH to congratulate the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for scrapping the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme’s pre-accreditation element which provided developers with a financial security blanket for their hare-brained micro and mini- hydro schemes. We should scrap the whole idea of paying any subsidies for this junk electricity issuing from micro hydro, wind and tidal turbines. However, money should be paid out for every unbroken supply of renewable electricity at full capacity over a minimum of 24 hours. Scotland has got to be one of the worst countries in the world for hydro; Norway is the best because it rains a lot and has glaciers that fill the rivers during the summer months. Hydro in Scotland works for about 25 per cent of the year, whereas Norway’s hydro keeps on running for around 98%.
Herald 26th Oct 2015 read more »
Commenting ahead of the closure (on 23 October) of the Government’s consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme for renewable energy financial services company, Baker Tilly, has warned that it may cause lasting damage to the UK renewables industry.
Mark Stewart, Head of Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Scotland, Baker Tilly, said: “This consultation has all been about the Department for Energy and Climate Change trying to manage its costs and the Government’s response will have very serious implications for the whole renewables sector. “Many of our clients have strongly argued that the proposed hurdle rates for onshore wind and solar projects in particular are well below that which would attract investment in the FiT scheme going forward.
Scottish Energy News 26th Oct 2015 read more »
In a well-insulated building the energy emitted by a television, a fridge and two human bodies would be enough to heat it, said senior electrical engineer Bill Watts, who thinks we could all save money and energy by adopting Passivhaus building standards. Although central heating systems would be needed on the coldest days, they would be made “all but redundant” in homes built according to Passivhaus standard, said Mr Watts, a senior partner at engineering firm Max Fordham. The standard, developed in Germany in the early 1990s, leads to homes that are so energy efficient they only need an extra 15kWh/sq m per year of heating energy. So, just an hour in front of the box would be “enough to keep you warm when it’s down to three degrees outside. That will give you 21 degrees inside,” said Mr Watts. “It does depend on whether you’ve got very heavy concrete walls. But if it’s a modern construction, things will heat up very quickly.” Mr Watts said those wishing to feel the full heating benefits of a television would need to thoroughly insulate their home through such methods as triple-glazing and wall insulation. “The average home in the UK uses 130kWh/sq m per year to heat. Even in older homes, effective insulation can, in some cases, reduce this to as little as 15kWh/sq m per year, meaning the modest amount of radiated heat from a television in a well-insulated home would keep most of us comfortably warm,” said Mr Watts. Although popular in Germany and Sweden, not enough homes in the UK are being built to the Passivhaus standard, he said. Instead money was being spent on more wasteful systems such as Combined Heat and Power schemes and District Heating, which are switched on all year round and can cost between £5,000 and £15,000 to install. Investing in Passivhaus standard insulation of existing building stock as a national infrastructure priority, would also reduce the need for new power plants. “Maybe we wouldn’t need that next generation of expensive Chinese-funded, French-built power stations after all,” he said.
Independent 24th Oct 2015 read more »
Patrick Harvie MSP, Economy and Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (26 Oct) welcomed the findings of a parliamentary inquiry into energy security, including the call for Scottish ministers to prioritise a demand reduction strategy. The report, by the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee of which Mr Harvie is a member, highlights:-Energy efficiency programmes that are due to be devolved – a measure which Scottish Greens successfully argued for during the post-referendum Smith Commission. -Energy efficient housing – a consistent priority from Green MSPs, which Scottish ministers now say will become a national infrastructure investment.-An invitation for UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd to give evidence to the committee to explain the impact of UK Government policies such as the early scrapping of onshore wind subsidies – an issue Mr Harvie urged the committee to investigate in August. “The report highlights the benefits to our energy system by focusing on energy efficient housing and community-owned renewables. It’s also important that we have on record the fact that we are not minutes away from blackout as proponents of unconventional gas and nuclear would have us believe. Scotland is undoubtedly heading in a greener direction but we need to keep our ambition on track.”
Scottish Green Party 26th Oct 2015 read more »
Fuel Poverty – Scotland
There has been a “clear growth” in the numbers of Scots who are struggling to pay their energy bills, according to Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS). The organisation said it had seen a 130% increase in energy advice cases in the past four years. It said low pay, high living costs and welfare reforms had been key drivers behind many cases it had dealt with. The Department of Energy said its top priority was to keep bills low for hardworking families and businesses. CAS has called for action across a range of issues including long call waiting times, billing errors and additional support for consumers in vulnerable situations. It also said debt collection repayments were often set too high and highlighted welfare reform and social security sanctions as being “tied intrinsically” to a household’s ability to sufficiently heat their home. “The levels of fuel poverty in Scotland are higher than ever, and all over the country there are families who yet again this winter will face the devastating choice of whether to heat their home or put food on the table.”
BBC 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Herald 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Herald 25th Oct 2015 read more »