Further delays to the £24.5bn project to build Hinkley Point C have been predicted this week amid the continuing financial turmoil in China. As recently as three weeks ago the media was predicting that David Cameron and China’s president, Xi Jinping, would sign a deal at a meeting in the UK in October which would signify that a Final Investment Decision on Hinkley Point C had been made. The Chinese are expected to fund two thirds of the scheme. The Construction Products Association (CPA) is predicting that the start of the main works on the nuclear site will be delayed until 2018. Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “With the Chinese stock market in turmoil it is hardly surprising that the construction industry is predicting yet more delays to this £24.5 billion project. But we think the CPA is being overly optimistic. By 2018 the renewable industry will have had another 2 or 3 years of falling costs and innovation, whereas nuclear costs just keep rising and technical problems mount up. Somerset should kick EDF out now so that we can get on with building the sustainable industries we need to tackle climate change, capture the jobs required and transform our energy and transport system into one over which communities have more control.”
Burnham-on-sea.com 26th Aug 2015 read more »
More delays are being predicted for the Hinkley Point C nuclear project – originally expected to be generating electricity by Christmas 2017. As revelations emerge that the site has been effectively mothballed since 1st July this year, the Stop Hinkley Campaign is calling for the project to be cancelled now, rather than waiting for its slow death.
Stop Hinkley Press Release 25th August 2015 read more »
The Somerset Chamber has launched a series of workshops to help its members registered on the Hinkley supply chain prepare not only for Hinkley Point C, but also for other large infrastructure opportunities expected in the region over the coming years
Western Morning News 26th Aug 2015 read more »
Dungeness B power station is back up to full capacity after it finished a period of planned maintenance on one of the two units at the station. Each of the two units at Dungeness B is shut down every three years for something called a ‘statutory outage’. During the outage the reactor is switched off allowing a team of experts to inspect and maintain the plant. The power station’s owner EDF Energy, describes the process as being similar to a car’s MOT, but with much more planning. The company has spent more than £30 million on the planned programme of maintenance works. It included taking out and inspecting turbines, inspecting graphite within the core of the reactor and maintaining equipment that’s usually used 24 hours a day to generate electricity. Two unit transformers were replaced as part of the lifetime extension programme, following the announcement earlier this year that Dungeness B is set to continue operating until 2028.
Kent News 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Folkestone Herald 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Harrogate, along with other communities up and down England, has lost its mandate to refuse nuclear waste being imposed on its boundaries after a vote in parliament. A late April vote in the commons gives the government the right to bypass local planning laws, opening the door to hazardous waste being dumped in locations formerly out of bounds. Autonomy over sites previously under the domain of local council are now regarded as significant projects for our infrastructure, and can now be chosen as potential dumping groups by the secretary of state for energy, conservative Amber Rudd. The vote faced little scrutiny, possibly due to its timing – taking place late in the day before parliament disbanded for the general election, sparking fierce criticism from campaign groups. Zac Goldsmith, one of the only MPs to actually oppose the move, spoke out after the vote. “Effectively it strips local authorities of the ability to stop waste being dumped in their communities,” said Goldsmith.
Harrogate Informer 26th Aug 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Scotland Forum will be holding a seminar this Friday, 28th August in Isleburgh Community Centre, Lerwick, Shetland Islands which will focus on three key issues of interest to its members – the transportation of nuclear materials through Scotland from Dounreay, Scottish Government radioactive waste management policy and the positive way NFLA Scotland members are developing dynamic low carbon energy policies.
NFLA 26th Aug 2015 read more »
Registration has opened for an event highlighting the challenges facing the nuclear industry. The “Innovus Characterisation Challenges in the Nuclear Industry” event will take place on Thursday October 22 between 9:30am and 3:30pm at the Rheged Centre near Penrith. The event aims to SME’s and leading figures from the industry and academia, and will try to give a unique insight into the challenges the industry faces, and outline the opportunities for businesses who may have the knowledge and expertise to help solve them. The event, in partnership with Sellafield Ltd. will also serve as a high profile showcase for promotion and networking.
In Cumbria 26th Aug 2015 read more »
I have previously laid out the obsolete nature of the 20th century electricity system, which relied on large “baseload” nuclear and fossil fuel plants located far from the largest electricity consumers sending (and wasting) electricity over long high-voltage transmission lines. Such a system simply makes no sense anymore given the cheaper, cleaner, generally smaller-scale, and more sustainable energy technologies of the 21st century. But there is a kind of “baseload” power that does make some sense. And that’s the kind that doesn’t involve nuclear or fossil fuels. It can be argued, of course, that any system that provides electricity 24/7 is “baseload” power–and I would make that argument. Thus, a rooftop solar system with good battery backup is, by that definition, baseload power. Now renewables are increasingly capable of providing large-scale “baseload” power as well.
Green World 26th Aug 2015 read more »
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency will open a novel nuclear fuel bank in uranium-rich Kazakhstan this week where countries who build nuclear power plants will be able to make withdrawals of low-enriched uranium — hopefully removing the temptation to further enrich it for use in weapons. Suspicions that Iran was using its ostensibly civilian nuclear program to develop nuclear-grade uranium led to international sanctions being imposed on Tehran. There are big questions now over whether the Kazakh bank, run under the aegis of the IAEA, will help dissuade countries from trying to set up their own uranium-enrichment programs.
Politico 26th Aug 2015 read more »
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on Thursday to locate the world’s first bank of low-enriched uranium (LEU) in the ex-Soviet nation to ensure fuel supplies for nuclear power stations and encourage nuclear non-proliferation.
Reuters 27th Aug 2015 read more »
When it comes to wind farms, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd appears to be facing a dilemma. She has partially delivered on the Conservative manifesto pledge to end new subsidies for onshore wind power by promising to close the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme to wind farms one year early in 2016, but questions remain over wind power’s role in the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme set up by the coalition government to support low carbon energy projects. Government officials are keen to reduce the cost of the scheme and have postponed the next round of contract auctions, amid on-going fears the green levies that pay for the CfDs are set to bust through the Treasury-imposed £7.6bn spending cap, known as the Levy Control Framework (LCF). But with onshore wind consistently proving to be the cheapest form of renewable energy, can Rudd credibly end all support for a technology that could provide one of the lowest cost routes to decarbonisation at the same time as repeatedly insisting she is committed to low cost decarbonisation? Questions also remain about whether EU State Aid rules allow the government to lock wind farms out of a CfD scheme that was supposed to be technology neutral. According to a number of energy industry insiders, Whitehall officials are now actively considering a number of ways to solve this dilemma, including innovative proposals for the introduction of a so-called “subsidy-free” CfD. This would allow the government to continue providing mature clean energy technologies with a relatively low level of price support, without necessarily classing the contracts as “subsidies”. The idea is said to be gaining traction in the corridors of 3 Whitehall Place and in the past few months has been floated by both the think tank Bright Blue and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Centre-right think tank Policy Exchange is also preparing a report on subsidy-free CfDs, which is expected to be published later this week. Contract prices capped at a level set by new gas plants, effectively allowing wind and solar projects that can undercut this level to continue to compete for price support. The proposal works on the assumption that new renewable energy capacity is not really competing with established grid power, but the new fossil fuel capacity that would otherwise have to be built.
Business Green 26th Aug 2015 read more »
Simon Peltenburg, Head of Projects (Scotland) at RES, discusses his views on how we can continue to benefit from deploying onshore wind. In its Future Energy Scenarios Report National Grid said: ‘Gone Green is the only scenario to achieve all renewable and carbon targets on time’. This scenario has renewable technologies contributing 34% of electricity supplied by 2020, with wind power contributing the vast majority of output. ‘In the three other scenarios environmental targets are not met on time due to lower prosperity and less green ambition.’ And, already the cheapest form of large scale renewable or low carbon energy, onshore wind in the UK is approaching the final stages of its journey to becoming subsidy-free. However, recent Government announcements, including the proposal to remove the RO from onshore wind a year early and imposing the Climate Change Levy on renewables, are sending confusing and worrying messages to investors, developers and communities alike. Depriving the lowest cost generating option – onshore wind – of a contractual framework and route to market would be fundamentally anti-competitive and not in the best interests of UK consumers. RES is therefore promoting a constructive dialogue between the onshore wind sector and Government to ensure onshore wind has a route to market so that it can continue to deliver substantial consumer benefits without subsidy, whilst also being located in the right locations with the backing of local communities and continuing to provide local and regional jobs and economic value. Subsidy-free does not have to mean support-free, and with some holistic thinking the UK can still become a world-leading carbon cutter at lowest cost.
Scottish Energy News 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
The US Navy is investing in what will be the largest solar farm in the world in order to provide power for 14 of its bases. The climate of Arizona, where the two earlier phases of the Mesquite solar farm are already up and running, provides 300 days of sunshine a year. And the Navy’s deal to extend the farm is the largest purchase of renewable energy ever made by a US federal government agency. The solar farm project is one of a growing number being installed across what is known as the American Sun Belt − the southern states of America, which have expanding populations, plenty of sunshine, but also large areas of arid and unproductive land. The price of solar panels has now fallen so far worldwide that, in sunny climes, they can compete on cost with any other form of energy generation. This new generation of huge solar farms produces as much power as a large coal-fired plant.
Climate News Network 26th Aug 2015 read more »
President Obama unveiled on Monday a package of programmes to help America switch to cleaner energy, including $1bn in loan guarantees to boost ‘innovative’ technologies, like smart grids and solar rooftops. The funding will also go towards installing solar panels on military housing and helping low-income families become more energy-efficient
Edie 26th Aug 2015 read more »
The planning rules on the installation of some renewable technology should be changed to make it easier for households and businesses to reduce their carbon emissions, environmental groups have said. WWF Scotland, RSPB Scotland and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland are backing proposals to extend permitted development rights for solar panels on non-domestic buildings and for air source heat pumps on homes. The change would mean that those who wish to install the measures would be able to do so without applying for planning permission in most cases. Permitted development rights can reduce costs for applicants and building owners by removing the fees and costs associated with the planning application process.
STV 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Energy Voice 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – AD
The UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) generation capacity has passed the 500MW milestone, according to the latest figures from the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA). The trade body yesterday revealed 514MW of electrical equivalent capacity is generated as electricity or biogas from more than 400 AD plants across the farming, waste, and water sectors. “ADBA’s market data now shows that AD offers over 500MWe electrical equivalent capacity – more capacity than one of the UK’s nuclear power plants, Wylfa, which is being decommissioned this year,” she said. “This capacity is extremely valuable because AD generates low carbon baseload or dispatchable power, helping to keep the lights on and balance the output from intermittent renewables such as wind and solar.” However, the body warned that a government decision to remove the Levy Exemption Certificates (LEC) that allowed renewable power to avoid the Climate Change Levy imposed on businesses could cost the industry up to £11m, while a review of the pre-accreditation for the feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidy scheme could hamper further growth. “To continue to expand, the industry needs viable support in the forthcoming FiT review, and an Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget that will support new green gas,” Morton said. “AD has the potential to meet 30 per cent of UK domestic gas demand, and overall it could cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent and support food security and production.”
Business Green 26th Aug 2015 read more »
The number of subsidized solar power storage installations has increased by more than 35% in a year in Germany. Falling prices and the desire for energy independence are fuelling this high demand. In the first seven months of this year, the German development bank KfW has supported 35% more solar energy storage projects than in the same period in 2014. Since the German federal government’s launch of the PV storage system support program in 2013, more than 12,000 PV storage systems have been installed.
Renew Economy 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Electric utilities typically focus on supply-side solutions to meet peak demand, balance electric loads, and meet customer needs. Demand profiles are assumed to be static, and the grid must be built to meet that load profile. This approach to building a grid is expensive. The grid will need an estimated $1.5 trillion in investment between now and 2030, largely to meet forecasts for ongoing generation, transmission, and distribution needs. That translates to $50–80 billion dollars every year.But a much cheaper approach is to make not just supply but also demand highly flexible and responsive to price signals. In a new report released today, The Economics of Demand Flexibility, we show how simple, Internet-connected technologies like smart thermostats to control AC, dryer timers, grid-interactive water heaters, and smart EV charging can drive out 10–20% of those anticipated grid investments, while simultaneously saving customers 10–40% on their electricity bills.
Renew Economy 27th Aug 2015 read more »
The eminent climate economist Nicholas Stern has condemned the counterposing of economic growth with climate action as a false and diversionary tactic that could damage prospects for agreement at the Paris climate talks in December. Several business groups have complained about the costs of climate mitigation and Andrzej Duda, the Polish prime minister, recently said that EU plans for ambitious emissions cuts would be costly and “bad for Poland”. But speaking to an audience of ambassadors in Paris, Professor Stern, the chair of the Grantham research institute on climate change and the environment, said that it was a false dichotomy to posit growth against clim ate action. “To portray them as in conflict is to misunderstand economic development and the opportunities that we now have to move to the low-carbon economy,” he said. “To pretend otherwise is diversionary and indeed creates an ‘artificial horse race’ which can cause real damage to the prospects for agreement.”
Guardian 26th Aug 2015 read more »