For the last week, the European Commission has been at pains to explain itself after leaked plans to change EU rules and allow European countries to provide direct state aid to nuclear power came under heavy fire. Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated Germany’s opposition to subsidies for nuclear energy, while Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said Austria would resist the plans as there was no future for nuclear energy in Europe. In an attempt to reassure anti-nuclear countries, the Commission published a rebuttal on its website. But the Commission’s arguments are as flawed as an ageing nuclear reactor. They paper over legal inconsistencies and are misleading about the effects that changes to European competition rules would have on the energy market. Here is a response to the Commission’s main points.
Greenpeace 26th July 2013 read more »
Tom Burke: The gloves are off. In recent days, a sustained attack on environmentalism has been mounted in the UK media. The Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times have all run articles by influential journalists blaming the environment community for our current woes. In the Financial Times, John Kay blamed environmentalist’s malign influence on procrastinating politicians for the risk that the lights will go out. In the Telegraph a fawning interview of Nigel Lawson by Cristina Odone saw him accusing the green reds under the bed of making us slaves to Russia and the middle east. In the Times, Tim Montgomerie used a blunderbuss of bilious invective to blame environmentalists for world poverty and domestic unemployment. The most striking feature of this wave of antagonism is not the lack of evidence for its wild exaggerations but the deep hostility of its tone. Something is getting profoundly under the skin of the authors.
Guardian 26th July 2013 read more »
At the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record, The Times was staggeringly premature this week in publishing an obituary for the green movement by Tim Montgomerie under the banner, “The greens can’t defy gravity. They’re finished”. “Finished?” I hear you ask. “How finished exactly?” Well judging by the last five days, not really that finished at all. Here are 10 things that have happened since Montgomerie performed the last rites for “the greens”:
Business Green 26th July 2013 read more »
An influential cross-party group of MPs has challenged David Cameron to return to the Arctic, accusing his government of being dangerously complacent about oil exploration in the region. In a pointed reference to the Prime Minister’s famous photograph with Arctic huskies in 2006, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) warns that his lack of decisive action to curb oil and gas activities there risks fuelling “dangerous climate destabilisation”. The photograph, taken in Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, was part of Mr Cameron’s drive to present himself as a modern, green politician. On that trip, he pledged to lead a “new green revolution” – a message memorably repeated four years later, when Mr Cameron announced in May 2010 that his newly formed coalition would be “the greenest government ever”. But the Labour MP Joan Wal ley, who chairs the EAC, said the Prime Minister had fallen well short of his environmental pledges. “David Cameron should visit the Arctic again to see the huge changes that have taken place since he was last there and renew his commitment to protecting the region,” she said.
Independent 27th July 2013 read more »
Guardian 27th July 2013 read more »
The Chair Joan Walley MP said: “The Government has failed to provide a coherent argument to support its view that exploring for oil and gas in the Arctic is compatible with avoiding dangerous climate destabilisation.”
Parliament 27th July 2013 read more »
With jobs and the economy the priority for each of the candidates, the future of nuclear power is central to the campaign. The current Wylfa power station is coming to the end of its operational life but there are plans for a replacement. The only candidate fully opposed to the construction of Wylfa B is the Socialist Labour Party’s Kathrine Jones. Ms Jones said: “All the other parties are pro-Wylfa B and they say jobs. Well, we say you can’t hide behind Wylfa B to provide jobs.
BBC 25th July 2013 read more »
Ask a grown-up: why can’t we put our nuclear waste into a rocket and fire it into the sun? Minister of state for energy Michael Fallon answers nine-year-old Kit’s question.
Guardian 27th July 2013 read more »
Areva SA (AREVA), the world’s biggest supplier of nuclear fuel and services, is monitoring the planned sale of uranium enricher Urenco Ltd. and said it won’t endanger its finances to take part in a potential bid. “We definitively monitor closely the situation,” Areva Chief Financial Officer Pierre Aubouin said in a Bloomberg Television interview today. “But we wouldn’t be doing anything that would hurt our balance sheet.” German utilities EON SE and RWE AG (RWE), the Dutch government and the U.K., which own Urenco together, have said they’d like to sell the centrifuge manufacturer, which competes with Areva as well as Russian and U.S. rivals. Areva and Urenco also have a joint venture that makes enrichment equipment.
Bloomberg 25th July 2013 read more »
Fukushima crisis update 23rd to 25th July. TEPCO had admitted that it was aware in January that highly contaminated groundwater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has long been leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean, but failed to admit it until this week.
Greenpeace 26th July 2013 read more »
Foreign nuclear experts have blasted the operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparency over toxic water leaks showed “you don’t know what you’re doing”.
ABC 26th July 2013 read more »
The head of Japan’s nuclear watchdog body has acknowledged for the first time that Tokyo Electric Power Co. has no choice but to release radioactive water accumulating at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea.
Asahi Shimbun 25th July 2013 read more »
Germany has committed itself to an ambitious long-term policy agenda to decarbonise the energy sector. The Energiewende – or energy transformation – policies aren’t cheap, but the German government says it’s a price worth paying for long term energy security and a low carbon economy. In Germany, public support for the Energiewende has been robust despite rising energy bills. The government maintains the immediate costs will be worth it in the long run, and the public seems sold on the bigger picture – so far. But with the European economy still in stormy waters, German elections in September, and ever rising costs it remains to be seen how long the support persists.
Carbon Brief 26th July 2013 read more »
Fife Labour Party has announced the death of stalwart councillor Mike Rumney. Mr Rumney served the Dunfermline area for nearly two decades representing the communities he loved. He died on Thursday after battling cancer but worked tirelessly and served as a councillor for Dunfermline South and as chairman of Dunfermline Area Committee right up until the day he died. Fellow Dunfermline councillor and friend Bob Young said: “Mike had fought his illness with determination, strength and dignity.
Courier 26th July 2013 read more »
The world’s longest wind turbine blades are officially making their way by road and sea from Denmark to Fife Energy Park in Methil. The three blades, which each measure a massive 83 metres long, will form part of Samsung’s offshore wind turbine demonstrator. Transporting them over 500 miles is no mean feat – nor was the task of making them over the past two years, said Flemming Sørensen, co-founder and managing director of Danish manufacturers SSP Technology.
Fife Today 24th July 2013 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News is now available: Renewable Heat and Green Deal updates; Sainsbury’s goes solar; Warm Up North gives contract to British Gas.
Microgenscotland 26th July 2013 read more »
It started as a peaceful, middle-class protest against fracking, with music and even a cricket match. But it ended in 15 arrests yesterday as “professional activists” clashed with 90 police officers.
Telegraph 26th July 2013 read more »
The government was accused of using “bully boy” tactics after 90 police officers descended on the sleepy village of Balcombe in West Sussex to break-up a protest against a proposed local oil and gas development. About 10 people were arrested as police forcibly removed protesters blocking the gate to a site just outside the village where Cuadrilla, the fracking company, plans to begin exploring for oil and gas next week.
Independent 26th July 2013 read more »
A septuagenarian natural resources entrepreneur claims that coal lying deep under Britain’s seabed can become a bigger – and safer – new source of energy than shale gas. Algy Cluff, 73, who in the 1970s discovered one of the North Sea’s biggest oilfields, has founded his fifth listed company to prove the theory. Cluff Natural Resources won two more licences on Friday to develop coal deposits off the coast of Cumbria and in Largo Bay, Fife, in Scotland. Added to its existing licences, its total UK acreage stands at nearly 31,000 hectares. His plan is to burn the coal to extract syngas using an underground coal gasification process, which then can supply gas power stations. Until recently, concerns over possible contamination of the water table have held back the technology onshore, but new horizontal drilling techniques developed by the oil and gas industry mean that it is possible to access from land coal deposits lying offshore where there is no issue with the water table.
Times 27th July 2013 read more »