Martin Horwood introduced a motion at the conference opposing the construction of the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, that was given a controversial go ahead by the government this month. It will be built with a combination of French and Chinese money. Martin quoted a National Audit Office report that said the likely costs of the power plant to be built in Somerset to billpayers had risen from an estimated £6 billion in 2013 to £30 billion. He criticised the government for changing the policy on not providing public subsidies for nuclear power and said: “There hasn’t been a single nuclear power station built anywhere in the world on time, on budget and without public subsidy. The EPR model being model being used at Hinkley hasn’t actually been built at all yet. The two in progress, in Finland and France are billions over budget and years late.
Gloucester Live 26th Sept 2016 read more »
The money invested to support the construction of Hinkley could have been used for other new clean technologies or energy efficiency. That’s the view of some of the energy experts who were at our Power Ride charity event last week, through which we raised more than £1,200 to support Parkinson’s and our Re-energise Nepal campaign Earlier this month the government gave the final go-ahead for EDF’s £18 billion project in Somerset. The Tory Administration has pledged £2 billion in the first nuclear plant in a generation. Industry Expert Georgina Penfold said: “I would prefer it if the money that’s going into Hinkley went into energy efficiency. I think if more investment was put into efficiency we wouldn’t have the supply gap that we’ve got and then we wouldn’t need to knee-jerk reaction into very big, expensive projects like Hinkley. “That said we do need baseload power and there isn’t any other possibility on the table right now so it was a tough call but personally it should have gone into more efficient measures.” Chris Kimmell, Commercial Manager at Open Energi believes Hinkley is “very old school”.
Energy Live News 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Amec Foster Wheeler has won a £7m contract to provide a new effluent treatment plant for the Dounreay nuclear site. The contract was awarded by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), which is responsible for decommissioning the former centre of fast reactor research and development in Caithness. The new plant is a key link in the chain to enable the retrieval, processing and packaging of waste from the Dounreay Shaft and Wet Silo. The overall objective is to make the waste safe for long-term storage and disposal. The scope of work includes concept and detailed design, manufacture of the modular process plant, offsite testing, delivery to the Dounreay site and onsite installation and commissioning. Liquid effluent from the new plant will be managed, processed and discharged by pipeline to the existing low level liquid effluent treatment plant.
Construction Index 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Construction News 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Extensive geotechnical and geophysical site characterization at the Moorside site in West Cumbria, UK, will be mostly complete by the end of the year, according to geotechnical survey specialists Fugro. The campaign has included onshore and offshore geological investigations.
World Nuclear News 26th Sept 2016 read more »
In pursuit of a complete failure to understand the problems with its own ‘capacity market’ Ofgem seems about to make things a whole lot worse by reducing capacity margins – by taking away the incentives to a lot of small scale generators whose existence helps to keep the electricity sector running. Ofgem runs on a piece of fantasy theory that the capacity market will work better if the ‘distorting’ benefits to so-called ’embedded;’ generators are taken away. In fact the opposite it the case. Ofgem’s concern that proposed big gas power stations cannot win bids at sufficiently low prices to put them into business partly because of the small generators is total nonsense. Without the small generators the price at which the required capacity will be supplied by the big power stations will increase not fall. The problem has to do with the principles and practice of the capacity market, and has nothing to do with the small generators who currently provide a valuable service. Ofgem’s actions are akin to destroying a table leg in order to save the table. The central problem is that future prices for electricity that the power stations could sell on the wholesale power markets are very uncertain, and quite likely to fall. Given this it will require very high capacity market prices (which will put consumer energy bills up by large amounts) to evince the capacity that Ofgem wants from gas fired power stations.
Dave Toke’s Blog 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Scotland has much still to do to get ready for climate change, writes Ilona Amos. The impacts of climate change are already becoming increasingly apparent here in Scotland, as in many other parts of the world. We are seeing temperatures hotting up year on year, the seasons becoming wetter and sea levels rising. Wet and stormy conditions last winter saw many regions deluged by flooding as seemingly incessant rain fell on already waterlogged ground. Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes as rivers burst their banks and engulfed whole villages. In an effort to tackle the problems that come along with a warming climate Scottish ministers set out a raft of objectives, policies and proposals in the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme, published in 2014. They also invited a group of independent experts from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to evaluate the country’s performance. The first annual report, by the CCC’s Adaptation Sub-Committee, has been released today.
Scotsman 27th Sept 2016 read more »
Barry Gardiner: The next Labour government will launch a new programme called ‘Repowering Britain’ that puts you in control. It will build on the innovation and leadership of 70 Labour Councils who have already committed to run their towns on 100 per cent clean energy by 2050. We need to localise the way energy is produced and stored. I want people earning from the energy they produce on their rooftop solar or their community wind turbines, not just consuming what the Big Six sell. We need to create smart networks and local grids to make energy work to pay people rather than people working to pay their energy bills. How can it be right that when the Government found out that we were being overcharged by £1.4billion a year on our energy bills they said, ‘it’s all the customers fault – we should shop around more’. Well we do. We need to shop around for a new government. A new Labour government will legislate to force the energy companies to put you on their cheapest tariff and to tell you if you can get a better deal elsewhere. More people die from cold each winter here in the UK than in Finland. We have four million people in fuel poverty and yet heat is escaping through draughty walls and windows. We will train a skilled workforce to retrofit insulation in Britain’s older housing stock to help vulnerable people keep warm and safe and free from fuel poverty.
Labour Party Press Release 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Business Green 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Labour has committed to ban fracking if it wins the next election. The party has so far called for a moratorium on fracking in the UK, and criticised the environmental safeguards that have been weakened by the Conservative goverment. But Barry Gardiner MP, the shadow energy and climate change secretary, is expected to announce today that the party will ban fracking outright.
Independent 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Fracking would be banned under a Labour government, the party announced yesterday, causing a furious reaction from unions. The party’s new stance would leave Britain dependent on foreign gas from “regimes fronted by henchmen, hangmen and headchoppers”, the GMB union said. The clash comes as the government prepares to announce whether it will overrule Lancashire county council, which rejected two fracking applications by Cuadrilla last year. The industry expects Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, to approve at least one of the applications.
Times 27th Sept 2016 read more »
One of Labour’s biggest donors has reacted angrily to the party’s announcement that it would ban fracking if it wins the next general election. Barry Gardiner, shadow energy secretary, said the UK should back “the clean technologies of the future” rather than locking itself into “dirty” fossil fuel use for another 30 years. The GMB union called the ban “madness”. The Conservative government has enthusiastically backed fracking as a way for Britain to develop new energy sources.
FT 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Stuart Fegan, the GMB’s national officer, added: “It is a nonsense that any political party serious on forming a government after the next planned general election in 2020 could promote a ban on shale gas extraction outright. With our national dependency on gas consumption set to increase in the immediate future, ruling out the possible use of a natural fuel that exists beneath our feet in parts of the UK is ridiculous.” Caroline Flint, the former shadow energy secretary, also criticised the proposed ban without there being a policy to replace it. She told a fringe event: “We can’t just be against things. Nobody is going to vote for a policy if they think that [energy] security is going to be at risk.” The stance leaves the party even more strongly opposed to fracking than the Scottish government, which has a moratorium in place until the impacts of hydraulic fracturing are researched further. The Welsh government opposes fracking and has instructed local authorities to turn down applications. In contrast to the negative reaction from the GMB, many environmental groups were delighted. Hannah Martin, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “With opposition to fracking at an all-time high across the country, this ban on an unproven and inexperienced industry will be widely welcomed.”
Guardian 26th Sept 2016 read more »
This year is the 30th anniversary of the nuclear disaster that contaminated 100,000 square kilometers of land in Eastern Europe and caused 31 direct deaths as well as countless subsequent deaths and health problems. Last month, Polygon took an in-depth look at the project, including interviews with the Polish developers The Farm 51, who were directly affected by the catastrophe. “It is a place where most of us won’t ever dare to go,” said project director Wojciech Pazdur in the documentary. “It’s a place that is on the one hand close but on the other we treat it as a truly forbidden zone, as a place of total isolation.”
Polygon 26th Sept 2016 read more »
A consultative body of the European Union has called for the European Commission to adopt a “more comprehensive” nuclear strategy. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) says the commission should highlight nuclear energy’s positive attributes. The European Commission is mandated by the Euratom Treaty to periodically issue a new Nuclear Illustrative Program (PINC) to indicate targets and a program for nuclear production and the corresponding investment required. The Commission issued its latest PINC in April this year. According to the EC, there are currently 129 nuclear power reactors in operation in the EU with a combined generating capacity of 120 GWe. Together they provide 27% of the bloc’s electricity. However, the Commission forecasts that there will be a decline in EU nuclear capacity up to 2025 due to ageing reactors being retired and some member states ending or reducing their reliance on nuclear energy. With new reactors starting up and lifetime extensions of existing reactors, this trend is expected to be reversed by 2030. Nuclear capacity is likely to remain between 95 and 105 GWe by 2050, when it will account for about 20% of the EU’s electricity production. Around 90% of the EU’s existing reactors would be shut down by 2030 without long-term operation programs, resulting in the need to replace large amounts of capacity, the EC said.
World Nuclear News 26th Sept 2016 read more »
The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is now home to the world’s largest solar power plant, according to local reports. The massive, 648-megawatt array was officially linked to the grid after being hooked up to a 400kV substation, the operator Adani Green Energy Ltd announced Wednesday. The plant is spread across 2,500 acres in the town of Kamuthi in the Ramanathapuram district and will supply enough clean, green energy for 300,000 homes. The Deccan Chronicle reported that the $679 million solar park consists of 380,000 foundations, 2.5 million solar modules, 576 inverters, 154 transformers and 6,000-kilometers of cables. The plant was built with parts and machinery from around the world.
Ecowatch 21st Sept 2016 read more »
What do we need to do in the coming years to lower the costs of the energy transition in the electricity sector? How can we use electricity in a climate-friendly way for heating, transportation and in industry? These are the first questions asked by the “Electricity 2030” discussion paper, with which the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has opened a debate on the tasks of energy policy in the coming years. The paper outlines twelve long-term trends in the electricity sector on the basis of current studies. The trends show that wind and solar energy are having an increasing impact on the energy system, gradually becoming the most important energy sources while remaining secure and affordable. These trends are the basis for determining the tasks of our energy policy for the coming years.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy 16th Sept 2016 read more »
China is installing one wind turbine an hour – according to a new analysis of the latest data on the country’s startling state-backed renewables boom. The analysis comes as China – alongside the US – moved to ratify the Paris climate treaty. China’s coal use fell for the second year in a row in 2015, with 2016 on track to be the third – though it remains the largest source of energy; causing an estimated 370,000 premature deaths from air pollution in 2013. But it’s China’s use of renewable energy that is really changing.
Renew Economy 27th Sept 2016 read more »
Brussels should make sure it considers Finland’s concerns during its investigation into a proposed state-backed rescue package for France’s nuclear reactor maker Areva, Finland’s prime minister Juha Sipilä said. In an interview with the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Mr Sipilä said it is important that any restructuring allows for the completion of the delayed Olkiluoto-3 EPR project “as planned” by the end of 2018. Areva, which is 87 percent owned by the French state, is building the reactor as part of a consortium with Siemens for Finnish nuclear operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO). Areva is negotiating a government-backed rescue package that will see it raise €5bn ($5.6bn) in the markets. It is also selling a majority stake in its reactor making division Areva NP, valued at €2.5bn, to rival French nuclear group EDF. In July 2016 Brussels opened a full investigation into the package, raising the possibility of stricter restructuring conditions being attached to public support for Areva.
NucNet 26th Sept 2016 read more »
A review of findings regarding irregularities in the manufacturing tracking records for nuclear power plant equipment manufactured at Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility in France has shown that out of 23 cases that posed the most significant safety challenges, 21 do not call into question the safety of the components, nuclear regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) said in a statement today. ASN said it had carried out the review in conjunction with France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).
NucNet 23rd Sept 2016 read more »
Steam generators at Fessenheim and Bugey are the only current areas of action for the French Nuclear Safety Authority, which has published a list of all the uncovered irregularities in manufacturing paperwork. Following questions over quality control and carbon content of steel in the reactor pressure vessel of the EPR under construction at Flamanville, France, Areva was asked by regulators to review its records for some 400 heavy steel components made at the Creusot Forge plant since 1965. ASN has now released a list of 87 irregularities concerning components currently in use at French nuclear power plants. The ASN has previously characterised the issues as “inconsistencies, modifications or omissions in the production files, concerning manufacturing parameters and test results.” It identified 23 which “in principle have the most significant safety implication”, although for 21 of those “ASN concluded that the deviations identified do not compromise the safety of the equipment concerned.”
World Nuclear News 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn’s drive for party unity descended into farce yesterday after his senior aide humiliated a shadow minister by rewriting a key Trident announcement via autocue. Clive Lewis, the shadow defence secretary, had been due to commit the Labour Party to abide by plans to renew the UK’s nuclear deterrent as part of a deal with the unions. However, Seumas Milne, the Labour leader’s director of communications, intervened to water down the text minutes before Mr Lewis was due to address the conference. Afterwards Mr Lewis punched a wall in fury and pulled out of a BBC interview. The row is all the more remarkable given that he is a prominent Corbyn ally and considered a potential future leader. He was preparing to tell the Labour conference that he regarded the issue of Trident as “parked” and that neither he nor the party would try to unpick the policy to push ahead with its renewal.
Times 27th Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
This year, SolarAid celebrates a decade of work towards a sustainable future, by distributing solar lights in rural communities in Africa. We’ve helped over 10 million people get access to clean, affordable solar light and helped catalyse two of the first solar lighting markets in Kenya and Tanzania. But we couldn’t have done it alone. In fact, we couldn’t have achieved even a fraction of the impact we’ve made without the help of our amazing supporters. It’s the people we’ve partnered with and the thousands of incredible donors, ambassadors and customers we’ve met along the way who have made SolarAid the success it is today. So this autumn we are launching our #Powerof10 campaign, in recognition of all the amazing people who have helped make SolarAid possible, and to drive forward our mission to eradicate the kerosene lamp.
Solar Aid 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Today a new report released calculates that 44% of UK electricity could be produced, with the right investment, by 2050 by ‘energy citizens’. Many more households, organisations and small enterprises could produce their own energy, supply demand-side flexibility or store energy in times of oversupply. Today’s report examines the extent of this potential, and provides insight into the role of ‘energy citizens’: anyone who moves from consuming, to producing, energy. This isn’t limited to individuals, but can include farmers, community groups, small business, and co-operatives. The report estimates that by 2030 15% of the UK population could be involved as ‘energy citizens’, rising to 35% in 2050 (producing 19% and 44% of our electricity respectively).
Blue and Green Tomorrow 26th Sept 2016 read more »
However, while it is unlikely the old joke about nuclear fusion – ‘nuclear fusion is 30 years away, and always will be’ – is unlikely to be retired any time soon, the fusion research scene has quietly begun to show signs of progress in recent years. Steady developments in the science behind nuclear fusion have led to a host of private-sector start-ups, and even major players such as defence giant Lockheed Martin are getting involved, leading to testing of innovative ways of building on the decades of work undertaken by government-funded institutes. Among these is Tokamak Energy – a British firm in the process of developing a small nuclear fusion reactor which it says could be connected to the grid within the next 15 years.
Business Green 27th Sept 2016 read more »
The first shipment of US shale gas is arriving in Scotland amid a fierce debate about the future of fracking in the UK. A tanker carrying 27,500m3 of ethane from US shale fields is due to dock at Grangemouth, the refinery and petrochemicals plant owned by Ineos. The company said the gas would replace dwindling North Sea supplies and secure the future of the plant’s workforce. But many politicians and environmental groups have criticised the shipment. The Scottish government – which has placed a moratorium on all fracking in Scotland while a study into its impact is carried out – said ministers were “unavailable to attend” the arrival of the shale gas shipment.
BBC 27th Sept 2016 read more »
The arrival of a giant tanker in the Firth of Forth in Scotland on Tuesday will signal the opening of a “virtual pipeline” transporting vast amounts of gas from US fracking wells – blamed for causing “human suffering and environmental destruction” – to Europe. Ineos, the company that runs the giant refinery at Grangemouth, plans to eventually transport more than 800,000 tonnes of ethane, using eight specially built ships, across the Atlantic every year – and claims this new supply could “revolutionise” UK manufacturing.
Independent 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Telegraph 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Guardian 26th Sept 2016 read more »
Times 27th Sept 2016 read more »
CAMPAIGNERS on both sides of the Atlantic are condemning bosses of the petrochemical giant Ineos for profiting from what they described as highly destructive shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania. Almost 10,000 have wells have been drilled there with a devastating effect on local communities and the environment. One of the companies supplying Ineos with ethane – Range Resources – has been fined $4.15 million (£3.1m) for environmental pollution. And, as a tanker loaded with ethane prepares to dock in Grangemouth, Broad Alliance – a global coalition of communities opposed to such oil and gas development – has issued a plea from Pennsylvania: “Please don’t accept these shipments of fracked liquid gases.¦ Americans are being sacrificed by having this production near their homes, schools and farms. Thousands of violations have been unc overed, showing that our air and water has been polluted by the process of extraction and gas production.”
The National 27th Sept 2016 read more »
AN SNP MP has admitted that he will continue to oppose fracking even if research commissioned by Nicola Sturgeon proves the controversial gas extraction technique to be entirely safe. Martyn Day will today witness the first ever shipment of fracked gas from US shale fields arrive in Scotland when a huge purpose built ship docks at chemical giant Ineos’s Grangemouth industrial plant, the largest employer in his Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency. While SNP ministers are to snub the event and protestors are expected at the site, Mr Day will attend and said he welcomed the arrival of fracking gas from America because the new supply line, which will ensure regular deliveries for years to come, will secure “real jobs” in the area. But he insisted he w ill continue to oppose the method in Scotland, rejecting a claim from Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire Ineos boss who wants to establish a fracking industry across the central belt, that welcoming overseas imports of shale gas while opposing it at home amounted to hypocrisy.
Herald 27th Sept 2016 read more »
There’s a moratorium on fracking here in Scotland because of the huge public opposition to it. It is seeing the suffering of communities and damage to the environment in the US that has led to communities the length and breadth of Scotland calling for a permanent ban on fracking. In Pennsylvania, where almost 10,000 wells have been drilled in the Marcellus Shale, people have seen their livelihoods destroyed, their local environment perhaps irreparably damaged and are linking certain sicknesses and ill health to the arrival of the industry in their neighbourhoods. INEOS are importing ethane from gas fracked in the Marcellus shale, where one of their suppliers, Range Resources, has attracted record fines for environmental violations and is implicated in gagging orders against children. INEOS also want to frack the central belt of Scotland, where they own or hold a majority stake in all onshore oil and gas licenses, and vast areas of Northern England despite strong opposition there too.
Energy Voice 26th Sept 2016 read more »