The Lake District national park has added its huge clout to growing concern that nuclear waste burial in Cumbria is a dangerous and economically damaging non-starter. The park’s governing authority has written to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) minister responsible for nuclear waste, warning for the first time that fears about losing nuclear industry jobs in the region need to be balanced by potentially disastrous effects on tourism. The move follows two public meetings in west Cumbria last week which heard from geological experts that a “cracked and leaky dish” was the best that the area’s complex rock strata could provide to store material with a radioactive life of hundreds of thousands of year. In the lett er, the authority chair, Bill Jefferson, tells Baroness Verma, the junior energy minister: “There are growing and increasingly widespread concerns that a repository below the national park or indeed a perception of such a proposal would not be in the long-term interests of the Lake District, its farming and resident communities and visitor economy.
Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »
Today sees the publication of the government’s long-awaited Energy Bill. Catch all the latest news, analysis, and reaction here.
Business Green 29th Nov 2012 more »
The UK government is considering paying firms for cutting electricity use as part of plans to try to save energy and reduce costs. It is one of a number of proposals to be published alongside the Energy Bill. The government outlined the Bill last week. It included extra investment in gas, renewables and nuclear to be paid for by households. But it was criticised for failing to show how the plans would save the need for energy in the first place. Proposals to cut energy use will be published alongside the Bill when it is formally published on Thursday.
BBC 29th Nov 2012 more »
The government’s energy bill, which will be introduced on Thursday, is a “defining moment” for the UK that will unlock huge investments in new nuclear power and offshore wind farms, says the head of one of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers. But Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said in an interview that much still had to be done before his company could move ahead with plans to build Britain’s first nuclear power station since 1995. “It is not a done deal,” he told the Financial Times. EDF Energy is in negotiations with the government over what precisely that strike price will be. The company has made clear that it will not proceed unless it is adequate to underpin what is expected to be one of the UK’s largest and most expensive infrastructure projects. But critics warn that too high a price will amount to a big public subsidy for nuclear power. Mr de Rivaz said he expected the transitional arrangement – with the strike price – to be agreed before Christmas, by the time of the bill’s second reading. EDF was expected to take a final decision on Hinkley by the end of this year, but this is now likely to slip into 2013. EDF received a site licence for Hinkley this week, the first for a new nuclear plant in 25 years. The EDF Energy chief dismissed as “utter rubbish” claims that the strike price could end up being as high as Â£150 per megawatt hour – more than three times the current wholesale price of electricity. “You can’t expect an unbalanced deal to last long-term,” he said.
FT 29th Nov 2012 more »
In response to comments on my last post about the way in which politics at Westminster are cutting across serious policymaking on energy, I hold strongly to the view that the energy bill, which should be published this week, is a very messy solution. The Treasury does not agree with the level of subsidies being offered but has been forced partially to back down because of the political imperative of keeping the coalition together. The secretary of state Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, believes in setting medium-term targets on emissions but has been forced to back down and to accept a time-limited policy, which will be reviewed again after the next election. The result is that no one believes the policy being published this week is the right answer, or that it will endure beyond 2015. Scottish energy policy is now clearly diverging from that of England – hostile to nuclear and very supportive of wind power. Sixty per cent of UK wind power is now generated in Scotland, where it seems to aro use little of the hostility so evident in England. Even if the referendum is lost by the Nationalists, I can’t see these and other policies being brought back into line with a Westminster model. Indeed to win the referendum the unionist parties may have to promise more concessions – for instance giving the Scots more power to set their own tax rates for individuals and business. Nationalism is now entrenched in the Scottish system.
FT 29th Nov 2012 more »
Pro-green Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs are considering a plan to defy the Government and rebel over the Coalition’s compromise Energy Bill. The Bill, which is published tomorrow, is expected to fall short of demands by environmentalists that it should commit the UK to cut carbon emissions produced by generating electricity to a specified level by 2030. But in a move which will dismay Conservative ministers a cross party group of MPs led by the members of the Energy and Climate Change Committee are considering tabling an amendment to the Bill to re-introduce the commitment. With Labour and back-bench Liberal Democrat support the move could potentially have enough backing to defeat the Government in the Commons. Even if it failed there it could be reinstated in the House of Lords where campaigners believe the y have a majority in favour of the move.
Independent 28th Nov 2012 more »
The government’s refusal to set a 2030 target on decarbonising power generation and the “political vilification” of renewable power is deterring investment in the UK’s energy infrastructure, the chief executive of the world’s biggest wind power company has said.
Guardian 29th Nov 2012 more »
Edward Davey, the Energy Secretary, said he plans to reduce electricity demand dramatically across the UK, as households face rising energy bills. Households, which are currently paying an average dual fuel bill of £1,300 a year, could get money back for each unit of electricity they save under the new plans. This would give a double financial reward, through lower bills and money back on top of this. The proposals come on the eve of the publication of the Energy Bill, which will pave the way for thousands of extra wind turbines and several nuclear power stations. Current estimates suggest bills will rise by £178 per household b y 2030 under the Government’s current package of energy measures. Within eight years, the cost of nuclear and wind farms is likely to make up £94 of the average bill.
Telegraph 29th Nov 2012 more »
In an attempt to assuage fears, the Government will today unveil plans to exempt energy-intensive industries from additional costs arising from the new long-term electricity contracts. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Decarbonisation should not mean deindustrialisation. There would be no advantage in simply forcing UK businesses to relocate to other countries.” Ministers are yet to specify which industries will be exempt, or how much money they will save. However, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the exemption would not affect the Â£7.6bn total for subsidies by 2020 – so would see other businesses and households pick up the costs instead. He insisted the impact of the exemption on others was “likely to be extremely small”.
Telegraph 29th Nov 2012 more »
Energy Bill Twitter Coverage.
Energy Desk 29th Nov 2012 more »
Tidal lagoons and tidal fences, deployed in conjunction with tidal stream technology, wave and wind power could generate more renewable energy than a Severn Barrage and be far less harmful to the environment, a new report claims today. The research suggests that a combination of small-scale but innovative renewable energy technologies could provide up to 14 gigawatts (GW) of low carbon energy capacity, more than double the proposed Hafren Lower Severn Barrage, which the Government is currently reviewing. Today’s report, by renewable energy experts Regen SW and consultancy firm Marine Energy Matterswhich, said the multi-project approach would also enhance the UK’s position as a hotbed for new technology development and would be more acceptable to local communities.
Greenwise Business 27th Nov 2012 more »