An idiot’s guide to capacity markets would tell you they are essentially a game for idiots. You can’t auction the unknown. It becomes a game for gamblers not legislators. So, predictably, in the first round of auctions Santa — ie the public — threw a £1 billion pre-Christmas subsidy to big energy companies and they agreed to pocket it. The nominal deal also included big energy agreeing to keep Britain’s lights on. DECC breathed a sigh of relief and went back to writing its own letters to Santa. For most people, keeping the lights on remains a pretty important test of government competence — and energy companies know this. That is why, a couple of years ago, they started mothballing existing gas power stations, and permissions to build new ones. On the surface the explanation was that power prices were too low for the stations to remain viable. But behind the scenes energy companies were already preparing to “game” the system. If you can manufacture the prospect of a shortfall, you can manufacture the case for a new subsidy system to avoid it. Big energy invented the idea of capacity markets and sold it to civil servants in DECC. The embarrassment is that the government fell for such an obvious sucker punch. It wasn’t as though Parliament lacked other better choices.
Morning Star 31st Dec 2014 read more »
Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has now officially confirmed the results of the first ever Capacity Market Auction, which is great news for consumers as fierce competition drove costs down below expected levels. The result from the auction that closed late on Thursday 18 December ensures that enough of our existing capacity will remain open at the end of the decade, as well as unlocking new investment, including a large independent gas plant at Trafford.
DECC 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
After the 2011 shutdown of a $2 billion program to recycle the plutonium into mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel that can be consumed in slightly modified nuclear reactors already in use, the government reevaluated its options. In 2014, the country’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, or NDA, narrowed its focus to three technology options for clearing its plutonium stockpiles: modifying existing reactors, new construction of a reactor design used worldwide, or new construction of a Generation IV reactor designed by General Electric that has never been built before. We recently evaluated the pros and cons of each competing technology in anticipation of a head-to-head competition and determined General Electric’s PRISM reactor might be the most economical in the long run. Now it’s time to dig into the trends supporting the company’s plan to dispose of the United Kingdom’s plutonium stockpiles. Multiple billion-dollar revenue streams are at stake.
The Motley Fool 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
Letter to Copeland Councillors: We would like to congratulate Copeland Councillors on their scrutiny over the recent wind turbine planning applications in the Copeland area. No matter that we disagree with the decisions it is important that councillors apply equal scrutiny to each and every planning application. We were very shocked to find out that there has been no scrutiny over the “Moorside” 100 borehole plans just a five minute walk from the centre of the pretty Lakeland village of Beckermet.
Radiation Free Lakeland 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
A “catastrophic” nuclear accident in Plymouth resulting in multiple casualties plunged government agencies into chaos — but luckily for residents it was just a drill. The October 2013 exercise to test responses to a meltdown aboard a submarine at HM Devonport threw up a string of failings including confusion over what was meant by being “downwind” of radioactive fallout, it was revealed yesterday. An official report found that dozens of “lessons” needed to be learned from the scenario involving “an unlikely series of catastrophic, highly improbable system and procedural failures.”
Morning Star 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
Plymouth Herald 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
Western Daily Press 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
ITV 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
Engineering & Technology 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
Malware has been discovered in a device connected to the control systems of a nuclear power plant in South Korea. The danger to critical infrastructure posed by malware has once again been highlighted after a computer worm was discovered in a device connected to the control system of a South Korean nuclear power plant. The discovery comes just days after a German steelworks suffered “massive damage” after a cyber attack on its computer network.
Tech Week Europe 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
Ireland’s energy minister said the country can’t discount nuclear power. At the moment nuclear power is banned in Ireland but it could be on the cards in the distant future. In an interview with the Irish Independent this week, Alex White who took the post on 11 July 2014 after a reshuffle said: “I have the view that if you’re having a serious debate about energy, you cannot exclude nuclear.” The minister added: “We’re not at any stage near having a proposal for a nuclear power plant but we may also be too small.” A government green paper released last year suggested it would be “technically possible” to put a small nuclear reactor at the site of an existing coal plant.
Energy Live News 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
As another nuclear power plant closed this week, the United States faced a dwindling fleet of aging reactors, few new projects, and the challenge of safely mothballing radioactive fuel for decades. Almost all its nearly 100 remaining reactors will be more than 60 years old by 2050. Their owners will have to decide whether the investments needed to keep them running are worth it, given the influx of cheap natural gas that has reshaped the U.S. energy economy. So far, nuclear isn’t winning. Vermont Yankee, which shut down Monday after 42 years of operation, is the fourth U.S. nuclear facility to close in two years. For the owners of each recent retiree—from Vermont Yankee to San Onofre in California, Kewaunee in Wisconsin, and Crystal River in Florida—the math just didn’t work.
National Geographic 1st Jan 2015 read more »
While the world’s attention focuses on North Korea’s cyber war with Sony, the Hermit Kingdom is rapidly increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons material, with little real pushback from the United States.
Chicago Tribune 1st Jan 2015 read more »
Iran and the United States have tentatively agreed on a formula that Washington hopes will reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear arms by committing it to ship to Russia much of the material needed for such weapons, diplomats say. In another sign of progress, two diplomats told Associated Press that negotiators at the December round of nuclear talks drew up for the first time a catalogue outlining areas of potential accord and differing approaches to remaining disputes.
Guardian 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
There’s much more to the deeply troubled Russian-American relationship than Ukraine. Under the radar, tensions have also been brewing over compliance with a number of arms control treaties that for decades have been vital to keeping the peace between the two nuclear powers and setting an example for other countries. Washington accuses Moscow of violating at least five of these agreements. A failure to resolve the impasse could have extremely dangerous consequences for the post-Cold War order, since even 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the two sides together possess more than 10,000 nuclear weapons, more than 90 percent of what exists in the world.
New York Times 1st Jan 2015 read more »
The widow of a nuclear testing veteran who died from cancer in 2005 says she and other widows are still fighting for compensation, six months after the prime minister recognised the contribution the servicemen had made to the country’s security.
Lancashire Evening Post 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
A New Year vow has been made to a British Nuclear Test Veteran in South Holland. It is a vow that 2015 will finally see justice for the families and descendants he has spent a lifetime fighting for. MP John Hayes broke the news to the Spalding Guardian that a “fair and reasonable settlement which can be administered in a straightforward manner” will be made “within this government’s term of office” before the General Election in May. Veteran Douglas Hern (77), of Moulton, has been campaigning on behalf of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA) for a single non-liability payment of £25million into a benevolent fund for veterans and their descendants.
Spalding Guardian 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
December was a record month for wind power in Scotland, according to environmentalists who have hailed 2014 as a “massive year” for renewable energy. The biggest day for output for wind was on December 10 when there was enough energy generated to supply 6.34 million homes for the whole day, analysis from WWF Scotland showed. The charity said wind turbines generated enough power to supply over 100% of Scottish households on 25 out of the 31 days of December. Throughout the year wind provided enough power for the electrical needs of 98% of Scottish households, with solar power meeting two-thirds or more of household electricity or hot water needs, it added.
STV 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
Herald 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
Dundee Courier 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
Scottish renewables had a “massive year” in 2014 topped by a record December. Analysis from WWF Scotland based on WeatherEnergy figures show that last month was a record for wind power north of the border with turbines pumping out enough energy to supply more than 100% of households on 25 out of 31 days. For the whole of 2014, the country’s wind farms generated enough power to meet the electrical needs of 98% of homes. WWF Scotland also found that solar panels in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness generated 100% or more of the electricity needed in an average home during June and July. Overall, solar power met two-thirds or more of household electricity or hot water needs during the 12 months. WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Without doubt 2014 was a massive year for renewables with wind turbines and solar panels helping to ensure millions of tonnes of climate-wreaking carbon e missions were avoided.” He added: “With 2015 being a critical year for addressing climate change internationally, it’s vital that Scotland continues to press ahead with plans to harness even greater amounts of clean energy.”
Renewable Energy News 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
The Conservatives seize on a WWF Scotland analysis showing wind farms generated the equivalent of 98 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs last year as it emerges power companies were paid more than £53 million to switch off their turbines in 2014. Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to stop the spread of wind farms across Scotland’s countryside after environmentalists claimed existing turbines are already meeting the country’s electricity needs.
Telegraph 3rd Jan 2015 read more »
This year, one of Britain’s leading green businessmen told me this week, “is going to be the most important year in the history of the world!” That may be pushing it a bit, but it will certainly be the most crucial for the environment in nearly a quarter of a century. In particular, it needs to be the one in which the green movement – now in its fifties – finally comes of age and concentrates on what it is for, rather than what it is against. Two developments in particular – one well publicised, the other not – should force environmentalists, and the rest of us, to focus on developing solutions rather than grinding on about problems.
Telegraph 3rd Jan 2015 read more »