Electricity Market Reform
The government is reportedly poised to delay the long-awaited energy bill that would underpin proposed electricity market reforms designed to drive investment in new low carbon generation such as wind farms and nuclear power plants. However, the Department of Energy and Climate Change swiftly denied the BBC reports, branding them as “categorically untrue”. Sources told the BBC that “it was not clear yet” when the energy bill would be published, but insisted that some form of “legislative happening” would take place during the next parliamentary session. They added that the delay had been caused not by the need to clear the parliamentary timetable for what promises to be a lengthy fight over proposed Lords reforms, but instead by the need to finalise the complicated legislation. The proposed electricity market reforms have been the subject of intense debate in and around Whitehall for months. Central to the proposals are plans for a new form of feed-in tariff incentive known as “contracts for difference” designed to incentivise firms to deliver green electricity to the grid, a carbon floor price to raise the cost of carbon intensive energy, an effective ban on new coal-fired power stations, and a new mechanism to drive investment in back up power plants. However, many of the proposals have proved controversial, with green groups accusing the government of providing a covert subsidy for nuclear power plants, energy companies raising concerns over the effectiveness of a carbon floor price, and opponents of action to drive green investment questioning the likely impact on energy bills. DECC’s rebuttal of the BBC report suggests the bill should still play a central role in the Queen’s Speech, and could yet be published in the summer or autumn.
Business Green 2nd May 2012 more >>
The government is putting promised legislation on hold to make room for House of Lords reform, MPs say. A bill to reform higher education has been put on the back burner and is not expected to be in the Queen’s Speech. A promised shake-up of the water industry will be downgraded and it is not clear when an electricity bill will be published. Some MPs and officials say measures are not yet ready or there is no political agreement between coalition parties. But others claim some of the plans have been squeezed out because the plans to reform the Lords will take up so much time. An electricity bill to attract new investment and secure a new mix of energy sources. When the Electricity Market Reform White Paper was published in July 2011, the energy department promised that “the government intends to legislate for the key elements of this package in the second session of this Parliament which starts in May 2012”. Sources said it was “not clear yet” when a bill would be published but they expected a “legislative happening” sometime in the next parliamentary session. They blamed the delay not on Lords’ reform but on the need to get complicated legislation right. An energy department spokesman denied that the electricity bill was being delayed. “This is categorically untrue,” she said. “We are committed to legislating for electricity market reform in the forthcoming session of Parliament”. But she could not say when the bill would be published.
BBC 2nd May 2012 more >>
The UK must ensure competition between generators within its nuclear power renaissance, or risk jeopardising the preferred market-based price-setting method under its electricity market reform programme. The centrepiece of the market reform programme, long-term feed-in tariffs with contracts for difference (FiT CfD), is intended to ensure investment in three forms of low-carbon power generation: renewables, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will initially oversee the setting of the FiT CfD “strike price” – a centrally controlled approach that DECC is keen to move away from. An auction-based system will be used thereafter. Transmission system operator National Grid is the front-runner to oversee it, with DECC deciding when to move to its preferred market-based system. This shift can take place only if more than one nuclear generator is available to bid into any auction further down the line – a state of affairs that is far from guaranteed. The hope is that DECC will be able to negotiate a strike price that tempts more utilities to take a slice of the UK’s stuttering new nuclear programme – or abandon the idea of market forces playing a role in the FiT CfD regime.
Heren Energy 2nd May 2012 more >>
A CHINESE state-backed nuclear company has become the latest to register an interest in a new plant on Anglesey. The search for an investor to back the Wylfa B development near Cemaes Bay began in March when German energy giants RWE and E.on withdraw their support. Interest has already been expressed by Russian state-backed firm Rosatom, developed out of the USSR nuclear ministry which was linked to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, and now Chinas State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation is also said to be considering bidding, according to government sources.
North Wales Chronicle 2nd May 2012 more >>
Daily Post 2nd May 2012 more >>
The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said it is still waiting to receive updated plans from EDF and Areva for the resolution of outstanding items, known as GDA Issues, on the EPR design review. ONR had said in February that late or poor quality deliverables from EDF and Areva for its generic design assessment (GDA) programme meant that the schedule for the original resolution plan, expected to complete this November, would not be met. At the time, ONR was indicating a two-month schedule slippage, pushing final resolution into 2013. In its latest quarterly news report last week, ONR said, Although progress on some of the UK EPR design GDA issues is good, a number of the deliverables indicated in the vendors resolution plans have been late or do not provide the quality of information expected. As a result, it is unlikely that issues will be closed-out in accordance with the timescales indicated in the original resolution plans, ONR said. As of April 30, ONR had not yet received the revised resolution plans. We are waiting to receive revised resolution plan programmes from EDF and Areva which will then allow the GDA team to re-baseline its assessment efforts and assess the overall impact, an ONR spokesman said April 30. We continue to discuss this situation with EDF and Areva and will provide more information in our next quarterly report, due for publication in May, the spokesman said.
i-Nuclear 2nd May 2012 more >>
The final briefing by the 4 former FoE Directors has been released at a Press Conference today (2nd May). The last in a series of six supplementary Briefings, reinforcing the economic arguments against nuclear power. This final Briefing, (Nuclear Power: A Toxic Issue for the Coalition Government) highlights the risk to the Coalition Government in persisting with a strategy that cannot possibly deliver the outcomes that the Coalition Government is hoping to achieve.
Tom Burke 2nd May 2012 more >>
Nuclear Power – 10 Killer Facts.
Tom Burke 2nd May 2012 more >>
The IAEA is concerned about the number of ageing nuclear plants on the planet, according to a report due out later this year. This message has filtered down into the industry it represents, which has added necessary pressure to nuclear commissioning bodies, especially in established nuclear markets, such as the US. Broadly speaking, the nuclear energy sector has kept its eye on the ball when it comes to safety and maintenance of nuclear power plants, but in a post-Fukushima world, utilities, plant owners and those servicing and supplying them have had to raise the bar when it comes to safety checks, stress tests and manpower. Yes, this creates a strain on costs for all those concerned, but it also boosts the wider nuclear supply chain for both existing maintenance and the construction of new plants.
Nuclear Energy Insider 2nd May 2012 more >>
The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation will review implementation of its new incident reporting system for nuclear licensees this summer, but it is still struggling with what information to release to the public, officials said. In its latest quarterly news report, ONR said it plans to review over the summer implementation of its new incident reporting system launched in January with nuclear licensees. We anticipate licensees may need to revise their own processes almost certainly well have to revise our guidance, but were letting the process run for six months to allow for any initial problems to be resolved, the agency said in its latest quarterly news report.
i-Nuclear 2nd May 2012 more >>
Future Language Anthropologists, linguists, futurologists are discussing the issue of how to warn future generations about nuclear waste. One major hurdle is the rise and fall of civilizations while the waste remains dangerous for millions of years. How to communicate that the nuclear waste is dangerous, how to keep people out and how to be sure that future peoples don’t ignore the warnings like we ignore the curses warned of in ancient Egyptian tombs!
Rock Solid Exp 2nd May 2012 more >>
The National Grid is testing new pylons to see if they could be used to take power from the proposed nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. There have been big protests against the prospect of giant structures across Somerset. It is hoped this shorter design, by a Danish firm, might be the answer.
ITV West 2nd May 2012 more >>
CITB -ConstructionSkills is committing £2m to train workers for the new nuclear build programme. CITB chairman James Wates confirmed the cash injection at a meeting with ministers and members of the Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance yesterday.
Construction Enquirer 2nd May 2012 more >>
A Greenpeace activist flew into a nuclear power plant near Lyon on Wednesday morning, depositing a red smoke canister on the roof of a reactor, in a bid to demonstrate French nuclear sites’ vulnerability. The activist flew over the Bugey power station at about 7.40 this morning on a paraglider with motorised propeller, and put the smoke canister on the roof of one of the four central reactors in the compound. He then took off his yellow paraglider inside the station, where he was reportedly met by security guards. Greenpeace Frances nuclear specialist, Yannick Rousselet, told Le Parisien: We did this to demonstrate how vulnerable French nuclear stations are to air attacks, which no one has really considered.
The Local 2nd May 2012 more >>
Reuters 2nd May 2012 more >>
Greenpeace 2nd May 2012 more >>
Morning Star 2nd May 2012 more >>
Telegraph 2nd May 2012 more >>
A JAPANESE expert has been in North Wales to compare the agricultural impacts of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. Prof Yoichi Matsuki, an expert on sustainable agriculture, visited the Ysbyty Ifan farm of FUW deputy president Glyn Roberts to learn about the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion 26 years ago. He has been assessing farm animals in the evacuation area around Fukushima since last year’s nuclear disaster.
Daily Post 3rd May 2012 more >>
Progress Energy has put back its nuclear new build plans by three years while requesting increased rates to finance the project. The Levy development should allow Florida to avoid becoming overdependent on currently cheap gas for power generation. The utility has been progressing a plan to build two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at a 2060 hectare greenfield site in Levy County, Florida. It has secured a decision from regulators that the plan would result in no significant environmental impact and is looking forward to receiving its final license to build and operate the plant. However, the company reported yesterday to Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates power companies in the state, that it has put back the schedule for the Levy development by three years. It now plans on having the first new reactor operable from 2024 with the second following 18 months later.
World Nuclear News 2nd May 2012 more >>
Iran is optimistic about talks with world powers about its nuclear programme but it will never give up its right to the peaceful use of atomic energy, a senior Iranian official said on Wednesday.
Reuters 2nd May 2012 more >>
Plans to make the worlds largest wind turbines in Britain, creating 2,000 jobs, have been put in jeopardy because of faltering demand and technical problems. Vestas said a year ago that it would build a factory in Kent to supply giant turbines the height of the Gherkin tower in the City of London for the extensive wind farms in the North Sea that are planned towards the end of the decade. But its chief executive said yesterday that the Danish company might decide not to go ahead with the proposal because of the very challenging market outlook for the next 18 months.
Times 3rd May 2012 more >>
When it comes to climate change and energy we concern ourselves with the wrong issues and the wrong timescales. Nuclear power, CCS and shale gas fracking hog the headlines when in reality we need to get to grips with the problem from the other side, the demand side. Keeping to our 2ºC commitments, and any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change beyond, obliges us to prioritise efficiency and conservation. The UK needs to have a zero carbon energy system by 2025 to 2030, including all heating, surface and air transport, with substantial progress in the next decade. There is simply insufficient time for supply side infrastructure to achieve such a change alone. We need to tackle head-on the real-world implications of these science and equity concerns by urgently addressing UK energy use and energy demand in the first instance.
New Statesman 1st May 2012 more >>