Taxpayers will be forced to pay a green energy levy of nearly £20 million to meet the estimated costs from a programme that will not start until next summer at the earliest. National Grid has claimed that the cash will cover what it forecasts will be its costs from setting up the Government’s new programme of awarding green subsidies to energy companies. They include £148,500 in forecast “travel and subsistence” costs, including ferrying staff in company cars to meetings with officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The £19.3 million total cost will be passed on to domestic and business consumers from April 1, adding about 55p to household bills for that year. Ofgem, the energy regulator, has sanctioned the award, even though the Government has not officially selected National Grid to set up the new subsidy programme. The company will charge additional fees to run the programme. The coalition’s energy market reforms are set to go live next summer. They will allow billions of pounds of subsidies, funded by levies on consumers’ energy bills, to be awarded to wind farms and nuclear reactors. The new programme has been criticised as too complex and even some industry executives privately think it will prove to be unworkable.
Times 30th Dec 2013 read more »
The Government has ruled out challenging European environmental legislation that has forced the closure of many of Britain’s biggest coal plants and left the country at risk of blackouts within two years. Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, said that the Government was not planning to make the case to Brussels for bringing mothballed coal plants back online in order to keep the lights on and to stop electricity prices spiralling. “We are not planning to break the rules on that,” he told The Times. Officials believe that the fine levied by Brussels for allowing mothballed coal plants to operate again would be more expensive than building new power stations to replace them.
Times 30th Dec 2013 read more »
The electricity produced by nuclear power plants using EPR reactors of AREVA and AP1000 design made by Westinghouse Electric, is substantially more expensive than that produced by Kudankulam NPP using the Russian VVER-1000 reactor, India’s Department of Atomic Energy of India (DAE), was cited as saying by PTI. The DAE revealed this information when commenting on the progress of contract negotiations with companies from France and the United States for the construction of Jaitapur NPP and Mithivirdi NPP, respectively, according to the report. The ministry estimated the cost per kilowatt-hour of the planned construction of Mithivirdi nuclear power plant in Gujarat using AP1000 reactors at 12 rupees ($0.19), and the cost per kilowatt-hour in in Maharashtra at the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, using EPR reactors, at 9 rupees ($0.15).
Russia & India Report 28th Dec 2013 read more »
Electricity prices for most of us will go up next month and once again the cost of fuel will move back to the top of the political agenda. Many people look longingly across the channel to our nearest continental neighbour, France, where their electricity is Europe’s cheapest. Why? At least in part it’s because most of France’s power comes from Nuclear, so spikes in oil, gas or other fuel prices make little difference. The power station at Nogent-sur-Seine houses two of France’s 58 Nuclear Reactors which, between them, account for almost three quarters of the country’s electricity generation. Compare that with just 16 Reactors in the UK pumping in less than a fifth of our wattage and it’s one of the reasons why the French have the lowest electricity bills in Europe and we have some of the highest. France made its big push for nuclear power in the mid seventies when the world was gripped by the oil crisis, since then it has made nuclear the backbone of its energy supply. But the disaster at Fukashima in Japan two years ago made the world think again, though Sebastien Blavier from Greenpeace in Paris says it is cost not safety which threatens the future of France’s nukes. He said: “All the nuclear power plants are becoming very old and we are facing an issue. “Either we are going to have to pay a massive amount of money to extend their lifetime, with all the safety risks associated with that or we have to build new nuclear reactors. “But that’s going to be impossible in the time we have and also it’ll be too expensive.”
Sky News 29th Dec 2013 read more »
Nigel Farrage: Over the past few years numerous sources have warned that the lights may go out by 2015. From the CBI to energy experts and politicians, it’s been a regular cause for concern. It is unfortunate and miserable when these things happen at Christmas time but the main impact was on domestic users. With our increasingly technological society– with businesses, public services and even traffic lights reliant on electricity and computers – what will happen if we fail to get a grip on our power supply? People die without heating, without lights, without hospital machines. And this obsession with wind turbines causes expensive energy. Our businesses cannot compete with companies whose governments have not made stupid decisions about energy policy. While we have decided that ruining the countryside with bird chompers is the answer, China is using coal and the US is using shale.
Independent 29th Dec 2013 read more »
Season’s greetings in the form of a trio of gifts: the chance to revisit three of the top, most respected voices within the anti-nuclear community, all of them presented during the past year of Nuclear Hotseat. Dr. Helen Caldicott talks about how she became an activist and her then-upcoming Symposium on the Medical and Ecological Impact of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. In our most popular program ever, with 489,195 downloads in the first five days (and still getting play), nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education explains what he would do with Fukushima if he were in charge. And excerpts from a speech by Ralph Nader, who spoke at the east coast conference, Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Ongoing Lessons.
Nuclear Hotseat 24th Dec 2013 read more »
Tony Juniper: The last year was not a landmark one for progress on sustainability here in the UK. The government has remained obsessed with short term GDP growth and the sense that policy and ambition for sustainability are in reverse gear is palpable. The prime minister’s alleged call to “get rid of the green crap” rather sums up the dire circumstances now faced by those looking for progress in response to ever more certain scientific reports. It seems to me that the growth versus the environment narrative that has become so prominent among key ministers and media outlets needs to be effectively challenged and changed. A different narrative is one that describes the social and economic benefits that could come through embracing sustainability.
Guardian 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – solar
Four million solar panels covering land the size of 3,400 football pitches should be built on government land and property including schools and prisons, a minister will announce. Greg Barker, the energy minister, is expected to in the New Year disclose plans for one gigawatt of electricity generated by solar panels on the “government estate”. It could mean huge solar farms on Government land as well as panels on thousands of public buildings. Mr Barker’s desire to dramatically increase the Government’s commitment to renewable energy will dismay many senior Conservatives. The plans are understood to be a “personal ambition” of Mr Barker’s and are not an official Government target.
Telegraph 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Chris Huhne: Would you enjoy the cosiness and warmth of Christmas with your children or grandchildren just that little bit less if you knew that other people’s children were dying because of it? More than four million children under five years old are now at risk of acute malnutrition in the Sahel, an area of the world that is one of the clearest victims of the rich world’s addiction to fossil fuels. About 18 million people in the Sahel – the vulnerable pan-African strip of land that runs from Senegal to Sudan along the southern edge of the Sahara – faced famine last year. Life has never been easy there. Its land is poor. Its people are often semi-nomadic, moving their animals between the grasslands. But science is increasingly pointing a hard finger at those to blame for the persistence of Sahelian drought – and it is us. This year a group of small island states threatened by rising sea levels, led by Palau, came close to asking the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the responsibility of historic emitters for global warming. The main reason they did not press ahead then was that the scientific case is strengthening by the month. A later case will be even stronger. “There will definitely be a case in my lifetime and probably within five to 10 years,” says Philippe Sands QC, the UCL professor of international law, who has advised many endangered nations, including Bangladesh. “It is going to happen. The only questions now are where, how and to what purpose.”
Guardian 29th Dec 2013 read more »