Tim Yeo, energy select committee chairman, says Competition and Markets Authority probe cannot hope to restore trust unless it examines the wholesale gas markets that are behind rising bills. The much-hyped competition probe into the energy sector will fail to restore consumer trust because it will not investigate the wholesale gas markets that are pushing up household bills, Tim Yeo, head of the energy select committee has warned.
Telegraph 4th Aug 2014 read more »
The cost of heating a home, or even flicking on a light switch, is a hot potato on the political front, but alarm about soaring energy bills is not a uniquely British phenomenon. Many of our European neighbours are even more worried than we about rising prices for household power. The Russians, Spanish, Polish and Germans are all far more concerned about electricity and gas prices, according to a report published today. Of the 17,000 people from nine nations surveyed for the report, rising energy prices and paying utility bills generated more angst than keeping up with mortgage and rental payments. This concern was particularly acute among the over-55s, according to the report by Kingfisher, the home improvement retailer. Alarm about utility bills is boosting sales for companies such as Kingfisher. Sir Ian said that the most common energy efficiency purchases at his stores across Europe were heating system controls, LED lighting and insulation.
Times 4th Aug 2014 read more »
PUBLIC support must be secured before an area hosts an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste, the Government has confirmed in a new White Paper. A “test of public opinion that demonstrates community support” will take place ahead of a final decision on the location of a geological disposal facility (GDF). No one tier of local authority can veto the plans against the wishes of others – and more information on possible locations will be provided earlier in the process. These are among the main conclusions from a new nationwide process, launched by Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last Thursday, which laid out what format the next search will take.
Whitehaven News 31st July 2014 read more »
Cllr Angus Campbell, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has stated he is “extremely concerned” about plans to ship cargoes of radioactive nuclear material through The Minch off the Western Isles. The radioactive material is a by-product of the Dounreay nuclear site which has been decommissioned. Most of the material will remain at the site but some, including what is called exotic fuel, will require to be transported elsewhere. In a letter to Stephen Henwood CBE, the Chairman of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Cllr Campbell said: “I am particularly concerned at the lack of consultation there has been on this matter with either the public, or with those who may have to deal with the consequences of any accident occurring, including Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.”
Stornoway Gazette 3rd Aug 2014 read more »
Electricity Market Reform
The Government has launched a 12-week consultation to work out which energy intensive industries (EIIs) will receive compensation to help with the financial costs of renewables policies. The proposals for the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) policy aim to compensate UK industries for the cost of Contracts for Difference, the Renewables Obligation and Feed-in Tariffs, which cumulatively could have a negative effect on the competitiveness of certain EIIs in the UK. Launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills earlier this week, the consultation proposes to exempt the most electricity intensive businesses from a proportion of the costs to create a level playing field and keep EIIs internationally competitive.
Edie 1st August 2014 read more »
TREVOR Manuel’s National Planning Commission turned to the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre last year. The brief was simple: investigate what should form part of SA’s future energy mix. The centre issued its report last April. It found that “nuclear investments are not necessary [at least in the next 15 to 25 years] nor are they cost effective based on the latest cost data. Gas options should be explored more intensively and hydro projects from the region should be fast-tracked. “Many of the low emission alternatives to nuclear capacity [imported hydro, wind and natural gas] can be installed at lower cost with shorter lead times, in smaller increments, reducing the risk of overbuild.” The unambiguous finding was that government’s plans for nuclear overestimated economic growth and underestimated the cost of nuclear. “If followed, the existing plan would result in surplus, stranded and expensive generation capacity,” it said.
Business Times 3rd Aug 2014 read more »
The cost of decommissioning the faulty San Onofre nuclear power in California is expected to reach $4.4 billion (£2.6bn), and will take at least 20 years. The power plant in San Clemente, southern California, was closed down in 2012 after an inspection revealed significant damage to pipes that carried radioactive water. A failure of the plant’s steam generators led to a small amount of radioactive waste leaking.
IB Times 3rd Aug 2014 read more »
A casual observer would be forgiven for thinking that Egypt has been stabilised by the election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the removal from government of the Muslim Brotherhood. The outcome may not be exactly what was hoped for when the protesters gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo three and a half years ago, but there is order in the streets. Unfortunately that is not the full story. Egypt is financially broke and dangerously dependent on the insecure generosity of the Gulf states. The risk of violence has killed the tourist industry, which was a major source of revenue and employment. Living standards have fallen and Egypt now faces a profound crisis with a shortage of energy, water and food. There are already regular blackouts in Cairo and other parts of the country because of a shortage of electricity, and industry is operating at about 60-70 per cent capacity as a result, adding to the problems of unemployment. The issue is not a shortage of generating capacity but the country’s inability to import the raw materials necessary to produce power. Egypt already relies on cheap oil and gas from its Arab friends and cannot afford to import the extra supplies which the system needs. The shale gas potential of the Western Desert has not been tested and a new nuclear development would take years or even decades if the experience of the industry at Flamanville in northern France and Olkiluoto in Finland is repeated. Of all the options proposed the cheapest answer – but also the dirtiest – would be to revert to imported coal.
FT 3rd Aug 2014 read more »
Green Action, a Kyoto-based NGO. It is one of the few anti-nuclear organisations able to employ full-time professional staff. Aileen Mioko Smith, its director, says that the anti-nuclear movement has enjoyed a measure of success over the years. Local groups halted the construction of dozens of planned new reactors, including the Ashihama project in Mie prefecture, which was cancelled in 2000. Yet anti-nuclear groups have not managed effectively to lobby politicians or energy-industry leaders to shape government policy, she says, nor have they roused the general public to take action. The fault may lie in the movement’s own structure. Eric Johnston, a journalist at the Japan Times, describes its elderly members as being out of touch with the media techniques of modern NGOs. Local groups in the regions are fragmented, parochial and suspicious of outsiders. They do not necessarily welcome the younger members who could bring fresh ideas. Potential recruits feel shut out by traditional groups’ seniority systems. And the movement is divided where it could be united. The organisations that demonstrate each year against nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain quiet on nuclear energy.
Economist 3rd Aug 2014 read more »
CONVOYS carrying nuclear bombs and hazardous radioactive materials by road through Scotland and across the UK have suffered 70 safety lapses in five-and-half-years, according to the Ministry of Defence. A new log of incidents obtained from the MoD reveals vehicles have suddenly broken down, fuel has leaked, brakes have overheated, alarms have malfunctioned and many other vital systems have failed in convoys on the move between July 2007 and December 2012. The convoys, which ferry Trident nuclear warheads to and from the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport on the Clyde, have also gone the wrong way, been delayed, been diverted and lost communications. Incidents have happened on average more than once a month, with by far the highest number – 23 – logged in 2012.
Herald Scotland 4th August 2014 read more »
HOLYROOD’S neutral research unit estimates that Scottish taxpayers will likely pay £1billion over the next 10 years to maintain the controversial defence system. SCOTLAND could employ an extra 2700 teachers or 3300 nurses if we got rid of Trident, startling new figures have revealed. Research from Holyrood has highlighted alternative uses for the estimated £1billion cost of the controversial nuclear defence system to Scottish taxpayers over the next decade.
Daily Record 2nd Aug 2014 read more »
Scientists at Unilever have announced the development of a new ice cream freezer cabinet capable of a 70% energy reduction for retailers worldwide. Unilever developed the freezer for its Wall’s ice cream brands and it plans to use the new design to replace current models that already deliver a 50% energy reduction compared to a 2008 baseline.
Edie 2nd Aug 2014 read more »
NEVER mind the national parks, what about the roof over our heads or the ground beneath our floorboards? These are questions householders might reasonably ask after the government announced it is to invite more bids from energy companies for fracking rights, while protecting areas of natural beauty. That safeguard is all very well, but American insurers are excluding claims for fracking damage from household cover and, as I revealed in April, some British insurers are considering following suit. Hydraulic fracturing — breaking up rock or shale using water and chemicals pumped at high pressure underground — can yield massive new sources of gas but could create problems for local people.
Sunday Times 3rd Aug 2014 read more »
Ineos, the company at the centre of a dispute with unions at the Grangemouth plant in Scotland last year, is giving the strongest signal yet of its intention to move into the controversial area of fracking. The privately controlled chemicals group said it was now “more or less likely” that it would apply for a licence to extract shale under the 14th round of onshore applications launched by the government last week. Ineos has already hired a small team of shale experts, and the company is also busy investing at Grangemouth to handle large quantities of ethane gas derived from shale in North America.
Guardian 3rd Aug 2014 read more »