Areva & EDF
The French government has ordered nuclear groups Areva and EDF to merge their reactor businesses into a joint venture controlled by EDF, as part of a broad restructuring to revive the fortunes of a once-proud national industry. Francois Hollande, the French president, announced that the design, project management and marketing of new reactors by both companies will be put into one dedicated company called Areva NP, controlled by EDF. The government, which controls more than 80 per cent of both companies, will also inject new capital “as necessary” in Areva, which has been the subject of crisis talks since it reported a 4.8bn euro loss last year. “This merger will allow for an ambitious export policy and the future renewal of France’s nuclear power plants,” the government said. The decision is largely a victory for the management of EDF, which had in recent weeks pitched for a takeover of Areva NP, which employs about 19,000 people out of a total 44,000 at the group. Areva management had pushed for a more limited deal, which would have seen EDF simply recruit 1,200 Areva engineers and kept Areva intact. But this would have been more expensive for the government. The announcement on Wednesday only presents an outline of the eventual agreement, however. Both sides still need to negotiate on price, the size of the capital raising and also guarantees over Finland. “This meeting is not conclusive”, said government spokesman. EDF is due to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in southwest England, based on the same design as the Olkiluoto plant. Talks are continuing between EDF and potential partners on the project.
FT 3rd June 2015 read more »
French nuclear giants Areva and EDF will merge their reactor businesses in a joint venture controlled by EDF — a wide-ranging reshuffle of the country’s state-owned atomic energy industry. French President Francois Hollande’s office announced the deal’s broad outlines Wednesday, saying final details would be negotiated by the two companies within a month. The French government, which controls over 80 percent of both companies, will inject new capital “of the necessary amount” in Areva as part of the deal.
ABC News 3rd June 2015 read more »
Letter: The reality is that new nuclear carries significant economic risk. The UK plans to guarantee the French government nuclear corporation EDF an index-linked contract price of £92.50 for each megawatt-hour – twice the current market price of electricity – over a 35-year locked-in contract period. UK nuclear subsidies will be funded through levies on all consumer energy bills, and the Treasury has offered a credit guarantee to underwrite up to £10bn of debt on the project. Given the risk profile of new nuclear, the fees for guarantees being offered to EDF by the UK government are well below the commercial rates – especially in the light of current experience of quite startling nuclear construction cost and time overruns in Finland and France.
FT 4th June 2015 read more »
Radiation Free Lakeland will be delivering 101 letters on Thursday from people in both Cumbria and Lancashire asking that these two county councils reinstate independent radiation monitoring.
Radiation Free Lakeland 3rd June 2015 read more »
High levels of seaweed-ingress have forced operators to shut down a nuclear reactor at Hunterston B power station. The reactor uses seawater as a coolant and high levels of seaweed can pose a risk to the safe operation of the power station. Consequently, Reactor-3 was shut down as a “precautionary measure” along with reducing the power output of Reactor 4. Colin Weir, station director, said: “This was a precautionary measure when it was clear that the seaweed levels weren’t reducing.
Scottish Energy News 4th June 2015 read more »
Energy Supplies – Scotland
More than 40 energy trade associations, suppliers, regulators and pressure groups have lobbied the Scottish Parliament over the security of Scotland’s energy supplies. The responses so far have been wide ranging and have included much support for the Electricity Market Reform package and its associated contracts for difference. The onshore wind industry has also received vocal support and there has been a general focus on increasing interconnectivity to further security of supply. Centrica and Scottish Power have identified that the 100% target for renewable generation by 2020 will also mean that gas-fired stations will have to operate as ‘short-run’ stop-gap generators, with Scotland relying on electricity imports from England if there is not enough wind power to turn the turbines. Meanwhile, Vattenfall – a Scandinavian utlity giant – makes the not unsurprising case for increased interconnector links between Scotland and Scandinavia and for greater use of hydro-power. MPs on Holyrood’s Energy Committee today (3 Jun) resume their inquiry with evidence from, among others, Scottish & Southern Energy, Scottish Power, OFGEM Scotland, and National Grid.
Scottish Energy News 3rd June 2015 read more »
It has been warned that the closure of Longannet power station could make Scotland dependent on power from south of the border The challenge of keeping the lights on has returned to Holyrood, with MSPs looking into the security of the nation’s energy supply. “The nation” is a flexible concept here, as this is a Scottish viewpoint, when everyone agrees that the energy market should remain British, if not expanding into a European single market, with the help of more sub-sea inter-connectors. Appearing before the enterprise and energy committee are the big energy utilities, and their regulator. Scottish Power and SSE (Scottish Hydro, to most of us) are among those under pressure over consumer bills.
BBC 3rd June 2015 read more »
The limited scope for spending cuts at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been laid bare, in details released to Carbon Brief under freedom of information rules. With the Conservative government promising to shave £13bn from public spending over two years, while shielding the likes of health, pensions and education, the spotlight will be on unprotected departments. DECC will be one of the biggest casualties, according to the Independent. Last month, Carbon Brief published analysis of DECC spending, showing how it managed its £3.4bn ‘ departmental expenditure limit’ in 2013/14. This is the budget set by government and within the direct control of ministers. Our analysis found that £2.2bn (65%) of spending was devoted to managing the UK’s civil and military nuclear waste and decommissioning legacy. Cleaning up after the UK’s past military nuclear research accounts for around a quarter of these nuclear liabilities. However, the £1.1bn (34%) of DECC’s spending devoted to core departmental priorities was only broken down in a very limited way, under five budget lines: “Save energy with the Green Deal and support vulnerable consumers”; “Deliver secure energy on the way to a low carbon energy future”; “Drive ambitious action on climate change at home and abroad”; “Manage our energy legacy responsibly and cost-effectively”; “Deliver the capability DECC needs to achieve its goals”. The department has now released a more detailed breakdown of its 2013/14 spending under each of these five headings, following a Freedom of Information Act request by Carbon Brief. The charts here show how this spending was allocated.
Carbon Brief 3rd June 2015 read more »
The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet released the final version of its Clean Power Plan (CPP), but reportedly has sent it to the White House for final review and the public release is expected in August. But the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), which typically has vastly underestimated and under-projected the growth of renewables over the years, recently released projections of how much carbon emission reductions the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would produce, based on several different scenarios. And, as analyzed by Utility Dive, perhaps the most significant finding is that nuclear power does not help achieve greater carbon emission reductions. Even a scenario meant to encourage new nuclear power would have no effect on the reduction of carbon emissions (although it would have a large effect on the increase of radioactive emissions). So much for the nuclear industry’s pitch for nuclear power as a climate solution.
Green World 3rd June 2015 read more »
The Czech government approved its long-awaited nuclear energy strategy that foresees the construction of new atomic reactors without committing to a clear plan on how the projects will be funded. “To be able to ensure the energy independence and security of our country, it’s necessary to start preparations for building one nuclear bloc at Dukovany and one at Temelin, with an option to build two blocs at each location,” the Prague-based Industry and Trade Ministry said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.
Bloomberg 3rd June 2015 read more »
Morocco aims to achieve 42% of installed power capacity (or 6,000 MW out of the total 14,580 MW) from renewable energy (14% hydro, 14% wind and 14% solar) by 2020. Even though this translates into 10-12% of Morocco’s final primary production, the Morocco’s target is still remarkable if one considers that the country is creating a renewable energy industry from scratch. And that it is very well positioned to support other countries in the region embarking on this bold new energy transition journey. Nevertheless, the recently published World Future Council report “100% Renewable Energy: Boosting Development in Morocco” highlights if Morocco wants to fundamentally change its energy landscape, it cannot rest on its laurels.
World Future Council 3rd June 2015 read more »
Russia has increased its competitive edge in the nuclear plant construction market through the serial production of new reactors, the head of NIAEP-JSC ASE said yesterday. The company was formed in 2012 from the merger of Rosatom subsidiaries Nizhny Novgorod design institute and Atomstroyexport in order to consolidate Russia’s nuclear power engineering expertise into a single division. Last year, it absorbed Atomenergoproekt.
World Nuclear News 3rd June 2015 read more »
Storing and maintaining Britain’s 19 laid-up nuclear submarines has cost taxpayers more than £16 million over the last five years, according to new figures. The out-of-service vessels have been stored at Rosyth in Fife since 1980 and Devonport in Plymouth since 1994 but no decision has yet been taken on where their radioactive reactors will finally be stored. Campaigners have raised concerns about safety, blaming a failure to take a decision for the delay in dismantling. Rosyth has seven of the submarines and Devonport has 12. The oldest submarine is HMS Dreadnought in Rosyth, which was decommissioned in 1980. The latest laid-up submarine is HMS Tireless in Devonport, decommissioned in 2014. The Ministry of Defence faces having to dismantle the 19 stored submarines and another eight submarines that are due to leave service by the mid-2030s. The costs of preven ting any nuclear materials on board getting into the environment from the submarines already decommissioned have been revealed in a freedom of information request submitted to the MoD. It said in documents that the “cost to the tax-payer of maintaining them safely is rising significantly as they age and as more submarines leave service”.
Times 4th June 2015 read more »
Herald 3rd June 2015 read more »
Increasing numbers of local mayors and regional elected officials have taken up the climate mantel, driving forward reforms to match and overreach the ambition levels of their national governments. Instead of waiting for national action, local actors are demonstrating their credibility to amplify their political voice. Take the mayors of 30 major European cities for example, whose joint call in March for coordinated EU climate action was backed up by their own initiative to coordinate public procurements for greater low carbon investment. Or the action demanded by the States & Regions Alliance, featuring leadership from Canadian and Australian regional leaders standing up to their national governments’ obstructive behaviour in addressing climate change. In fact, this year’s Global Climate Legislation study found the number of climate laws and policies globally has doubled to 804 in the past five years, meaning 75% of global emissions are now controlled by national plans.
E3G 3rd June 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
The wind power industry has raised the threat of legal action against the government over imminent cuts to subsidies for onshore turbines. Under pressure from scores of Tory MPs, the party promised in its election manifesto to “halt the spread of onshore wind farms” and “end any new public subsidy” given their tendency to provoke local opposition. The changes to the subsidy regime are set to be announced within days by Amber Rudd, the new secretary of state for energy. The Tories are also changing the law to give local people the final say on large applications rather than the energy secretary, who previously had to approve schemes of more than 50MW. The energy department, DECC, said that no final decision had yet been made over subsidy changes. But she admitted that ministers were reviewing the funding for onshore wind via two separate schemes: the Renewable Obligation scheme and the “feed-in tariffs” that apply to smaller projects. “With the cost of supplying onshore wind falling, government subsidy is no longer appropriate,” the ministry said. “We have supported new technologies when they’ve been a good deal for the consumer however those subsidies won’t continue when costs come down.”
FT 3rd June 2015 read more »
The Scottish energy minister has complained to his UK counterpart that Scotland is being frozen out of key decisions on green energy. The Conservative UK government plans to stop subsidies to onshore wind power – and policy details are expected soon. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to consult with Scotland before any change but that has not happened. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he was concerned because onshore wind is so important to the economy. In a letter to the UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, Mr Ewing said: “It is disappointing that I have not had the opportunity to engage with you on this ahead of it being a matter for speculation in the press.”We have not received any information from your department on the possible options you are considering or what analysis has been done to assess the impact on projects in Scotland.”
BBC 3rd June 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
A Chinese construction company has been chosen to build the world’s first tidal lagoon project for generating clean electricity in Britain. The state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company has won the deal to undertake marine works on the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Project, which will deliver power to the National Grid, potentially enough for 120,000 homes. It is the UK’s first infrastructure development to be part delivered by Chinese expertise, according to Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Power, the developer behind the project.
FT 3rd June 2015 read more »
BBC 3rd June 2015 read more »
Some of Scotland’s poorest households are to receive a multi-million pound boost in 2015/16 to make their homes cheaper to keep warm. The Scot-Government’s £5 million Cashback for Social Landlords Scheme offers funding to housing associations and local authority landlords towards energy-efficiency measures. It forms part of the Government’s record £119 million budget for fuel poverty and energy efficiency in 2015/16, and means social landlords can apply for up to £250,000 in funding to help drive down the cost of tenants’ fuel bills. The cash will help meet the cost of installing measures, such as solid wall insulation or hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation, in their housing stock. Under last year’s scheme 24 social landlords across Scotland received funding to improve over 1,600 properties across Scotland.
Scottish Energy News 4th June 2015 read more »
Friends of the Earth Scotland warns new unconventional gas extraction method poses “serious risk” to ecosystem and local communities Friends of the Earth Scotland has warned that plans to introduce a new form of unconventional gas extraction in the Forth pose a “serious risk” to nearby communities. The warning comes as Cluff Natural Resources opens a consultation over plans for the UK’s first deep offshore Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project, which it hopes would be based in the Grangemouth-Kincardine area. Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns, Mary Church, said: “Underground coal gasification has an extremely chequered past, with recent trials resulting in serious pollution and even explosions. Cluff’s plan to undertake this highly experimental technique offshore is u ntested and poses a serious risk to the sensitive Forth ecosystem and the communities living near it.”
Holyrood 4th June 2015 read more »
Lord Nicholas Stern is both worried and optimistic. A decade on from being asked by Gordon Brown to look at the effect of global warming on the economy – a project that culminated in the pioneering Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change – Stern is publishing a new book that gives further weight to his initial conclusion that the costs of inaction greatly outweigh the costs of tackling the problem of rising emissions right now. The book, provocatively titled Why Are We Waiting? The logic, urgency, and promise of tackling climate change, details how the original case in favour of tackling emissions has been further reinforced over the past 10 years. Nations continue to pump out carbon, with CO2 emissions crossing the 400 parts per million threshold earlier this year, and moving the world further away from the possibility of limiting global warming to 2C. Meanwhile, some likely effects of climate change, such as more frequent extreme weather, are manifesting themselves earlier than originally thought.
Business Green 3rd June 2015 read more »
Business leaders, cities and young people should be placing more pressure on world leaders to create “political tipping points” for action on climate change, according to economist and academic Lord Nicholas Stern. In a new book, published today (3 June), Stern argues that the world now stands at a “unique and crucial point in time for decision and action” – and businesses will be critical to driving a more sustainable, low-carbon and less-polluted economy.
Edie 3rd June 2015 read more »
Pledges made by countries to cut their carbon emissions ahead of a crunch climate summit in Paris later this year will delay the world passing the threshold for dangerous global warming by just two years, according to a new analysis. The research, led by a former lead author on the UN’s climate science panel, found that the submissions so far by 36 countries to the UN would likely delay the world passing the threshold until 2038, rather than 2036 without the carbon cuts. However, more than 150 countries have yet to submit their carbon pledges despite a deadline of the end of March. While most are relatively small emitters, commitments by big polluters such as India could significantly change the picture.
Guardian 3rd June 2015 read more »
THE Scottish Government was accused of presiding over a “deeply worrying” failure to meet Scotland’s legal obligation on greenhouse gas emissions, as it was suggested ministers no longer viewed their own targets as achievable. Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie made the claim after an internal report stated that the Scottish Government faced “international disrepute” if it continues to miss its own Â¬targets for reducing carbon emissions. Yesterday at Holyrood, Mr Harvie attacked the Scottish Government over its failure to reach its the targets three years running. The Green MSP’s remarks came a week before the climate change figures for the most ¬recently recorded year of 2013 are due to be published. Scotland’s cabinet secretary for the environment, Richard Lochhead, told MSPs that the early years of meeting targets for reducing emissi ons were “particularly challenging” and claimed that Scotland was showing “international leadership” in tackling climate change. However, Mr Harvie said that the minister “seems to imply” that the government now views the targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as “unreachable” as he suggested it had effectively abandoned the targets.
Scotsman 4th June 2015 read more »