A leading Suffolk hotelier has voiced fears that the construction of Sizewell C could deter huge numbers of tourists from visiting the county – and that many may never return.
Ipswich Star 2nd March 2017 read more »
A consultation – is taking place over the siting of a very real 2,400-bed accommodation block for workers at EDF’s Sizewell C, where two reactors will be built over a decade. Both sides have valid reasons for wanting and not wanting the block sited near to where the C station will be built, with those opposed suggesting that it is built closer to the more urban areas of Ipswich or Lowestoft, both of which are around 25 miles away from Sizewell.
The Engineer 3rd March 2017 read more »
The UK’s nuclear industry will excel thanks to increased government support and a robust industrial strategy. That’s according to the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Greg Hands, who said these factors, along with a raft of new trade agreements, will make the UK the leading international partner of choice in the civil nuclear field. He said: “Our nuclear safeguarding and safety regime will continue to be forward looking and our nuclear research and development expertise will remain pride of place. “We will do this by seizing the global opportunity out there, harnessing the UK’s world leading capability.” He suggested in the next 13 years, the overseas market for building new reactors will be worth £930 billion across 30 countries and around £250 billion will be spent on decommissioning old plants – he believes the UK is ideally situated to take advantage of these opportunities. Mr Hands also expects by 2030, the UK will be sizing a potential export market of £240 billion. He added even though the UK doesn’t have a nuclear reactor vendor of its own, UK companies possess world class experience in all existing technologies in the sector and even in some emerging fields.
Energy Live News 3rd March 2017 read more »
Government has found it difficult to assess the merits of entries into its competition for small modular nuclear reactors. The government hopes to get its delayed nuclear research competition for small modular reactors (SMRs) “back on track” soon, energy minister Jesse Norman has told the House of Lords. In March last year, the now disbanded DECC (department for energy and climate change) launched a competition to identify the best value small modular reactor (SMR) design for the UK. Giving evidence on Tuesday to a House of Lords science and technology committee inquiry into priorities for nuclear research and technologies, energy and industry minister Jesse Norman admitted that the competition timetable had been derailed. Refusing to be drawn on whether the competition’s results would be would be released before Easter, Norman said that the backers of SMR projects needed to demonstrate that their designs were potentially marketable. In a bid to reassure the Lords committee about the UK’s nuclear safety and security framework once the UK had left Euratom, Norman said that there was a “great deal of thought within government on how to deal with issues of safety and safeguarding.” He said the government was treating the UK’s post-Euratom arrangements “extremely seriously” and that it was seeking to “maintain and even enhance” existing safeguards.
Utility Week 3rd March 2017 read more »
Labour’s policy for the future direction of our energy system can be summed up by the three Ds – decarbonisation, decentralisation and democratisation. Not exactly the snappiest of slogans, I know, but what do I mean by each of them? Well firstly, we clearly need to maintain a steady route of our energy systems towards a process of decarbonisation. We are committed to making sure that the UK meets its climate change targets set both by the recent Paris accords, and by our own Climate Change Act. And we know that energy use – by which we mean of course all energy: heat, electricity and transport – accounts for something like 70% of our greenhouse gas emissions. We are in the process now of contemplating our energy obligations under the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets – Parliament has adopted the Fifth Carbon Budget running up to and beyond 2030 without, on present policies, having the ability to meet the energy goal of achieving an overall carbon output of below 100gms/kWh.
Alan Whitehead’s Blog 3rd March 2017 read more »
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has expressed its concern over the gaps between the UK’s decarbonisation ambition and current policymaking, on the same day that the Treasury faced criticism from MPs for failing to improve its approach to environmental sustainability. In a review of the Government’s forthcoming Industrial Strategy, the BEIS Committee warns that progress against the Fifth Carbon Budget, which requires UK emissions to be 57% lower between the period of 2028 and 2032, compared with 1990 levels, should not become secondary to affordability. The Committee welcomes the “explicit commitment” to meet future carbon budgets set out in the Industrial Strategy green paper, but notes that “we are deeply worried that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has identified significant gaps between our ambition and our current policy delivery”.
Edie 3rd March 2017 read more »
PCS has expressed serious concerns over plans to privatise the Ministry of Defence Guard Service (MGS), many of whom guard the nuclear submarines at Faslane and the Trident warhead storage site at Coulport. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is considering attracting bids from private security firms, such as G4S and Mitie, to run the service which currently employs 2,100 civilian staff, many of whom are PCS members. The MGS provides unarmed guarding duties at MoD sites throughout the UK but the key sites on the Clyde are undoubtedly the most high profile and pose the most notable security questions.
PCS 3rd March 2017 read more »
The annual report of the Inspector General for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection is published this Friday. The year 2016 may have been marked by a series of failures and damage in the tricolor nuclear sector – “irregularities” in the manufacturing files at Areva au Creusot, the fall of a steam generator at the Paluel plant, Shutdowns for the control of a dozen reactors …, EDF’s report on safety and radiation protection reports “encouraging results”, according to the report of the Group’s General Inspector, published this Friday.
Les Echos 2nd March 2017 read more »
Power to Gas
A windy week in Germany produced the expected result. Wholesale electricity prices from 19th to 26th February 2017 dipped below zero four times and much of the weekend saw figures below €25 a megawatt hour. This pattern is increasingly frequent across many electricity markets. As the Economist pointed out last week, the arrival of large scale renewables with zero operating cost is eating away at the businesses of those companies reliant on selling on the open market. €25 does not pay for the cost of the gas to generate a megawatt hour in a power station. In the US, NRG, which is the largest independent producer of power, summed up the problem by saying its business model was now ‘obsolete’. Lower and lower prices are making it impossible to produce electricity from gas or coal in markets increasingly captured by solar and wind. Equally, no-one can raise the finance to build new power stations, even in those countries with ageing fleets, such as the UK, because of low prices and fewer and fewer hours of operation. This problem will get worse. Whether you are an enthusiast for a fast transition to a renewables-based energy system or are sceptical about the pace of change, the destruction of the traditional utility by the eating away of wholesale prices is not good news. It increases the possibility that the increasingly rapid switch to renewables around the world will be brought to a shuddering halt by governments worried about the security of energy supply because of the intermittency of wind and solar. Although we can make huge progress in adjusting electricity use to varying supply, ‘demand response’ will never be enough to deal with weeks of low wind speed and little sun in northern countries. ‘Power-to-gas’ is the critical remaining ingredient of the energy transition. Can I put this as strongly as I can? Without a rapid and whole-hearted commitment to this technology, the renewables revolution may ultimately fail. the right way to ‘fix the broken utility model’ that the Economist talks about is to link the gas and electricity markets through large-scale application of power-to-gas technologies. Big utilities talk about understanding the need for decentralisation but the reality is that they will be terrible at moving away from centralised production plants. What they would be good at is running large scale electrolysis and methanation operations that allow them to continue to run CCGT power plants when electricity is scarce. We will not need capacity payments or other complex subsidies and incentive schemes. By creating a continuing role for CCGT we will have found a way to keep our energy supply secure without threatening decarbonisation objectives.
Carbon Commentary 2nd March 2017 read more »
Stirling Council completed the 1,500th installation of solar PV on its housing stock earlier this week and paved the way for battery storage to follow its lead. The install was completed on a new build bungalow in Bannockburn earlier this week as part of a wider renewable investment scheme launched to alleviate fuel poverty and reduce the council’s carbon footprint. To date more than £8 million has been spent on delivering the solar rollout, and the council has now committed to invest an additional £4.25 million over the next two years to install solar on an additional 1,200 homes. And battery storage technologies could also feature in future installs should the results of an initial pilot scheme in 50 homes be deemed a success.
Solar Power Portal 3rd March 2017 read more »