A landmark deal to use British taxpayers’ money to build a 16 billion pound ($25.6 billion) nuclear power station has triggered opposition from a quarter of EU policy-makers, who want to overturn approval from the top European regulator, EU sources said.The European Commission, the EU executive, said last month it would approve the British scheme involving French utility EDF , confirming a Reuters report.A copy of the draft decision seen by Reuters shows the Commission has accepted the plan with some changes that would ensure the British government and British taxpayer would get a bigger share of any profits and EDF a smaller take. An internal meeting of senior Commission staff on Monday will examine the decision, and the college of 28 Commissioners including President Jose Manuel Barroso is expected to hold a closed-door vote on Wednesday.Five separate sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said seven Commissioners opposed approval of the Hinkley Point funding, and although that would not be enough to block it, it was an unusually high level of opposition.One source said the number could rise, because there are still a few days left before the vote, and predicted a delay. “They are rolling out the red carpet for nuclear and waving a red card for renewables,” Claude Turmes, a Luxembourg member of the Green party in the European Parliament, told Reuters.
Reuters 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Daily Mail 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
The European Commission could shortly announce that it will approve the UK State Aid for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. In order to be serious about competition in the energy sector, EPIA believes that it is vital to maintain a balanced approach towards the different energy technologies. In December last year Competition Commissioner Almunia clearly expressed his concerns about the State Aid application for the Hinkley project, a 35 year contract, with guaranteed subsidies, to a nuclear power plant. His apparent intention to backtrack on this matter now, is totally inappropriate and worrying. If confirmed, such a decision, made without adequate evaluation and scrutiny of the project, would constitute a disaster for the internal energy market and achieving the objective of enhanced competition in the energy sector. “How can the European Commission ask renewables to integrate in the energy market, while at the same time validating another subsidy to nuclear?” queried James Watson, EPIA CEO. “EPIA previously raised concerns about the State Aid rules as they force renewables to integrate into a market that is not yet designed for them. We need new energy market rules that allow for a cost-effective energy transition, not £17bn subsidies for nuclear power,” he added.
PV Magazine 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
European Commission demands UK impose more provisions to recover taxpayers’ money. Savings from the construction EDF’s £16bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant could be clawed back by the government under terms of the funding deal for the plant, according to a report in the Financial Times reports. The government currently has a deal with EDF to support the price it can charge for electricity from the plant but the FT reports it has had to insert tougher clauses to claw back tax payers money to get European approval for the deal. The UK government and EDF’s deal, called a “contract for difference”, was agreed last October and guarantees that EDF will be paid £92.60/MWh for the electricity from the plant for 35 years, which is roughly twice the current wholesale price of power. But the project has been stuck in limbo after the deal was referred to the Brussels to check it complied with state aid rules in December. Last month a spokesman for European Union competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said “discussions with the UK authorities” had “led to an agreement” and he would recommend that the deal was approved. This morning the FT reported that EDF and the government have had to insert tough “gain share” mechanisms into the deal to reach this point.
Building 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Coal-fired power producer, Drax, and French energy group, EDF, have qualified for a UK scheme to reward power companies for keeping plants on standby, officials announced on Friday. The UK’s Centrica is also among the companies that have won approval to take part in Britain’s first electricity capacity auction, to be held in December.The auction is one of several so-called capacity mechanism that countries across the EU plan to avoid supply crunches and provide back-up on grids with growing proportions of intermittent electricity supplied by wind farms and other renewable generators.
FT 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
At least eight proposed big gas-fired power plants are vying to win subsidies that would see them built and generating electricity by 2018, ministers have announced. How many of them – if any – are built will depend on the outcome of a reverse auction to be held later this year, as part of a new Government scheme designed to keep the lights on. The proposed plants will compete against existing power plants to win subsidy contracts, which would pay them to guarantee their availability from 2018. Until recently, most fossil fuel power stations could expect to be commercially viable simply by selling electricity into the market. But the expansion of intermittment and subsidised renewable power such as wind and solar farms is distorting the market so that many gas plants will only be needed intermittently as back-up, leaving them unprofitable.
Telegraph 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
A coalition of conservation groups are hailing an Arizona judge’s decision this week to uphold the Obama administration’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to Grand Canyon. In January 2012, then-US interior secretary Ken Salazar issued the ban that prohibits new mining claims and mine development on existing claims without valid permits. A subsequent mining industry lawsuit asserted that the interior department’s 700-page study of environmental impacts was inadequate and the ban was unconstitutional. A coalition of groups including native American tribes and the Sierra Club intervened in that lawsuit, and on Tuesday the court ruled in their favour
Guardian 2nd Oct 2014 read more »
Indian court trying to unravel mystery of sick and disabled children, miscarriages and fatal cancers around the country’s first uranium mine.
Toronto Star 15th Sept 2014 read more »
The government on Friday finalized a bill to build interim storage facilities for nuclear waste in two Fukushima towns. The bill will be submitted for enactment during the current session. Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki, who took over from Nobuteru Ishihara, said the bill will end a three-year standoff. Outgoing Fukushima Gov Yohei Sato approved the plan last month. He had been cajoled with promises of subsidies if he accepted the environment ministry’s plan to build a depot on land near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Japan Today 4th Oct 2014 read more »
Bolivia is to invest more than $2 billion in the development of nuclear energy over the next decade, the country’s president has announced.
World Nuclear News 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Turkey plans to accelerate the process to begin the construction of its first nuclear power plant, which would be bult by Russia’s Rosatom. This was announced by Turkish energy minister Taner Yildiz. After a meeting with Russian nuclear company Rosatom’s head Sergey Kiriyenko, the minister said: “Our target is to speed up the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.” The nuclear plant will be located in Mersin province, along the country’s Mediterranean coast and will have four reactors for power generation. Construction for the plant is expected to commence in 2016 following submission of an environmental assessment report. It is set to become operational by 2020.
Energy Business Review 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
In awarding eight renewable energy projects contracts worth up to £16.6bn the government failed to secure the best deal for taxpayers, MPs will say today in a damning assessment of the coalition’s electricity market reform programme. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says in fast-tracking the deals ministers bypassed price competition and have now used up almost 60 per cent of the budget available to support green energy developments from 2015 to 2021, leaving little remaining for other projects.
Business Green 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Guardian 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
The cost of solar power plus battery storage is about to dip below the average electricity bill in Germany. That’s the word from a new analysis by the global investment bank HSBC, which projects that the dropping price of home solar arrays combined with home battery storage is about to massively disrupt traditional fossil fuel electricity generation. According to a report by RenewEconomy, which got a look at the analysis, HSBC took a look at the situation in Germany, and concluded that power generation units with a capacity of 10 megawatts or less will make up 50 percent of the country’s power by 2025 — up from 30 percent now. “The process of re-localisation of power production appears unstoppable,” HSBC says in its paper.
Climate Progress 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
The Labour Party has accused the government of undermining investment in the UK’s burgeoning green energy market, after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday confirmed it would halt the subsidy scheme for large-scale solar farms two years early. Julie Elliott, shadow minister for energy and climate change, said the government’s decision to close the Renewable Obligation (RO) subsidy mechanism from April 2015 and shift solar farm developers onto its new contract for difference scheme earlier than expected was part of a pattern of policy shake ups that were preventing the UK from becoming a “world leader in clean energy”. The Solar Trade Association warned the government that it was “destabilising” the ground-mounted market without effectively supporting the rooftop market. “The government says it wants to put ‘rocket boosters’ under the rooftop solar market,” he said. “[But] the impact assessment shows the proposed changes will not do that.” It appears that once again the government’s solar subsidy reforms have left many within the industry fearing yet another cycle of boom and bust.
Business Green 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
In terms of renewable energy, this might just be the most natural kind of gas there is. “Processed poo” — or broken down sewage — is being turned into methane gas and helping power homes in the Birmingham area of England, according to a Bloomberg report this week. The process, the report said, promises to help thousands of U.K. residents become able to turn on their stoves and cook dinner with a cost-saving renewable fuel produced from their own human waste.
Climate Progress 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Two associations representing local authorities, businesses and energy providers today called on political parties to put control of energy back into the hands of the energy user to help reduce energy bills by hundreds of millions of pounds. Government figures show that energy efficiency could save consumers £9.6 billion by 2030, in addition to hundreds of millions more by generating energy more efficiently and facilitating demand side response. In a collection of policy proposals published in the midst of party conference season, the CHPA and UK Demand Response Association (UKDRA) manifesto calls for the energy system to be flipped on its head, designed to cost-effectively meet users’ needs instead of the needs of large power producers.
CHPA 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Chemical giant Ineos has bought the gas-fired power plant which supplies its Grangemouth refinery for £54 million, saying it could be fuelled by shale gas from its recently acquired license block nearby. The acquisition of the 145MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant from Fortum follows news earlier this week that the company will take a majority stake in Dart Energy’s shale project which lies just a short distance from the Scottish refinery.
Utility Week 2nd Oct 2014 read more »
Herald 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Scotland’s largest power station may be forced to close due to the huge sums its operator must pay to connect to the National Grid, the BBC has learned. Scottish Power, which owns Longannet in Fife, said its location meant it was at a disadvantage when competing against English plants. The company has decided not to enter the contest to supply energy generating capacity in 2018/19. It said financial changes were needed to avert the threat of closure. The National Grid said it has been working closely with the industry and Ofgem to review the charging regime. Longannet is one of the biggest coal-fired power stations in Europe. It generates enough electricity each year to meet the needs of more than two million homes and it plays a vital role in keeping the power network stable and safe.
BBC 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
STV 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
Scotsman 4th Oct 2014 read more »
Herald 4th Oct 2014 read more »
Scottish households could face dimmed lights and flickering TV sets in three years’ time because UK authorities are putting Scotland’s last coal-fired power plant at risk of closure, ScottishPower has warned. The company’s Longannet power station provides electricity for 2m homes and plays a crucial role in balancing electricity supply and demand to prevent shortages in Scotland.
Telegraph 3rd Oct 2014 read more »
One of Britain’s biggest power stations could be closed down unless its electricity transmission charges are slashed, ScottishPower has warned, raising the prospect of blackouts in Britain. The company was accused yesterday of trying to bully the government to get its way over Longannet, a coal plant in Fife, which provides power to two million homes. ScottishPower said that rising carbon taxes would make it uneconomic to operate the plant by the end of the decade unless National Grid granted a special discount on its transmission charges, which are based on a nationwide formula.
Times 4th Oct 2014 read more »
Western sanctions against Russia have hit Shell, forcing the Anglo-Dutch oil major to suspend its shale gas joint venture with Gazprom Neft. Shell had teamed up with the state-owned Russian company to explore for an estimated 75 billion barrels of oil thought to lie in the Bazhenov formation in west Siberia, which would dwarf the shale oil resources in the United States.
Times 4th Oct 2014 read more »