Criticism of the way the government represents support for renewables compared to other energy technologies in the UK “could have a point”, according to Greg Barker, minister for climate change. Ashley Seager, director of Sun4Net questioned why the government uses the word subsidy to describe support for renewables but uses phrases like “price support” to describe new nuclear, even though both are helped through the same mechanism. The coalition agreement, released after the last election pledges support for new nuclear power on the condition “that they receive no public subsidy”. In his response, the minister pointed out that tax breaks given to oil and gas firms are different to subsidies but conceded that Seager might “have a point around contracts for difference for nuclear”. (See video)
Solar Portal 4th July 2014 read more »
At a recent solar industry event hosted in London by the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), former energy secretary Chris Huhne gave a keynote speech. While the tone was largely positive, and showed an optimism for the global proliferation of renewable energy, Huhne took a brief dig at his former parliamentary partners, singling out Lord Lawson and his Global Warming Policy Foundation, and David Cameron
Solar Portal 3rd July 2014 read more »
Weakened by years of economic crisis, Europe is now clueless in the face of three pressing demands: securing sufficient energy, reducing emissions and putting energy prices on a sustainable trajectory. The idea that shale gas (transported from America, or extracted locally) is the solution reflects nothing but wishful thinking. As does the notion of replacing existing capacity with available renewable technologies. Put bluntly, we currently lack the technologies that will address European energy needs. Today, no European country has the capacity to face down the energy threat. But together, Europe could fund a green energy project without a penny of additional taxes. Public investment banks, such as the European Investment Bank, already borrow from the private sector by issuing their own bonds. All that is necessary to depress the cost of funding Europe’s Green Manhattan Project is that our central banks add these bonds to their existing purchasing portfolio. Britain can become a serious participant in a joint project that mobilises private resources to address its energy conundrum as part of a broader European Green New Deal. The only impediment is an ideological commitment to Thatcher’s beliefs that nothing good can ever come of democratically controlled agencies and that there are no limits to the wonders that the private sector is capable of.
Guardian 4th July 2014 read more »
The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA) is the Board of Ofgem. I have elsewhere argued for a complete rethink of the role of regulator, its governance and its aims ie output-based versus (some form of) the traditional historically-linked rate of return because of the huge and rapid changes transforming the energy system. I also agree that the role of utilities; the role of business and the role of customers should also be re-examined, as NY State is doing in its Reforming the Energy Vision. A fruitful area to examine is (1) the merit of a full-time Commissioner-based output-orientated regulatory body rather than the Ofgem model of an institution-led body with part-time oversight; and (2) its potential roles, and where such a body could sit in the overall governance structure of the energy system, and what relationships it could have in terms of (hierarchy of) power.
IGov 4th July 2014 read more »
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority can conduct a series of plutonium title transfers with legacy overseas reprocessing customers, the Government has agreed. These transfers essentially exchange ownership of plutonium between two countries, removing the need to physically move it. Title transfers offer a cost effective and beneficial arrangement which allows the UK to gain national control over more of the civil plutonium in the UK and avoids the need to physically transport separated plutonium because of the associated significant security measures. In detail the NDA is: Taking ownership of about 800 kg of material previously owned by a Swedish Utility; Taking ownership of about 140 kg of material previously owned by a German research organisation.
DECC 3rd July 2014 read more »
A NUCLEAR power firm has been challenged to prove it is safe to pump hundreds of litres of waste into Mersea’s Blackwater estuary. Magnox, which runs Bradwell Power Station, is dissolving nuclear fuel rods and releasing the liquid into the estuary at high tide. Magnox and the Environment Agency say the discharge is within authorised limits. But Mersea mum Tracey Jones has set up the Blackwater Guardians group because parents are worried the waste could harm their children.
Colchester Gazette 3rd July 2014 read more »
Highways chiefs and bypass campaigners have expressed frustration at an energy company’s alleged failure to share the “vital” information required to determine a long-awaited transport solution in Suffolk. The Four Villages Bypass Group claims EDF Energy’s withholding of traffic modelling data related to the development of its Sizewell C power plant is “hampering” Suffolk County Council’s ability to progress plans. The group and the council both agree that all four villages – Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham – should be bypassed due to long-standing traffic concerns, which they feel will be exacerbated during the construction of Sizewell C.
East Anglian Daily Times 4th July 2014 read more »
The timetable has slipped for plans by the National Grid (NG) to develop power lines to link up with new energy generation projects in north Wales. Cables are needed to connect Anglesey’s planned new Wylfa nuclear power station and windfarms in Ireland and offshore with the grid. Residents want undersea cables to be used rather than overland pylons. NG says it knows the “uncertainty is frustrating” but it wants to ensure it takes the right option forward. The company has said it will now split the work into two phases, looking at links on the mainland before those on Anglesey.
BBC 3rd July 2014 read more »
I have been reading your article on nuclear energy and in particular a possible new lease of life for Heysham. I have, like Mo Kelly, expressed concern personally about the health aspects of two power stations based so close to the centres of population having worked in the power industry and having discussed with a leading scientist some years ago the dangers of MFE (magnetic field exposure) in operations close to where people live. I noticed in a national newspaper online an article where they quote “Cancer rates are five times higher near power station” according to Dr Chris Busby, who compiled a study with the help of residents in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, who were worried about the health risks from the Hinkley Point power station in Burnham-on-Sea, just a few miles from their town. Before decisions are made about the future of Heysham Power Stations 1 and 2 and any proposed new power station is sanctioned, perhaps we should as a community research the pros and cons of magnetic field exposure and cancer risks for residents of the Morecambe and Heysham area. While providing necessary jobs, we must consider too the implications of having a prolonged nuclear energy facility in the area and remembering that power stations do need a considerable time element for decommissioning when a decision to close is made.
The Visitor 3rd July 2014 read more »
Israel said its defence forces Twitter account was hacked after it issued a warning about a “nuclear leak after a rocket attack”. A tweet from the verified Twitter account of the Israeli Defense Force (@IDFSpokesperson) initially warned of a “possible nuclear leak in the region after two rockets hit Dimona nuclear facility”, causing a brief flurry of panic.
Independent 4th July 2014 read more »
In modern India any form of dissent from the neoliberal corporate model of development is being criminalised, writes Kumar Sundaram. Opponents of nuclear power, coal mines, GMOs, giant dams, are all under attack as enemies of the state and a threat to economic growth.
Ecologist 4th July 2014 read more »
Letter: NFLA, CND, Greenpeace, NIS, ICAN etc The Trident commission’s conclusions that the UK does not need nuclear weapons to maintain international status or as an “insurance policy” against a global crisis are to be welcomed. Unfortunately the report’s headline finding that Trident should be replaced is mistaken. Modernising and proliferating nuclear weapons, even with reduced numbers, is out of step with international law and Britain’s security needs. Public opinion continues to move away from wanting nuclear weapons, with senior military, trade unions and public figures arguing that the billions of pounds should be redirected towards our real security needs.
Guardian 3rd July 2014 read more »
The intermittent nature of renewable power generation has long been a potential barrier to a low-carbon future. Electricity only generated when the wind blows or the sun shines isn’t always needed at that exact time. As more intermittent power comes online, the grid has to turn down more energy. Between October 2011 and March 2013, 224GW hours of potential energy were turned down from UK wind farms alone (receiving £7.6m of the total £170m curtailment and balancing payments in 2013 – effectively being paid for energy that could have been generated, but isn’t). Surges of renewable energy are rejected in favour of the low and steady hum of nuclear, coal and gas. This problem can only be solved by effective energy storage. Batteries can only keep small amounts. Electric vehicles could potentially, en masse, add up to one big storage capacity, but it is unlikely any time soon. Pumped hydro is the current front-runner, using excess energy to pump water up a slope and release it back down again when needed, but it requires very specific topography (ie hills and space for large lakes). There’s another solution, which avoids all those issues – turning the excess electricity, through electrolysis of water, into renewable hydrogen gas.
Guardian 4th July 2014 read more »
Green power company Intelligent Energy has been valued at £639m in London’s biggest pure technology flotation for the last five years. The fuel cell business, started by academics from Loughborough University, offered 16.2m shares to investors priced at 340p each. The listing of just 8.76pc of the company raised £55m in proceeds which will be used to fund the launch of its USB sized mobile phone charger and build emergency power back-up mobile phone masts in India.
Telegraph 4th July 2014 read more »
The number of energy efficiency installations in UK homes has fallen by 60 per cent, according to the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) campaign.
Utility Week 4th July 2014 read more »
Today ACE and the Energy Bill Revolution publish a set of slides and a briefing which assess the impact of the Government’s current energy efficiency policies and compare them against past performance and what needs to happen to effectively tackle fuel poverty and meet the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change.
ACE 4th July 2014 read more »
Saving our skins might be surprisingly cheap. To avoid dangerous climate change, the world needs to boost spending on green energy by $1 trillion a year. That sounds scarily large, but we could cover a lot of it using the subsidies currently handed to fossil fuels. Governments have agreed to limit global warming to 2°C, because more than that may be impossible to adapt to. “We need to drastically transform our energy system,” says David McCollum of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. “It is high time we thought about how much capital is needed.” McCollum’s team plugged that gap by analysing six different models that combine data on greenhouse gas emissions, energy scenarios and investment costs. The numbers work like this. Investment in low-carbon energy is currently $200 billion a year. But that isn’t enough. For a 70 per cent chance of keeping below 2°C, the investment will have to rise to $1.2 trillion a year.
New Scientist 4th July 2014 read more »