Energy firm EDF has refused to comment on speculation it would withdraw from the £25billion project to build a new nuclear power station in Somerset if Britain was to leave the European Union. The Company said it was still not ready yet to commit to the project. The French-owned energy firm said it had a policy not to comment either way on a “Brexit”. Leading business analyst Matthew Lee, a managing partner at West accountants Bishop Fleming, said “EDF, which may well build Hinkley C is an EU business about to invest heavily into the UK – if we withdraw I suspect that their investment decision may be different. We live in a global economy and while there are aspects about the EU that we may not always like I believe that we would ultimately suffer as a regional economy if we decided to withdraw”. An EDF spokesman said there was no further update on whether the firm was closer to a position to sign the final deal to start building the Hinkley C reactor near Bridgwater. Back in April, it revealed it had finished all the preparatory work it could do to the site, and was now having to lay off as many as 300 workers, because the next step would be to start building work. EDF is still in negotiations with its financial backers and has not yet made its “final investment decision” on whether the reactor will be built.
Western Daily Press 3rd June 2015 read more »
France has decided to rescue its Areva nuclear energy company once again, this time by combining the nuclear power station creation business with state-controlled power operator EDF, its biggest client. Only a few years back, in 2010, Areva’s finances had been restored by the forced sale of its transport and transmission activities to industrial group Alstom and electrical engineer Schneider. Meanwhile, GE of the United States controls the Alstom power activities as part of its own rescue recapitalisation. The rest of Areva includes uranium mines, nuclear waste recycling, transport, storage and some alternative energy activities. For all intents and purposes, Areva is dead. External factors may have precipitated the crash of Areva, but the cause is internal. Areva and the French nuclear industry is controlled by engineers and state officials and the market comes as an afterthought. The problems of time and cost overruns in China, Finland and now in France at Flamanville are self-made and part of the “esprit de corps” arrogant attitude of the organisation.
Forbes 4th June 2015 read more »
For years French state-controlled nuclear group EDF made no secret of wanting to break up Areva, its supplier, to become the undisputed champion of one of the country’s most important strategic industries. Late on Wednesday, after a day of high-level government meetings, EDF finally got its way. Ministers in effect decided to handover Areva’s core reactor business to EDF. People are nervous about the EPR nuclear power station being built by EDF at Hinkley Point in the UK, based on the same Areva design as the Olkiluoto plant. The one bright spot for Areva’s EPR programme has been in Taishan, China. China General Nuclear is constructing two EPR reactor plants, and currently they are on time and on budget. China could take a stake in Areva NP, say people close to the deal involving EDF and Areva. There are some reasons why the Chinese could be interested. Areva NP has a cash cow — it services about 250 of the 430 nuclear power plants around the world, which generated €1.6bn of revenue last year. But fundamentally, insiders say the Areva NP plan is chiefly about rescuing Areva’s finances, adding the challenge for the French nuclear industry of cracking the export market for reactors has yet to resolved.
FT 4th June 2015 read more »
Horizon Nuclear Power has appointed David Stearns as business development director to drive forward the project’s progress. Horizon Nuclear Power’s chief operating officer Alan Raymant said Stearns appointment will “accelerate” the development of the flagship project Wylfa Newydd in Wales, which if built will have a minimum generating capacity of 2.7 GW. Stearns primary mission in his new role will be to complete the development and achieve financial close of Wylfa Newydd, and to lead the development of Horizon’s business strategy and ensure successful progression of the Oldbury project. He will also be responsible for negotiating key commercial agreements.
Utility Week 4th June 2015 read more »
JOBS are to go at Hunterston A as part of a restructuring exercise by nuclear decommissioning company Magnox. Up to 1,600 jobs will be lost across 12 UK sites with between 40 and 50 jobs axed at the Hunterston A nuclear reactor, now being decommissioned, from a total workforce of 240. A statement from Magnox said: Staff numbers at the 12 sites operated by Magnox Ltd have been declining for a number of years as progress is made on the decommissioning programmes. This announcement sets out plans to reduce workforce numbers by between 1400 to 1600 over the next 17 months. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has been assured that efforts will be undertaken to mitigate the impact of any job losses through an emphasis on voluntary redundancy, reskilling and the potential for alternative employment in Magnox Limiteds parent companies, Cavendish Nuclear and Fluor Corporation
Largs and Millport Weekly News 4th June 2015 read more »
Minutes of CoRWM Meeting held at Dounreay on 2nd July 2014. A visit to the site highlighted the issue that the vast majority of ILW wastes at Dounreay (70% by volume and 99% of the radioactivity) would not be suitable for near surface disposal. The Committee agreed that CoRWM should raise this with Scottish sponsoring Ministers at the next opportunity.
CoRWM 3rd June 2015 read more »
Paul Massara, RWE npower chief executive, says the Government should set up an independent body for the energy sector similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility. Npower has called on the Government to establish an independent body to provide impartial data on the UK’s energy sector. The company believes that a new Office of Energy should be modelled on the Office for Budget Responsibility, which was established in 2011 to perform a similar role in assessing the UK’s public finances. Paul Massara, chief executive of RWE npower, said: “We hope the energy dialogue can be reinvigorated so that we can all discuss the fundamental changes taking place within the energy industry in a way that builds consumer trust.”
Telegraph 5th June 2015 read more »
Pakistan has strongly denied reports claiming it can supply Saudi Arabia with a nuclear weapon “off-the-shelf”. Calling the reports “unfounded, baseless and untrue”, the country’s foreign secretary, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, said on Thursday (4 June): “Pakistan’s nuclear programme has nothing to do with any other country.
IB Times 5th June 2015 read more »
The European Court of Justice has ruled that a German tax on nuclear fuel is legal. The ruling is a setback for the country’s energy groups, including E.on, RWE and EnBW whose shares all fell sharply on Thursday. The group argued the tax, which has cost the groups more than €5bn (£3.7bn) was illegal and favoured other companies.
BBC 4th June 2015 read more »
Japan has set an emissions target to be presented to November’s climate summit that critics say is unambitious compared to those of other leading countries and unrealistic because it depends on restoring its nuclear industry in the face of public hostility. The government is proposing to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2030 from a base year of 2013. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will present this to a G7 meeting in Germany at the weekend where the Paris climate summit is a key agenda item.
Reuters 3rd June 2015 read more »
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has become a resolute anti-nuclear campaigner following the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 meltdowns, criticized on Thursday the government’s plan to continue using nuclear power, saying it is “in breach of the election pledge” to lower reliance on nuclear power generation. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees Koizumi as a political mentor, plans for nuclear power to account for 20 percent to 22 percent of Japan’s total electricity output in 2030, compared with around 30 percent before the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Japan Times 5th June 2015 read more »
Nuclear energy company Areva has partnered with nuclear and hazardous waste management company Kurion for the decommissioning and remediation of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) complex. As part of the agreement, the two companies will start work on the clean-up and closure of the DOE’s Hanford site in Washington state. The Hanford site produced plutonium for over 40 years during the Cold War-era for the US’ defence programme before being deactivated and decommissioned. Ongoing clean-up work of the site is estimated to involve 11,000 employees and cost $2 billion per year with the work expected to take decades.
Waste Management 4th June 2015 read more »
Energy Business Review 4th June 2015 read more »
Tunisia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Russia state-run atomic energy company Rosatom to explore nuclear power projects in the African country. The partners will work together to develop nuclear energy infrastructure, fundamental and applied researches as well as design, construct and operate nuclear and research reactors.
Energy Business Review 3rd June 2015 read more »
Corporations have already established a growing foothold in many UK schools, but the idea of Europe’s biggest arms company running a school still seems like something out of an Orwellian nightmare. However, it may be about to happen in Barrow, Cumbria, where BAE Systems is on the verge of taking overthe faltering Furness Academy. The proposal is currently going through due diligence before being opened to a consultation with stakeholders, parents and staff, where it is expected to be supported. If it is agreed, BAE will become the school’s sole sponsor later this year. They will also take responsibility for the ‘strategic direction’ of the school.
Open Democracy 2nd June 2015 read more »
South East Europe
With plenty of sunshine, good wind conditions and abundant hydro resources, southeast Europe has great renewable energy potential. Romania has the largest onshore wind power plant in Europe and in 2012, Bulgaria installed more solar power per capita than any other country in the world. Both have already reached their EU 2020 renewables targets. Albania is one of the two European countries with almost 100 per cent renewable electricity; the other is Norway.
FT 5th June 2015 read more »
Ikea, the world’s biggest furniture retailer, plans to spend €1bn ($1.13bn) on renewable energy and steps to help poor nations cope with climate change, the latest example of firms upstaging governments in efforts to slow warming.
Guardian 4th June 2015 read more »
Molly Scott-Cato: South-west England may have little in common with the deserts of the Middle East, yet we are also well endowed with the energy resources of the future. The sun may shine less brightly but it offers huge potential for electricity generation. Just this week it was announced that the total area covered by solar farms in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset has increased by about 1,000% in the past five years. Such farms are contentious of course, but a recent report I commissioned concluded that the region is awash with renewable energy potential, from offshore wind, tidal power and wave power to ground source heat and geothermal – a mix that could generate 103% of the energy needs of the south-west. These resources have the potential to create 122,000 jobs across the region and add more than £4bn a year to the south-west’s economy. Far from being a curse that concentrates power in the hands of an elite, renewables work most effectively when in community ownership. Energiewende (energy transformation) in Germany has shown this to be the case. Here, local ownership of renewables has provided a dramatic economic payback to investing communities.
Guardian 4th June 2015 read more »
Millions of households across Britain face paying more for solar panels and home insulation after an EU ruling that could force George Osborne to break his manifesto pledge by raising VAT. The European Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that the UK’s longstanding reduced five per cent rate of VAT on energy-saving products was in breach of EU laws. The court said that the reduced VAT rate should only apply to social housing – raising the prospect that the VAT rate for all other homeowners would be increased to the usual 20 per cent.
Telegraph 4th June 2015 read more »
Homeowners face an extra bill of up to £2,500 for insulating their homes under a European ruling that forces the government to stop giving discounts on VAT for “energy-saving materials”. The ruling means that homeowners will have to pay VAT at the standard rate of 20 per cent rather than the reduced rate of 5 per cent for measures such as solid wall and cavity wall insulation, draught insulation, solar panels and ground-source heat pumps.
Times 5th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
The Scottish National Party will fight David Cameron’s attempts to scrap onshore wind farm subsidies, the party’s energy spokesman has indicated. Fergus Ewing MSP, who holds the brief in the Scottish Parliament, said removing such subsidies was “irrational” and could cost taxpayers up to £3 billion. While subsidies remain a reserved matter with the UK Government, the SNP have demanded a veto over the policy in Scotland. It emerged last week that UK ministers will consult with the Scottish Government over lifting the subsidy, raising the prospect of English consumers having to pay for new wind farms in Scotland.
Telegraph 4th June 2015 read more »
The Scottish energy minister has called for an “adult discussion” with the UK government over the future of windfarm subsidies, after writing to Amber Rudd to express his concern that Scotland is being shut out of discussions. In his letter to the secretary of state for energy and climate change, Fergus Ewing wrote: “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. “Given the importance of the renewables sector to Scotland and prior commitments to consult, I would appreciate your reassurance that you will not make any changes to the subsidy arrangements for onshore wind without agreement from Scottish ministers.”
Guardian 4th June 2015 read more »
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has called on the UK Government to fulfil the commitment made in its Queen’s Speech and consult with the Scottish Government before any decisions are taken to axe windfarm subsidies. Ewing said that the UK’s Department of Energy (DECC) must also consult with the energy industry given the importance of the pipeline of planned investment in helping ensure energy security and keep the lights on across the UK at a time of increasingly tight margins between electricity demand and supply. Ewing has written to the British energy minister Amber Rudd, MP, in light of speculative reports that the UK Government will ‘shortly’ announce the end of onshore subsidies. The move was welcomed by the chief of a Scottish renewables company. Paul McCullagh, Chief Executive of Glasgow-based UrbanWind, (left) said: “We have been very concerned about the instability in the onshore wind industry since the General Election last month.
Scottish Energy News 5th June 2015 read more »
Herald 5th June 2015 read more »
Scotsman 5th June 2015 read more »
RenewableUK’s threat to take the Government to court if they cut off incentives for onshore wind early evokes memories of the ‘indyref’ debate about what would happen to financing of Scottish windfarms after independence. The rumoured threats also goes against the opinions of almost every Scottish MP – bar one – a Conservative! It has been rumoured that Amber Rudd will bring forward the cut-off date for the planned closure of the Renewables Obligation to new projects from March 2017 to March 2016. If this were to happen and significant numbers of wind projects were lost then this would trigger claims against the Government for ‘retrospective action’. Retrospective action includes measures by the Government to damage people’s rights or economic interests by punishing people for taking decisions under laws that existed at the time they took the decisions. In reality what we might be seeing is mainly a lot of what Simon Bullock, the FOE Campaigner has described as a lot of unhelpful confusion. The Government will try and assuage its backbench anti-wind MPs by saying it will cut off subsidies early whilst at the same time negotiating ‘grace periods’ for the windfarm developers that will, give or take a load of pointless paperwork allow most of the developers to go ahead as planned. meanwhile Amber Rudd will hope that this satisfies the wind people enough not to make her look daft in the run-up to the Paris Climate talks. But Amber Rudd has another problem – The Treasury. The Treasury is capping the additions that can be made to electricity bills to support renewable energy – the so-called ‘Levy Control Framework’ (LCF for those in the trade). Most of the money has already been spent. Ironically the money would go further in terms of developing more renewable energy production if a lot of it was spent on onshore wind rather. But that’s politically taboo for the Tories – although, more strangely still,
Dave Tokes Blog 4th June 2015 read more »
FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has voiced her concern that changes to UK energy policy are coming out in a “piecemeal way via the media” instead of “proper engagement with Holyrood and the offshore energy industry”. Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, she told MSPs: “Onshore wind, built in the right places, has an important role to play in helping to keep the lights on across these islands and it can do so at a competitive cost to consumers. Indeed, it can do so at a cheaper cost than the UK Government’s plans for new nuclear power. “I urge the UK Government to engage constructively on this issue and not to turn its back on a key industry.” Sturgeon’s remarks came after Energy Minister Fergus Ewing warned that the UK Government should not remove public subsidies for wind farms without consulting the Scottish Government. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is expected to announce measures to deliver on the Tories’ manifesto pledge to “end any new public subsidy” for onshore wind farms. Ewing has written to Energy Secretary Amber Rudd seeking assurances that the Scottish Government will be consulted before any change.
The National 5th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – wave power
Wave energy company Aquamarine Power has secured a three month contract with Wave Energy Scotland to share knowledge gained through the development of Oyster technology. The work package, known as ‘Project Know-How’, will enable Aquamarine Power’s team to share the experience gained through building, installing and operating two full scale Oyster wave energy machines at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Wave Energy Scotland (WES) aims to support and accelerate the development of wave energy technology in Scotland and was established as part of development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It is funded by the Scottish Government. Commenting on the contract award, Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer Paddy O’Kane said: “Aquamarine Power has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in verifying the Oyster concept. It is important that this learning is shared with others. Public funding is a scarce resource and we must ensure that the lessons we have learned, and the problems we have solved, can be put to good use by others in the industry.
Aquamarine 4th June 2015 read more »
Improving energy efficiency in buildings could save the UK £12bn each year according to the industry organisation behind proposals for a new ‘Cost Effective Energy Measures Bill’. The proposals for the bill, which were launched on Wednesday evening, would require the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to draw up a national strategy to promote and accelerate the use of measures that prioritise building efficiency. The Sustainable Energy Association (SEA), which has coordinated the work on the bill, says the resulting departmental White Paper should take account of all the costs and benefits stemming from the full range of technologies that can help meet the country’s energy needs. It warns current energy policy is overly focused on energy generation from large power stations, which are often a long way distant from where the energy produced is consumed. Consequently, it accuses government of overlooking a range of local level energy measures that can make huge contributions to reducing emissions and meeting energy demand, while creating jobs, improving energy security, lifting people out of fuel poverty and ultimately saving the UK large sums of money. “Our research, based on government figures and HM Treasury Methodology, shows that energy saving and energy produced from buildings costs far less than large scale energy generation – yet it is not given sufficient priority in current energy strategy,” said Dave Sowden, SEA chief executive. “A more buildings-focused approach to energy could save the UK £12bn per year.”
Business Green 4th June 2015 read more »
Edie 4th June 2015 read more »
Scotland’s Environment Minister Aileen McLeod has urged Amber Rudd to make increasing the UK’s climate change ambition a top priority following her appointment as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Dr McLeod has written to Rudd to highlight the impact of UK policies on Scottish greenhouse gas emissions as international negotiations continue on a new global climate change treaty to be agreed in Paris in December. “Scottish emission levels also depend to a significant extent on policies at UK and EU level. And Scotland is paying the price for the UK’s lack of climate ambition. “For example, changes by made by the UK Government to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) have reduced ECO investment in energy efficiency and fuel poverty measures in Scotland by an estimated £60-£70 million last year alone.”
Scottish Energy News 5th June 2015 read more »
Global warming has not undergone a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’, according to US government research that undermines one of the key arguments used by sceptics to question climate science. The new study reassessed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (Noaa) temperature record to account for changing methods of measuring the global surface temperature over the past century. The adjustments to the data were slight, but removed a flattening of the graph this century that has lead climate sceptics to claim the rise in global temperatures had stopped. “There is no slowdown in warming, there is no hiatus,” said lead author Dr Tom Karl, who is the director of Noaa’s National Climatic Data Centre.
Guardian 4th June 2015 read more »
Carbon Brief 4th June 2015 read more »
Independent 4th June 2015 read more »
The true rate of global warming over the past 15 years has in fact probably been even higher because the warming of the Arctic has not been taken properly into account.
Independent 4th June 2015 read more »