A nuclear power plant in Lancashire has been taken offline owing to a faulty boiler pump. EDF Energy, operators of Heysham Power Station in Morecambe, said Heysham 1 was closed down at around 08:00 GMT on Saturday. It said the move was “unplanned but standard procedure and there was no danger to the public”. The firm added it would not affect power supplies in the area. It hopes the unit will resume next week.
BBC 5th Jan 2014 read more »
Is energy policy made in Brussels? The obvious answer would be no. The EU may have an energy commissioner but he has little real authority. Energy policy is still under the control of individual national governments and as a result there are 28 very different approaches and outcomes. France is supplied by nuclear power. Germany by contrast is phasing out nuclear in favour of renewables. Much of Eastern Europe still depends on coal. There is cross border trade, of course, but most countries have their own distinct energy market. A series of announcements over the last few weeks, however, suggests that the European Commission which is in its last year in office wants to assert its authority over energy issues by indirect means, using environmental and competition policy to create a de facto Common Energy Policy. A Commission policy statement on energy will be published before the end of January. The issue promises to become more visible and part of the continuing debate about the balance of power between Brussels and the member states. The first of the three areas of contention concerns the subsidies given to companies which use large amounts of energy and whose businesses could be rendered uneconomic as high cost renewables replace lower cost, and usually more carbon intensive supplies. The second challenge is to the UK’s attempt to encourage the development of new nuclear. The third challenge concerns shale gas. The EU is in the process of developing new framework legislation which will shape the environmental decisions around all new oil and gas developments.
FT 5th Jan 2014 read more »
Scottish Power is planning to cut its prices by 3.3% after criticism that it had failed to pass on savings from the government’s rollback of the green levies that were added to power bills. The move will reduce typical household gas and electricity dual fuel bills by about £42 and the energy company is also expected to pass on a further £12 rebate to all customers for the Warm Home Discount, which the government has said will be funded through general taxation instead of through levies on energy bills.
Guardian 5th Jan 2014 read more »
Energy companies should be simpler and more open with businesses about the prices they charge to supply gas and electricity, according to the main lobby group for small entrepreneurs. Days after the Government forced the big utility suppliers to make tariffs more transparent for householders, including telling them which deal is the cheapest, the same regime should apply for their commercial customers, the Federation for Small Businesses said.
Times 6th Jan 2013 read more »
Two Huddersfield university professors are backing an alternative to uranium-fuelled nuclear power. Professors Cywinski and Barlow are major advocates of the use of thorium as a safe and plentiful source of carbon-neutral nuclear power.
Huddersfield Examiner 5th Jan 2014 read more »
Despite lovely views over the Usk valley, the farm at Llwmws in the Brecon Beacons lives up to its Welsh name, which literally means “cold, desolate or bare”. The north-facing slopes provide rough grazing for hardy Welsh sheep but little else, and the sun disappears behind the hilltops at 1.30pm in the winter. The stream that bounces and plays its way down the hillside has, until recently, been such an insignificant part of this bleak landscape that generations of farmers on the hill have failed to give it a name. The current farmer, George Smith, says it has been of more interest to his children, who love to play in it, erecting rock and pebble dams, than to anyone else. But as of the end of November last year, dozens of ordinary people were interested enough in this little stream, and another similar one on neighbouring land, to invest £270,000 in them. Why? Because within a year, as “micro hydro” schemes they will be providing enough electrical energy to power 57 homes in such a low-tech, unobtrusive way that George Smith’s children won’t even notice the difference in their dam-building.
Penn Energy 5th Jan 2014 read more »
With his Bentley, his smart suits and his Bolton accent, Peter Darwell is an unlikely eco warrior. Yet the former financial adviser from Hale, in Cheshire’s stockbroker belt, is one of the biggest entrepreneurs in the UK’s renewable energy sector. After years of uncertainty, compounded by the credit crunch, 2013 turned out to be a good year for Mr Darwell and he is hoping that 2014 will be just as good, if not better. Mr Darwell is chairman of the Cardiff-based Eco2, the independent renewable energy developer that has been pioneering power stations that turn farm waste into energy. In August he completed a deal to sell a 40MW straw-fired power station to a Danish pension fund for £160 million. Brigg, which should provide enough power to light up 70,000 homes, is under construction and should begin generating for the grid by 2016.
Times 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Britain needs to face up to a radical change in weather conditions that could be the result of global warming, and spend much more on flood defences, Sir David King, the government’s special envoy on climate change, has said. Amid the worst floods for decades, King said the UK must do more to manage the problem, potentially doubling spending to £1bn a year by 2020, as extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent. The former chief scientific adviser spoke out as the UK braced itself for further disruption from wind and storms, with 84 flood warnings in England and Wales, and a further 220 areas on alert.
Guardian 5th Jan 2014 read more »
Labour has questioned whether Environment Secretary Owen Paterson’s “climate change scepticism” is blinding him to the dangers of flooding in future years, as the worst winter storm for 20 years continued to rage.
Independent 5th Jan 2014 read more »