Britain’s decision to delay final approval for the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant risks cooling relations with economic powerhouse China under new prime minister Theresa May, analysts say. May’s predecessor David Cameron, who quit after the June referendum vote to leave the European Union, made strong ties with Beijing central to his economic policy.
Japan Times 7th Aug 2016 read more »
China’s nuclear bomb-maker is to take a stake in Hinkley Point if the £18billion power station gets the go-ahead from the Government. The China National Nuclear Corporation, supplier of nuclear missiles to the People’s Liberation Army, will buy half of China General Nuclear’s 33.5 per cent share in the project, which is majority owned by EDF. It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May shocked the industry by saying the Government needed more time to review the project, reportedly over fears regarding investment from CGN.
This is Money 7th Aug 2016 read more »
Less than a year ago, George Osborne boasted of a “golden decade” in ties with China. It was grand rhetoric for a cobbled together package of red carpet visits, a problematic nuclear energy project and deals like the £45m agreement to export the UK’s finest pig semen. But even the cynics didn’t expect the shine to come off quite so quickly. Britain has just blindsided Beijing twice: through its shock announcement that the centrepiece nuclear project is on hold, pending a fresh review, and by voting to leave the European Union. The swift reversal on Hinkley Point C epitomises the dilemma posed by China’s ascendance. Other countries dutifully talk about partnership and win-win pacts, and there has been real progress on areas such as climate change. But for the most part, they have found themselves torn between the lure of the world’s second largest economy and their alarm at its might – its increasing influence and assertiveness, its authoritarian leadership, nationalism and hefty military investments, and its desire to reset the rules, as rising powers usually do. Tony Abbott said privately while he was Australia’s prime minister that his country’s China policy was driven by “fear and greed”. He could have spoken for many of his counterparts. While Hinkley Point was dominating front pages, news from China garnered less attention: the trials of human rights lawyers, part of a sweeping crackdown on civil society and dissenting voices. Zhou Shifeng, jailed for seven years for subversion, had represented families hit by the scandal of melamine-tainted milk powder which killed six infants and sickened 300,000, partly because of a cover-up by the firm and local officials, and self-censorship by journalists who feared retaliation.
Guardian 8th Aug 2016 read more »
The list of companies accepted for the competition to develop mini nuclear power stations.was published briefly, apparently accidentally, on the website of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Friday before being deleted. It reads as a who’s-who of US, British, Japanese and Chinese industry players hoping to develop and build small modular reactors. These are much smaller than conventional nuclear plants with a capacity of less than 300MW – or a 10th of what Hinkley Point C should provide. They are pitched by industry as a cheaper and quicker way to provide low-carbon energy capacity than conventional big nuclear plants because they could be built in a factory and transported to where their power is needed. The US and UK are racing to be the most attractive home for the first of the new designs to be commissioned. The 33 participants will be whittled down in several phases, with the announcement of the eventual winners scheduled for late 2017.
Guardian 7th Aug 2016 read more »
A controversial Chinese company has been selected to bid for millions of pounds of public money in a UK government competition to develop mini nuclear power stations. The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) features twice in a government list of 33 projects and companies deemed eligible to compete for a share in up to £250m to develop so-called small modular reactors (SMR). The involvement of a different Chinese company in the high-profile Hinkley Point C project in Somerset was widely believed to have prompted the government’s decision to pause the deal at the 11th hour last month. Nick Timothy, Theresa May’s co-chief of staff, has previously expressed alarm at the prospect of CNNC having such close access to the UK’s energy infrastructure because it would give the state-owned firm the potential ability to build weaknesses into computer systems.
Guardian 7th Aug 2016 read more »
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has called for a renewed commitment by the UK Government to renewable energy. Although RSPB strongly resists renewable energy proposals where they have unacceptable wildlife impacts – such as its successful appeal last month in the Court of Session against four large wind farms off eastern Scotland – it supports large-scale expansion of carefully-planned renewable energy across the UK, and does not object to over 90% of sites. In its latest report, ‘The RSPB’s 2050 Energy Vision’, a mapping analysis showed how the UK can deliver its climate targets using ambitious levels of renewable energy, without major risks to sensitive species and habitats. It concluded that renewable energy should be prioritised in the UK’s energy strategy, with continued growth of onshore wind, solar and offshore renewables in addition to reducing energy demand. The report also highlighted major opportunities to develop renewable energy in deeper waters around the UK, using innovative technologies like floating turbines to harness strong winds further offshore.
Scottish Energy News 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Tony McDonough: Britain needs urgent solutions to its looming energy gap – and the environmentalists may just have to swallow it. Despite the junk science around it, nuclear energy is safe and emission-free. Coal, on the other hand, has been poisoning us for over a century. Many lament the demise of UK coal industry when we should be glad to see the back of it. A British Geological Survey study of shale gas across the north of England estimated total reserves of 1,300tn cubic feet – the equivalent of more than 500 years of UK gas consumption at current levels. Even if only a fifth of that can be recovered it can still make a huge contribution. If we want the lights to stay on in the coming decades then we may not have much choice. Unless anyone has any better ideas?
Liverpool Echo 7th Aug 2016 read more »
If all goes to plan with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (Enec) four reactors at Baraka in Al Gharbia, then from next year it should deliver wholesale electricity at about 26 fils per kWh (a number based on my own calculations). That is more expensive than the 11 fils bid for Dubai’s latest solar plant, but it can be cheaper than gas, and is a reasonable price for reliable power meeting a quarter of Abu ¬Dhabi’s demand. But in this region, Saudi Arabia and – despite deals with Russia – Jordan and Egypt have so far made little progress on their own nuclear power ambitions.
The National (UAE) 7th Aug 2016 read more »
China protest against nuclear waste plant. Thousands take to streets in move that poses threat to country’s atomic plans to protest against a proposed nuclear waste reprocessing facility, in a show of public opposition that China fears could derail its ambitious plans to construct dozens of nuclear reactors. China has been building nuclear reactors at a blistering pace, part of a plan for non-fossil fuels to provide a fifth of national energy supply by 2030. The country so far lacks sufficient nuclear waste processing facilities to handle the output from its planned reactors, and is also short of enrichment facilities to process fuel for the reactors to burn. Protesters in Lianyungang, a port city to the north of Shanghai in Jiangsu province, said they were worried about the health and safety impact of the proposed Sino-French venture. Thousands of residents turned out on Saturday evening in a protest monitored but not stopped by local police, and a second protest was expected for Sunday evening. “The government kept the project a secret. People only found out about it recently. That’s why most people are worried,” said Mr Sheng, a local resident who declined to give his full name. “Some speculate that the nuclear waste is from other countries and do not understand why the project should be built here instead of over there if it’s as safe and beneficial as they say.”
FT 7th Aug 2016 read more »
South China Morning Post 8th Aug 2016 read more »
South Australia signalling the death of base-load generation. Tuesday marks the three-month anniversary of the closure of the last coal-fired “base-load generator” in the South Australia electricity market, and despite the best efforts of many in the Coalition and the Murdoch media, there is nothing to suggest that other states will not follow suit, in time. The fossil fuel industry predicted – and possibly hoped for – “armageddon” from the closure of the last coal plant. But all it got was a big jump in wholesale electricity prices, caused not by renewable energy, as federal and local energy ministers have made clear, but by the soaring cost of gas and constraints on the interconnecter. If anything, the events of the last few weeks have reinforced the point that the electricity market is in the early stages of an unstoppable transition. Coal-fired plants will soon be a thing of the past, and the role of gas-fired generators may all diminish as battery storage and other renewables take more central roles.
Renew Economy 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Bam Nuttall is in pole position to build a £300m tidal barrage project that is attracting interest from major pension funds, Construction News has learned. Bam is part of a consortium of companies putting together a report for investors to demonstrate the engineering and environmental viability of the Wyre Tidal Barrage in Fleetwood, Lancashire. Other members of the consortium include Mott MacDonald, General Electric, Andritz Hydro and Arcadis. Bob Long, managing director of the project’s developer Natural Energy Wyre, said several major pension funds had been found to invest in the barrage, with one unnamed fund interested in investing more than half of its building costs.
Construction News 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Ullapool is set to generate its own hydroelectric power. The community-owned group BroomPower is aiming to raise £900,000 to fund the development, with members of the public being invited to buy shares. A spokesman said: “The run-of-river scheme will generate enough power for more than 100 homes. The steep terrain and wet climate make the spot ideal.” Stephanie Clark of Scottish Renewables, said: “The Highlands of Scotland are hydro-power’s traditional heartland, so it’s great to see a community project looking to develop in such a historic location.”
Machinery Market 7th Aug 2016 read more »
Green energy could flourish in post-Brexit Britain, says long-time community energy campaigner and co-founder of Sharenergy, Jon Halle For those of us who are working to establish community energy in the UK, the Brexit vote is a distraction within which we need to find opportunity. If we can learn anything from the vote which shocked even those that fought for it, it’s that people want to be involved in the decisions that affect them; decisions like how their energy is produced and used. It’s now been 19 years since Baywind Energy Co-operative, the UK’s first community-owned renewable project, was formed. Over that period, we have steadily built up a movement of installations of every major renewable technology type — from biomass heating to wind, hydroelectric and solar — all developed at a local level and putting ownership into the hands of ordinary people. Energy co-ops around the UK, from Cornwall to Shetland, have thousands of members, and there is scarcely a town without a group of people planning new low-carbon generation in their back yard.
Positive News 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Environmental campaigners have accused the government of trying to bribe the public to accept fracking, after Theresa May unveiled plans to give households cash payments worth thousands of pounds if shale drilling occurs in their areas.
Guardian 7th Aug 2016 read more »
Liz Hutchins: Bribery won’t convince the British people that fracking is good for them – it’s dirty and dangerous.
Independent 7th Aug 2016 read more »