Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State Ed Davey has denied that the Government is offering EDF a blank cheque for Hinkley C nuclear power plant. He is reported in the Guardian as putting his reputation on the line (‘ a personal test’), saying that “I am determined that the consumer or the taxpayer will not bear the risk of construction over-runs. Nuclear will get no preference in comparison with other low-carbon technologies.” Now the first part of the sentence is more important than the second, assuming the Government does stick to that position, because the Government appears not to be keeping to the second part. Nuclear power is being offered much more favourable terms compared to renewables since nuclear, according to the same (Guardian) article, is being offered a 35 year contract for premium prices. Moreover, the Treasury announced ten days ago that EDF would be offered £10 billion worth of loan guarantees. Meanwhile contracts offered to renewable generators are only to last for 15 years, a reduction compared to the Renewables Obligation where the premium prices last for 20 years. And of course, renewables have not been offered £10 billion of loan guarantees!
Dave Toke’s Green Energy Blog 7th July 2013 read more »
Energy expert Alan Simpson has rubbished Con-Dem claims that Britain will get a good deal on a new nuclear energy plant as a “complete dishonesty” today. The government is desperate for French state energy firm EDF to deliver Somerset’s Hinkley Point plant to quell growing fears over an energy crisis caused by the market-obsessed privatisation of the industry. EDF was offered a “strike price” of £80 per megawatt of electricity produced but are believed to be holding out for fixed sales of at least £100. Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey insisted again last week that Britain will get a good deal from EDF in a chest-beating interview with the Guardian. “I am not going to sign any deal with EDF unless it is value for money, is affordable and meets the coalition agreement of no public subsidy,” he said. But former Labour MP and energy policy expert Mr Simpson told the Morning Star that the government is set to offer EDF huge subsidies. Mr Simpson said staff at EDF have told him they expect the strike price to be “index linked” despite the government imposing a freeze on pay and benefits. He said: “My information from inside the company is that they don’t expect to reopen the negotiations until the end of the year and there’s a real arrogance in their position. “They are saying you need us more than we need you.
Morning Star 7th July 2013 read more »
Transparency is needed to overcome the mistrust which is now pervasive. The negotiations on new nuclear in the UK are a prime example of where this would help, The costs of the first new nuclear station have risen from around £9bn to £15bn over the last five years. EDF have provided detailed numbers on the costs including the costs of raising the necessary finance to the UK Government negotiators. In the end those numbers will come out. Why can’t they be published now, before a deal is completed?
FT 8th July 2013 read more »
Ministers, Labour politicians and regulator Ofgem have all spoken of the need to break the “stranglehold” of the Big Six, who control the vast majority of the supply market. But Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On UK, said such comments “disappoint” him because “the market is competitive”. “There are a number of large players and a number of small players. My view is that number is sufficient,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “There is active and vibrant competition in this marketplace. The companies are very different, have different agendas, and actively compete for the loyalty of their customers.”
Telegraph 7th July 2013 read more »
Letters: You are absolutely correct to say that “Britain can’t afford to throw money at wind power” (Leading article, June 30). What is needed from the Government is a full-hearted commitment to put Britain’s needs first. That means: halting the closure of older, but still serviceable, power stations, until suitable replacements come on stream; repealing the Climate Change Act; and abolishing all subsidies for inefficient wind and solar power, along with the Carbon Trading scheme.
Telegraph 7th July 2013 read more »
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing today announced the establishment of an Expert Commission on Energy Regulation in an independent Scotland. The Commission will be chaired by Robert Armour OBE, an energy lawyer working in the power sector in Scotland for the last 30 years, and will include a broad membership from across the public and private sector, including Simon Bucknall, former of Director of Regulation at Scottish Power; Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust; Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Focus; Dr Robert Gross of Imperial College London; Gordon MacDougall from Renewable Energy Systems; Dr Fiona Riddoch, Managing Director of Cogen Europe; John Scott, former Director of Engineering at National Grid and former Technical Director at Ofgem; David Sigsworth, Chairman of SEPA and Chair of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum; and Graeme Sweeney, Special Adviser on CO2 to Royal Dutch Shell. The Commission will produce a full report by the end of this year and will provide interim findings to inform the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence in Autumn 2013. Central to the Scottish Government’s proposals for the energy sector post-independence is the continuation of a GB-wide market for electricity and gas, a position already announced publicly by Ministers, where Scotland has control over a broader range of regulatory, fiscal and legislative levers. An independent Scottish Government would also seek a new strategic partnership on energy with the rest of the UK, providing a framework for cooperation.
Scottish Government 7th July 2013 read more »
While many countries still discuss whether or not a 100% renewable energy system – or “just” a 100% renewable electricity supply – is even theoretically possible, Germans seem no longer bothered by such unscientific doubts. To make matters “worse,” some of them (including myself) are even convinced that a transition to a 100% renewable energy system can and should be accomplished within only a few decades’ time. Some people might find this different perception of the problems we face to overcome the energy crisis of the 21st century so puzzling that they would rather choose to believe that the Germans have simply gone mad. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth, and I’ve got a few nice examples that might explain the German mindset.
Renew Economy 8th July 2013 read more »
The level of radioactive tritium continues to rise in seawater just off the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday. A sample collected Wednesday contained around 2,300 becquerels of tritium per liter, the highest level detected in seawater since the nuclear crisis at the plant began in March 2011. According to TEPCO, the sample with the highest tritium concentration was collected near a water intake on the northeast side of the No. 1 reactor turbine building. The level was up from 1,100 in samples taken on June 21, and 2,200 in samples taken on July 1, in the same area.
Kyodo News 6th July 2013 read more »
Letter Brian Quayle: ALASTAIR Osborne believes it would be more productive to concentrate on persuading a future UK government to abandon Trident rather than by supporting independence. I, like many, others, have spent several decades trying to do just that – with a spectacular lack of success at the UK level. I now realise that the trouble with our approach was that it is reasonable, and ethical, which is why we failed in the UK, but won the day in Scotland. Because the UK’s addiction to the bomb transcends mere logic and morality; it is deeply rooted in the murky psyche of Britishness itself.
Herald 8th Oct 2013 read more »
A missile designed to destroy nuclear missiles after they have been fired failed to hit its target during a test launch. The ground-based interceptor missile fired from Vanderberg Air Force Base was supposed to hit a missile launched in the Kwajalein Atoll 4,000 miles away. It was the third consecutive failure of the Interceptor system, which is managed by Boeing Co, according to defense officials.
Daily Mail 7th July 2013 read more »
There is enough privately generated electricity in the UK to power most of the Midlands, new research has found — and it is farmers and wind turbines that increasingly are making Britain a nation of independently owned mini power stations. An investigation of the electricity generation market has found that, after a 24 per cent rise last year, Britain now has more than 2,000 independently owned commercial-scale power projects. Those power plants, typically set up by property developers, landowners and farmers or by industrial and manufacturing companies needing on-site generation, are capable of producing 4.7 gigawatts of electricity — enough to keep the lights on in 3.9 million homes.
Times 8th July 2013 read more »
Owners of energy-efficient homes should pay less for their council tax and stamp duty to drive take-up of the government’s flagship energy-efficiency scheme, according to campaigners. Publishing an analysis on how to improve the green deal, the UK Green Building Council said the changes would be funded by making the owners of the country’s leakiest, most inefficient homes pay more under the two taxes. The proposed incentives follow government figures, published at the end of June, that showed only 245 households were on the brink of finalising financing under the green deal, six months after its launch.
Guardian 8th July 2013 read more »
Letter: David Hookes argues that roughly 5% leakage would make methane leaking from fracking wells into a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide from coal burning. Is it possible to maintain leakage very much below 5%? A suitable target would be 0.5%. The proponents of fracking argue from existing technology that a company that leaked 5% of its methane would be in court. Although gas wells under the North Sea are not leak-free, leak detection of methane bubbling up from a high-volume underwater well is far easier than from an array of distributed fracking wells on land. The problem with fracking is that the production from any one borehole is much smaller than from a conventional North Sea well. However, there will be vast numbers of boreholes, only some of which will be commercially productive, but all with potential to leak. And leakage will matter whether during or after production, indeed for many decades into the future.
Guardian 7th July 2013 read more »