THE “Implementation Committee for the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context” has found that Britain has not met its obligations to discuss the impact of a nuclear accident with the affected public in other countries, including Ireland, Irish NGO Friends of the Irish Environment reports. The findings are expected to be confirmed at the next plenary session in Minsk in June 2017. Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) made a complaint to the Implementation Committee over Britain’s failure to consult the public in Ireland about the potential trans-boundary implications of the construction and operation of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor in Somerset, south-west England. The UN’s Espoo Convention, named for the Finnish town in which it was signed in 1991, requires governments to provide an opportunity to the public in trans-boundary areas likely to be affected by a project to participate in the relevant Environmental Impact Assessment procedures regarding proposed activities. It must ensure that the opportunity provided to the public of potentially affected parties is “equivalent to that provided to the public of the party of origin”. FIE’s complaint cited the Irish Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) Report published in May 2013 which acknowledged that, in the event of an accident, Irish agriculture could be affected. “Food controls and agricultural protective measures would be required if any of these accidents occurred to ensure that food on sale in Ireland was safe to eat. In the case of the most severe accident scenario examined in the study, short-term measures such as sheltering would also be required,” the RPII Report concluded.
An Phoblacht 8th June 2016 read more »
French utility EDF is considering the sale of its British gas and coal plants and has used Barclays bank to approach potential buyers, two sources familiar with the matter said. EDF and Barclays both declined to comment. Heavily indebted EDF wants to sell off non-core assets in order to invest tens of billions of euros in its nuclear power business over the next decade, including in the UK the nuclear reactor project at Hinkley Point. Two sources said Barclays has approached potential buyers on behalf of EDF on an informal basis to gauge their interest in a possible sale of the assets. The French company owns two coal power plants in Britain: Cottam and West Burton A, along with the West Burton B gas plant.
Reuters 8th June 2016 read more »
Shares in Toshiba rose to six-month highs after its US unit Westinghouse clinched a nuclear deal in India – a rare bright spot for the Japanese conglomerate that has suffered record losses and streamlined its operations in the wake of a $1.3bn accounting scandal. The Westinghouse deal would mark the first order since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, and sent Toshiba’s shares up by as much as 6.4 per cent on Thursday. The US and India this week set a June 2017 deadline to conclude negotiations for Westinghouse to build six AP1000 nuclear reactors in South India. The agreement, which came during a meeting between US President Barack Obama and India’s prime minister Narendra Modi at the White House, represented a significant advance in civilian nuclear co-operation between the two countries. But analysts said it also confirmed that clima te change concerns will underpin demand for nuclear plants in emerging markets such as India, even after a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011 forced Japan, Germany and other countries to rethink their energy policies. Danny Roderick, Westinghouse chief executive, has said the company expects to win 50 new contracts in India and China over the next decade.
Reuters 9th June 2016 read more »
Westinghouse can start building six AP1000s in India following an agreement signed yesterday during talks at the White House between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama. It is the first such opportunity for a US company since the countries signed a civil nuclear deal in 2008.
World Nuclear News 8th June 2016 read more »
We live in uncertain and troubling times. We are rightly on red alert against the threat of what has now become conventional terrorist acts of indiscriminate suicide bombings, gun and knife attacks. But we are seemingly blind to the much more catastrophic and all too real threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and other terrorist groups. It is hard for us to imagine, but terror groups are alarmingly close to acquiring nuclear weapons. Security experts believe the Jihadi brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui were plotting to make a radioactive bomb by kidnapping Belgium’s nuclear programme chief in order to force him to let them into one of Belgium’s two atomic facilities to steal nuclear material. Nuclear proliferation, either by terrorist groups such as Isil or state actors like North Korea, mean we are living in a world confronted with a threat level the likes of which we have not seen since the Cold War.
Telegraph 8th June 2016 read more »
National Grid’s plans to resuscitate the electricity system in the event of a nationwide blackout have spiralled from £17.5m to almost £150m after aging coal plants were offered a deal to “keep warm” in case of an emergency. The system operator will face the energy regulator this summer to explain why its so-called “black start” plans will cost £113m more than Ofgem agreed, amid rising criticism from the industry that the plants are being overpaid in response to the UK’s looming threat of blackouts. National Grid put in place the costly plans – which are ultimately paid for by consumers on their energy bills – to ensure that coal plants at SSE’s Fiddlers Ferry and the Drax site are available to kick-start the power grid if the UK is plunged into a catastrophic blackout.
Telegraph 8th June 2016 read more »
For a few hours around lunchtime on a bright and windy day last month, Germany paid people to use electricity. The country’s investment in renewable energy has paid off so handsomely that green power sources produced almost enough electricity to meet national demand. Because the rest of the energy infra¬structure — nuclear, coal and gas stations — was online too, the temporary surplus pushed prices on Germany’s spot market on 8 May into the negative. For a brief time, the more electricity that commercial customers used, the more money they made.
Nature 8th June 2016 read more »
Four people have been charged following protests at a plant in Berkshire where Trident nuclear warheads are built. Campaigners lay across roads blocking access to AWE Burghfield on Wednesday in a protest against replacing Trident. Two women, aged 18 and 62, and a 25-year-old man, all from Reading, along with a 32-year-old woman from Cromer in Norfolk have been charged with wilful obstruction of a highway. They were released on bail to attend Reading Magistrates’ Court on 27 June.
BBC 8th June 2016 read more »
Guardian 9th June 2016 read more »
A group of Plymouth campaigners joined a protest at a nuclear weapons factory – and you can watch the video of what happened below. The Tamarians, the local arm of the Trident Ploughshares group, helped to blockade the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Burghfield, near Reading, on Monday. The action is part of a planned 30-day campaign urging the Government to scrap its plans to renew the Trident defence system and “build peace without weapons”.
Plymouth Herald 8th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
Ahead of the Scottish government’s forthcoming energy strategy review, WWF today called on ministers to set out plans that would secure half of Scotland’s entire energy needs from renewables. “These figures underline the fantastic progress Scotland has made on harnessing renewables, especially to generate electricity,” said WWF Scotland director Lang Banks. “However, with less than 13 per cent of our total energy needs coming from renewable sources, it’s now time to widen our attention on de-carbonising our economy beyond just our power sector. “That’s why the forthcoming review of Scotland’s energy strategy must set a target of meeting at least half of all our energy needs from renewables by 2030. In the same way ministers helped drive forward progress in renewable electricity through targets, setting higher ambition for covering all of our energy needs would help give clarity about the transition and the greater certainty to investors.”
Business Green 8th June 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
ON THE face of it, this humble pint of John Smith’s appears to be nothing out of the ordinary – but behind its frothy top and golden hue, it tells a story of traditional business marking out a new legacy of sustainability. For this is the 30 millionth pint of beer to be “brewed by the sun” in Yorkshire, at Heineken’s solar powered brewery in Tadcaster – the biggest in the UK. In 2014, the company invested £1m in 4,000 solar panels that were placed on the rooftops of the brewery and bottling plant, which has been in the North Yorkshire town since 1178.
Yorkshire Post 3rd June 2016 read more »
As the world hits ever-increasing records for heat and CO2 concentrations, sometimes it’s good to look at the bright side. In May, for the first time ever, solar produced more electricity than coal in the United Kingdom. During last month, coal generation fell to zero on several days — possibly the first time that has happened since the country introduced widespread electrification in the late 1800s, according to analysis from Carbon Brief, a U.K.-based energy tracker.
Climate Progress 8th June 2016 read more »
Scottish homes equipped with solar panels received enough energy from the sun in May to meet all of their electricity needs, a study suggests. The analysis, produced by WWF Scotland and taken from data compiled by WeatherEnergy, is based on Met Office figures which show Scotland enjoyed an average of 211 hours of sunshine last month, more than a quarter more than May averages and regarded as an “anomaly” from long-term trends. To study suggests to date, more than 40,000 homes and 850 business premises currently have solar PV arrays fitted. The study estimates homes fitted with solar panels in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness would have generated more than 100 per cent of their electricity or hot water needs in May, based on average annual consumption rates of 4,435 kWh.
Daily Record 8th June 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 8th June 2016 read more »
LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts. At the peak at about 5.30 on a December evening lighting uses about 15GW (gigawatts / billion watts) out of total UK demand of approximately 52GW. This is an almost unbelievable 29% of our need for electricity, met at the precise moment that future blackouts are most likely. And there’s a simple way to cut that peak electricity demand – making our lighting more efficient by a mass switch to high efficency LED lightbulbs. If all lights across the country were switched to LEDs my calculations (carried out under a project for Greenpeace UK) suggest that the need for electricity to provide improved lighting would fall by about 8GW, a saving of about 15% of all power consumption. As part of my work for Greenpeace, I located 100 case histories of switches from other types of lights to LEDs in industry, commerce and public sector. On average, replacing less efficient bulbs saved two thirds of the electricity bill. These studies were usually written up by companies with an interest in selling more LED bulbs, but show a very consistent pattern across factories, shops, schools, sports clubs and offices. In most places, lighting quality was improved substantially. In some locations electricity costs were reduced because LEDs produce less waste heat and therefore cut the need for air conditioning in places such as hotels and large office buildings. Even a much more restricted national campaign that just focused on domestic houses would have a dramatic impact. If we switched the lights in the parts of the house that are in use in early evening – essentially the kitchen and living areas – we would reduce home demand by more than 50%. Importantly, these rooms are the places where we now often use halogen downlighter bulbs, the most inefficient lights currently on the market. A standard halogen GU10 bulb uses 50W of power. The LED equivalent does the same job with just 5W.
Ecologist 8th June 2016 http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2987760/the_urgent_case_for_an_mass_switch_to_led_lighting.html
Scottish Power has set up a residential energy-storage pilot project with Moixa Technology using a ‘smart-battery’ system to help consumers to save money and use more of the energy they generate. Smart batteries are home storage units that enable customers to save money through accessing smart tariffs, store excess solar energy for use during peak hours or share batteries with the grid for a range of network saving benefits. The project could also demonstrate how storage technology could address the challenges facing the National Grid overcome the problem of intermittent electricity generation from solar and wind power. In pilots with major energy industry partners such as British Gas, SSE, Good Energy, the government (DECC) and direct customer sales, Moixa has deployed 1-MWh of its British-manufactured Maslow smart battery system, deployed across 500 sites, combined with solar panels. These smart batteries can be aggregated to provide a range of services and income, using the patented GridShare battery software platform. Bill Rumble, director at installers BillSaveUK said: “The British renewables industry has weathered some stormy times of late, but as this pilot with Moixa and Scottish Power is demonstrating, the successful installation of smart batteries presents a viable route forward and potentially the start of a new era for domestic power generation.”
Scottish Energy News 9th June 2016 read more »
Energy companies are pouring unprecedented sums of money into batteries and other power storage systems long deemed a green pipe dream, in a move experts said would transform the face of the UK’s electricity industry. “It’s potentially very disruptive,” said Hugh McNeal, the new chief executive of the wind industry’s main trade body, RenewableUK, adding that 55 of the group’s 420 members were now investing “millions of pounds” in energy storage. If wind farms can store electricity it will help solve their “key challenge” of not working on windless days, Mr McNeal told the FT. “It might mean we need less of other things”, such as gas and nuclear power, he added. Power storage has long been a holy grail for renewable energy advocates and climate change campaigners because it would help wind and solar farms match conventional, but more polluting gas and coal-fired power stations that can pump out electricity at will. The relatively high cost of batteries has put this goal beyond reach but with prices more than halving in the past six years, growing numbers of companies are starting to sell storage systems, notably in the US and Germany. The UK lags behind those countries but the past 12 months has seen a surge in companies testing the market.
FT 8th June 2016 read more »
A sharp slowdown in China’s economy, increasing use of wind and solar power and the collapse in the prices of oil and natural gas triggered an unprecedented fall in global coal consumption last year, according to BP. Spencer Dale, the company’s chief economist and a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, described 2015 as “an annus horribilis for coal”, with its global consumption and production numbers suffering their biggest declines on record. Mr Dale said that global coal consumption had fallen by 1.8 per cent in 2015 to just over 3.8 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, well below the ten-year average growth rate of 2.1 per cent. “It’s the biggest fall in the consumption and production of coal on record,” he said at the launch of BP’s annual statistical review of world energy. “I would be surprised if one can think of anoth er period when it has declined so much.” BP’s records stretch back to 1980.
Times 9th June 2016 read more »
FT 8th June 2016 read more »