Calls for variable energy tariffs to be cut to reduce the number of people overpaying for gas and electricity have been rejected by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, on competition grounds. The independent supplier First Utility has called for variable tariffs to be scrapped to help the 70 per cent of customers of the “Big Six” suppliers overpaying by up to £235 per year. But Mr Davey told The Independent: “Banning variable tariffs would be a major intervention in the market. To do that you would need evidence that it was the right solution. There could be other solutions that promote competition.”
Independent 8th Mar 2015 read more »
Machine Teanslation: Back to the beginning of the case: the end of 2012, the Observatory reveals nuclear communicated by a curious payment added at the last minute in Niger the national budget under discussion in the National Assembly of this country … assumed to be independent since 1960 after was colonized by France. This payment of € 35 million , dubbed “the gift of Areva” by Niger Finance Minister Gilles Baillet is performed at the same time the Niger attempts to renegotiate the price (ridiculous) which provides the Areva uranium mined in the desert north of the country, near the town of Arlit. For the Observatory of nuclear power, this is as ” a maneuver involving corruption, perhaps legally, certainly morally . ” In short: the payment legal or not (its legality is challenged by the parliamentary opposition Niger), it has in any case intended to dissuade Mr. Issoufou to require a real increase in the price of uranium.
Mediapart 3rd March 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
With nowhere to put it, refuse and debris contaminated with radioactive materials continue to pile up at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant here. A total of 258,300 cubic meters of radioactive debris was produced from the March 2011 accident to the end of this January in the plant, where decommissioning work is under way. The amount is equivalent to the capacity of about 650 25-meter-long swimming pools.
Asahi Shimbun 8th Mar 2015 read more »
The government plans to launch a campaign in major cities to promote the need for permanent disposal facilities for high-level nuclear waste from power plants, sources close to the matter said Saturday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is looking to restart nuclear plants shut after the Fukushima disaster, and has faced criticism over promoting nuclear power without resolving where the waste will ultimately be disposed.
Japan Times 8th Mar 2015 read more »
Thousands of demonstrators surrounded Japan’s parliament building on Sunday to protest against the government’s attempt to restart some of the country’s nuclear plants. The rally comes ahead of commemorations to mark four years since the March 2011 tsunami which triggered the Fukushima nuclear accident. Four reactors owned by two utilities have cleared regulatory safety checks which means they could potentially end more than a year without atomic power in Japan, the first such spell in four decades the nation has been using nuclear energy.
Euro News 9th Mar 2015 read more »
Reuters 8th Mar 2015 read more »
FOR ALL the clouds of controversy that perpetually swirl around him, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu possesses two great qualities that wholly elude the timid and colourless European leaders I am fated to spend so much of my time writing about: he has a gambler’s heart and he is eloquent. Both these admirable traits were on full display last week when, with everything to play for, he spoke before the US Congress at the behest of Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, and very much not at the invitation of Democratic President Barack Obama. Facing a 17 March neck-and-neck parliamentary election against Labor leader Isaac Herzog at home, and with an imminent US-Iranian nuclear deal fundamentally threatening his policies abroad, Netanyahu gave a riveting speech under the greatest of pressure. His two overarching goals were to convince an Israeli electorate weary of his predominance that he is still the indispensable man in terms of Israel’s vital ties with US Congress. His second goal was to motivate Congress to do everything in its power to scupper the putative accord over Iran’s nuclear programme, as Netanyahu passionately believes it will ultimately lead to a common calamity in the region for both the US and Israel.
City AM 9th Mar 2015 read more »
CND has slammed the spiralling costs and ‘catastrophic’ errors during construction of the Ministry of Defence’s flagship nuclear weapons facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Project Pegasus, a £634m project which will manufacture enriched uranium components for the UK’s nuclear warheads, is ‘in limbo’ after a catalogue of failings in the planning and construction stages.
CND 8th Mar 2015 read more »
Son of Trident is a £100billion conspiracy against common sense between the Tory and Labour leaderships. Blowing a fortune on updating a Cold War weapon of mass destruction is a colossal waste of precious money. The submarine-launched missiles will never deter a jihadi enemy seeking martyrdom and the embrace of 72 virgins. Nor Russia’s new Tsar, Vlad the Impaler. The existing Trident bombs failed to stop Putin grabbing bits of Ukraine and he knows a PM would never press the button to obliterate humankind.
Mirror 8th Mar 2015 read more »
SHADOW justice secretary Sadiq Khan confirmed the Labour party’s election manifesto will contain a commitment to renewing the nuclear deterrent.
Daily Record 8th Mar 2015 read more »
The dust has now settled on the government’s announcement on which technologies and companies have won low carbon energy contracts in the new Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction for renewable energy. Industry opinion seems to be mixed on the initial success of the auction, and its role in securing a stable and consistent framework for future investment in the UK industry. CfDs are the new support mechanism for nuclear, carbon capture and storage and renewable energy introduced by the government to replace the main support for large-scale renewables, the Renewables Obligation (RO). The auction round has led to more than £315 million of new contracts being offered to five renewable technologies, including established technologies such as onshore wind and solar, and also less established ones such as offshore wind. In total, more than two gigawatts of new capacity could be built, and according to the Department of Energy & Climate Change, this will cost Â£110m a year less than it would have without competition. It is encouraging 11 of 27 renewables projects to receive a CfD will be in Scotland. The Scottish Government has been quick to point out that onshore wind is now cheaper than new nuclear, and when these 11 projects are constructed, it is anticipated they could generate enough energy to power the equivalent of more than 600,000 homes in Scotland. However, despite a recent increase to the budget for projects bidding for the CfDs, there is still concern that the funding available, particularly for future rounds, is insufficient to support the capacity required to meet the UK’s 2020 targets or achieve energy security. This is exemplified by the fact that the budget only met the requirements of two offshore projects, and with offshore developers said to be spending in the region of £15-£20m on their projects to simply get to the auction participation stage, a funding pot that does not provide the necessary levels of certainty is an unattractive and risky proposition. In addition, some developers in the solar industry have also found the results disappointing with solar having to compete for CfDs with technologies that have been established for over a decade, such as onshore wind.
Scotsman 9th Mar 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
I have never given much credence to the idea that an international agreement on climate change capable of establishing a global carbon price was likely to be reached – either in Paris this December or anywhere else – anytime soon. If Europe, which is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to climate policy, can’t set its own carbon price, what hope is there that the US, India and all the others will? As a result I’ve never taken seriously the view that a vast amount of energy investment by the oil and gas companies will be left stranded as carbon-generating fuels are priced out of the market. The argument has always felt like wishful thinking. If everyone obeyed the Ten Commandments there would be no prisons and the police forces of the world would be redundant. But, and it is a very important qualification, change doesn’t come just through legislation and international t reaties. Technology is arguably much more important and there is growing evidence that some fundamental changes are coming that will over time put a question mark over investments in the old energy systems. Wood Mackenzie, a consulting firm with an impressive track record, recently published a report that said that within 5 years solar would be fully competitive with traditional sources of energy in 19 states in the US. Within a decade the number of states will double. “Fully competitive” means without subsidies. The detail matters – the US is a low cost energy market compared with most of the rest of the world. To be competitive there against coal and gas – without subsidies and without any carbon price – is quite something. If this forecast is correct (and WoodMac does not tend to exaggerate or hype up its analysis), this is advance notice of a revolutionary development. The revolution might start in the US but if grid parity (the jargon term for competitiveness) can be achieved there, the impact will spread: first across the US because the low-cost solar will enter the grid, then internationally as others take up the technology. As the author of the report Prajit Ghosh, says, the collapse of solar module prices has enabled solar to move from being a niche supplier to being a major regional competitor to both conventional and other renewable technologies and a potential disruptor of the whole power industry.
FT 8th Mar 2015 read more »
Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels. If demand for residential solar continued to soar, traditional utilities could soon face serious problems, from “declining retail sales” and a “loss of customers” to “potential obsolescence,” according to a presentation prepared for the group. “Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges,” it said.
Washington Post 7th Mar 2015 read more »
A fund to support research into exploring Scotland’s geothermal capacity to meet the energy needs of local communities is launched today by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing following a recommendation for this by the government’s geothermal expert energy group. Set up last year, the Fife Geothermal consortium group includes St. Andrews University, the British Geological Survey, Town Rock Energy, Cluff Geothermal and GT Energy. Iain Todd, Chairman, Fife Geothermal, said: “This is an extremely encouraging step forward for a sector that offers significant potential for helping Scotland to achieve its sustainable energy ambitions, but in which there has been little commercial development to date. “Fife is already recognised as having significant geothermal resources – both in terms of its geology and using hot water from former mine workings.”
Scottish Energy News 9th Mar 2015 read more »
Shrinking incentives are threatening the future of smaller wind turbine projects across the country, according to CKD Galbraith, an independent property consultancy. The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) is the main subsidy support mechanism for wind turbines under 5MW. The ‘generation tariff’ rates for 2015-16 under the FIT are based on the level of deployment in 2014. Last year this exceeded the maximum level for wind power, resulting in a 20% degression of the generation tariff with effect from 1 April 2015. Although wind turbines generate other sources of income, the generation tariff constitutes the majority of the subsidy support. Some projects missed their pre-accreditation deadline for commissioning in 2014 and will receive a lower subsidy rate, costing millions of pounds in lost revenue.
Scottish Energy News 9th Mar 2015 read more »
Renewables – wind
Plans to replace one of Britain’s oldest wind farms with new turbines almost three times as tall will have a “devastating” effect on the Lake District, campaigners have warned. The 12 turbines of the existing Kirkby Moor wind farm, which was built in 1993, are each 139 feet tall and stand less than a mile outside the southern boundary of the National Park. Energy company RWE Innogy is seeking planning permission to replace them with six new turbines, each up to 377 feet tall, which it says could together generate up to five times as much power as the existing wind farm. Industry experts forecast such attempts to “repower” existing wind farm sites will become far more common in coming years, as old planning consents expire and developers seek to cash in on new larger machines which are much more profitable.
Telegraph 8th Mar 2015 read more »
UK regulator Ofgem is consulting on proposals to approve the need for three new electricity interconnectors. These could be built by 2020 and provide around 3.4GW of electricity capacity – almost doubling current interconnector capacity between the UK and the EU. Two of the interconnectors (FAB Link and IFA2) will connect GB’s electricity system with France and one (Viking Link) with Denmark. More electricity interconnection can lower GB consumer bills by creating access to cheaper generation and further boost Britain’s energy supply. These three interconnectors are estimated to provide around £8 billion of benefits to GB consumers over 25 years.
Scottish Energy News 9th Mar 2015 read more »
Michael Meacher: Listening to Osborne waxing exuberant over Britain’s energy future because of his obsession with a fracking revolution in the UK to match that in the US, you might be excused for thinking that he had a trump electoral card. Any such idea is nonsense, for several reasons. The predicted fracking deposits in this country are only a fraction of those in the US and, an equal no-go area for Osborne, are largely located in traditional Tory areas where the public resistance has already shown itself to be formidable. But there is another critical factor which rules out fracking for a long time ahead, maybe decades. It is now utterly uneconomic.
Michael Meacher 8th Mar 2015 read more »
In this extract taken from the Introduction to This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, the author calls the climate crisis a civilisational wake-up call to alter our economy, our lifestyles, now – before they get changed for us. we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe – and would benefit the vast majority – are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets. That problem might not have been insurmountable had it presented itself at another point in our history. But it is our great collective misfortune that the scientific community made its decisive diagnosis of the climate threat at the precise moment when those elites were enjoying more unfettered political, cultural, and intellectual power than at any point since the 1920s.
Guardian 8th Mar 2015 read more »