UK backs £315m renewable energy projects Guardian, Fiona Harvey, 27 Feb 15, More than a dozen windfarms and five solar farms are among first projects to receive financial support under contracts for difference More than a dozen new onshore wind farms are to receive financial backing through the coalition government’s reformed renewable incentive scheme, along with two offshore wind projects and five solar farms.
The contracts for the new renewable energy projects amount to more than £315m in total, spread across five renewable technologies, and taken together should produce more than 2GW of new generation capacity, enough to power 1.4m homes.
But green campaigners and parts of the renewable energy industry were disappointed by the auction process used to award the contracts, arguing that some technologies and projects had lost out in the reforms……..
all the forms of renewables represented, apart from energy from waste, came in at substantially less than the strike price.
This was in marked contrast to the strike price for nuclear power, which will result in one nuclear reactor being built – at Hinckley in Somerset, by the French state-backed utility EDF – for £80bn calculated on the strike price alone. Solar power, which has seen costs plummet as worldwide use of panels has risen, settled for 58% lower, with offshore wind 18% and onshore wind 17% under their respective strike prices…….
In response to the first Contracts for Difference auctions for renewables, Greenpeace Chief Scientist Dr Doug Parr said: “Today’s announcements show renewables’ costs are plummeting, and will mount a growing challenge to conventional sources of power in delivering energy security for the UK.
“Those who say we should tackle climate change but are opposed to wind and solar farms need to explain how they plan to cut carbon emissions whilst keeping consumer bills as low as possible.
“We’ve known onshore wind is much cheaper than nuclear for a while, but now we learn that solar power is already cheaper than new gas generation in some cases. It makes you wonder what could have been achieved with less party-political manoeuvring and more stable Government support for the clean technologies already being embraced by the world’s largest economies.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/26/uk-backs-315m-renewable-energy-projects
Former Japanese PM warns against Welsh nuclear site renewal By Daily Wales correspondent, 25 Feb 15
The former Prime Minister of Japan has used a visit to Wales to urge the UK Government to scrap its commitment to nuclear energy. He is using the tour to send out a message to the UK Government that the safety risks posed by nuclear energy are simply not worth taking.
“What occurred in Fukushima in 2011 was caused by humans, not a natural disaster. It is clear to me that what caused this catastrophe was our commitment to an unsafe and expensive technology that is not compatible with life on this planet.
“The only safe option when it comes to nuclear power is to abandon your plans for nuclear power. It simply is not worth the risk………
Mr Kan’s visit to Wales has been supported by Welsh anti-nuclear campaign group, People Against Wylfa B (PAWB), Friends of the Earth Cymru, CND Cymru and Welsh language campaign group, Cymdeithas yr Iaith.
The prince was speaking to health professionals, health ministers and senior civil servants about “putting health at the centre of the climate change debate”.
He said climate change was a challenge of “astonishing complexity” and urged health practitioners to be bolder about highlighting its effects on well-being.
He said: “I hardly need to tell you we are faced, I fear, as far as the problem of human-induced climate change is concerned, with a challenge of astonishing complexity.
“The fact of climate change is now accepted by every major scientific body in the whole world.
“The gravity and immediacy of the threat it poses to us and our children and grandchildren is also accepted by constituencies that can scarcely be accused of being part of some half-baked conspiracy dreamt up by extreme environmentalists intent on undermining capitalism.
“These constituencies include the UN, the World Bank; The Pentagon and the UK Ministry of Defence, the CIA, NSA. … and, I’m happy to say, nurses and doctors.”
The prince added: “Your message isn’t just of alarm, but of hope.
“Actions which are good for the planet are also good for human health……….. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/26/planet-earth-is-a-sick-patient-due-to-climate-change-says-prince-charles
UK nuclear sites warned over drone terror attack, By CAROLINE WHEELER Sunday Express 22 Feb 15
BRITAIN’S nuclear plants are at risk from a terrorist strike by unmanned drone aircraft, writes Caroline Wheeler.Such an attack could kill tens of thousands of people, a Government adviser has warned. But authorities are “burying their heads in the sand,” according to John Large.
His call for an urgent security overhaul comes as fi gures showed nuclear power plants suffered 37 security breaches last year – the highest numberalso been breached a dozen times since 2011, including by at least one drone.
Islamic State terrorists have already recruited chemical weapons specialists and counterterrorism experts say they are intent on building a “dirty bomb”.
Last night Mr Large, a nuclear engineer who has carried out work for Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority, demanded a major exercise to test the resilience of the nation’s power stations against acts of terrorism.
Mr Large, who has advised the French government after a growing number of mysterious unmanned flights over that country’s nuclear plants, said drones also pose a risk to the UK’s 16 operational reactors.“On application to UK nuclear power plants, I believe that much the same security and vulnerability issues apply,” he told the Sunday Express.
“The accessibility of the UK plants to small UAV’s [unmanned airborne vehicles] is relatively unimpeded.”
Asked whether a security review was needed in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Denmark and France, Mr Large said: “Absolutely yes.” Too much focus is placed on the risk assessment surrounding accidents at nuclear power stations, rather than terrorist threats, Mr Large said.
The consequences of the attack scenarios he examined would range from one casualty to tens of thousands of deaths, he added.
The last nuclear power plant built in the UK was completed in the 1990s but the Government is planning a new generation of reactors, starting with Hinkley Point C in Somerset. Last night Tory MP Mark Pritchard, a member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, said Mr Large’s recommendations would be taken “very seriously”…….http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/559718/Nclear-plants-are-at-risk-from-a-terrorist-strike-by-unmanned-drones
Gas use in the UK fell by more than a fifth from 2005 to 2012, as energy efficiency increased across the economy and green energy took up more of the burden.
Under European Union targets, the UK must produce 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, and is one of a small number of big member states to be judged on track to meet all of its energy and climate commitments by the European environment agency.
This was confirmed on Thursday by the Office for National Statistics, which found that 15% of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2013. This puts the UK about halfway towards its commitments, because the overall energy target includes transport and heating, as well as electricity generation. For the UK to meet its EU goals, electricity generation from renewable sources is likely to have to increase to above 30% by 2020……..
The rise in renewables while gas use fell also highlights the competition that clean energy represents to gas. Gas companies have been keen to emphasise the fuel as a “greener” alternative to coal – it burns more cleanly, producing much less carbon dioxide and none of some other pollutants associated with coal – and as a “transition” fuel that can help the move to a low-carbon economy alongside the use of renewable.
However, many in the green sector are concerned that investment in renewable alternatives could suffer if gas is prioritised. Many of Europe’s biggest players in renewable energy are power companies that still generate large amounts of their output from fossil fuels.
Renewable UK, the trade association for the wind industry, said renewable power generators were “doing their bit” towards the UK’s targets, but that fossil fuel use in transport and heating remained relatively high. For renewables to cut transport emissions too, through electric cars, the next government needs to show support for wind power, they said…….
Gordon Edge, Renewable UK’s director of policy said: “Onshore and offshore wind farms have been growing rapidly and are now generating more than half of our clean electricity. The question is whether the UK will make fast enough progress on renewable heat and renewable transport as well – that’s looking less certain. If there’s a shortfall in those areas, we’ll need to generate more renewable electricity to hit the target.
“The cheapest way to do this would be to install more onshore wind, which is why it’s utterly baffling that the Conservative party is proposing to cap the development of onshore wind if they’re elected in May.”………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/20/uk-on-track-to-meet-its-renewable-energy-targets
Naoto Kan was at the helm of his country’s Government at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the largest incident of its kind since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Mr Kan stepped down from office in the wake of the meltdown and has become a staunch anti-nuclear campaigner.
Mr Kan will arrive in Wales from Paris next Wednesday, where he will visit the Senedd and meet in the Pierhead Building with National Assembly Members and other invited guests.
He will then travel north to Anglesey on Thursday, where he will give a talk at the gates of Wylfa nuclear station at 8.45am to urge the public to oppose the development plant.
Mr Kan will then head to the Anglesey Council offices in Llangefni at 11am to address councillors in private, before concluding his trip at 1pm, where he will hold a public meeting at Carreg Brân Hotel, Llanfairpwll.
An Isle of Anglesey County Council spokesperson said: “Following a request on behalf of the Green Cross, Mr Kan will be addressing members of the Council.
“During the meeting we will also be informing him about our Energy Island Programme and its aims.”
UK to phase out coal as Australia phases out renewable energy, Business Spectator TRISTAN EDIS 16 FEB, The leaders of the UK’s three main political parties – Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – have chosen to put efforts to address climate change above politics.
Prime Minister David Cameron from the Tories, Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Deputy PM and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg have put out a joint statement – which echoes comments by US President Barack Obama – declaring that climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world. According to the statement they argue climate change is not only a threat to the environment but, also, “national and global security, to poverty eradication and economic prosperity”.
The agreement is a major step forward because, while it might be vague on policy detail, it sets out some long-term principles that are critical to support investor confidence in low carbon energy infrastructure involving billion-dollar price tags and with lifetimes of several decades. It makes a stark contrast with Australia where investors (other than mums and dads buying solar systems) have abandoned power generation as a result of Tony Abbott tearing up the political consensus that had been achieved on pricing carbon and the Renewable Energy Target.
The agreement sets out that, irrespective of who wins the UK election in May, all three parties agree to:
- Phase out the use of coal in power generation (unless emissions are captured and stored) while accelerating the development of an energy efficient, low carbon economy;
- Continue the practice as set out under the UK’s Climate Change Act of having an independent institution (the Climate Change Committee) plan out carbon pollution budget constraints between now and 2050 with the aim of achieving an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
- Seek a legally binding international agreement to limit temperature rise below 2 degrees………..Follow @TristanEdis https://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/2/16/policy-politics/uk-phase-out-coal-australia-phases-out-renewable-energy
Litvinenko inquiry: Highest radiation levels in suspect’s hotel, BBC News, 17 Feb 15 The highest level of radiation found during the investigation into Alexander Litvinenko’s death was recorded in a hotel stayed in by one of his suspected killers, an inquiry has heard.
Andrei Lugovoi stayed alone at London’s Sheraton Park Lane hotel from 25 to 28 October 2006. Mr Litvinenko died the following month.
Mr Lugovoi remains in Russia with Dmitri Kovtun, who is also a suspect.
The pair have always denied poisoning the ex-KGB officer with polonium-210.
Det Insp Craig Mascall told the public inquiry into Mr Litvinenko’s death that traces of radioactivity were found throughout the Sheraton, including on towels, in the laundry chutes and in Mr Lugovoi’s room.
The highest levels in the whole investigation were found on the towels, Mr Mascall told the London hearing……..
The Litvinenko case23 Nov 2006 – Mr Litvinenko dies three weeks after having tea with former agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun in London
24 Nov 2006 – His death is attributed to polonium-210
22 May 2007 – Britain’s director of public prosecutions decides Mr Lugovoi should be charged with the murder of Mr Litvinenko
31 May 2007 – Mr Lugovoi denies any involvement in his death but says Mr Litvinenko was a British spy
5 Jul 2007 – Russia officially refuses to extradite Mr Lugovoi, saying its constitution does not allow it
May-June 2013 – Inquest into Mr Litvinenko’s death delayed as coroner decides a public inquiry would be preferable, as it would be able to hear some evidence in secret
July 2013 – Ministers rule out public inquiry
Jan 2014 – Marina Litvinenko in High Court fight to force a public inquiry
11 Feb 2014 – High Court says the Home Office had been wrong to rule out an inquiry before the outcome of an inquest
July 2014 – Public inquiry announced by Home Office http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31507959
One way to decrease this demand is to use household or community-owned renewables instead of commercial energy plants for power.
At the moment, this is rare in Britain, because the cheap bank loans which could fund renewable energy aren’t made available to individuals or community groups (while fossil fuel investors have no problem getting hold of them).
Community projects often cost under $15 million, and ‘at that level, banks aren’t really interested,’ explains Emma Bridge, chief executive of community generator association, Community Energy England (CEE).
Crowd-sourcing and community funding schemes such as Trillion Fund can pay for some renewables, but when it comes to bigger renewable projects, current laws don’t give communities much in the way of rights to buy and profit from them.
Renewables face not only a funding problem, but a legal problem too, especially in places where laws don’t allow members of the public to buy shares in private power plants.
The ‘right to invest’ clause in the most recent version of the Infrastructure Bill (currently working its way through parliament) only lets the public ask for 5-per-cent ownership on large wind-turbine projects, even when they are in public backyards.
Lord Cameron of Dillington’s remark when debating the bill was that 10-per-cent public wind-turbine ownership would let members of the activist public stop wind-turbine construction.
In Denmark, where there is currently a fracking ban in place, the opposite is true. Most of Denmark’s wind-power energy source is community-owned and wind power provides most of the country’s power on some days.
Profits from wind-energy bills go towards local community funds, thanks to a law requiring up to 20-per-cent public ownership of wind turbines.
‘For a long time, Britain has been one of the worst-performing countries in Europe when it comes to utilizing renewable energy,’ says Paul Monaghan, sustainability advisor at Co-operative Energy.
The British consumer-managed energy supplier thinks 25 per cent should be the minimum amount of public ownership offered for larger renewable power projects.
Instead, the government will soon remove British landowners’ right to prevent frackers from trespassing beneath homes.
Allowing more public ownership of renewables can be seen as a way of safeguarding public access to electricity and water in the face of fracking and dwindling traditional oil and gas reserves. http://newint.org/blog/2015/02/13/buy-renewables/#sthash.0uTfDW2S.dpuf
Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun flew from Moscow to London on 16 October 2006. They checked into the Best Western hotel on Shaftesbury Avenue, the inquiry heard. They are accused of trying to poison Litvinenko for the first time later that day – and of succeeding two weeks later when they slipped radioactive polonium into his tea.
Giving evidence, the hotel’s manager, Goran Krgo, said he spotted Lugovoi and Kovtun the moment they arrived. “I remember these guests quite vividly,” he told the inquiry on Wednesday. Asked to elaborate, he said: “We found them to be quite comical on account of how they were dressed and the excessive jewellery they were wearing.”……
Det Insp Craig Mascall of the Metropolitan police said forensic experts later found large quantities of polonium in both Lugovoi and Kovtun’s hotel rooms. In Lugovoi’s room, 107, the highest reading came from the bathroom plughole, leading to the suspicion he may have thrown the polonium away. Polonium was found on a chair and coat-hanger in Kovtun’s room, 308, on a chair and coat-hanger.
The inquiry was told that there was no indication Litvinenko had been contaminated before his meeting with Lugovoi and Kovtun. The three men went for a meal at the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly, where polonium was also detected. Litvinenko vomited once that evening but survived this first botched assassination attempt, the inquiry heard.
More polonium was found in Pescatori, an Italian restaurant where Lugovoi and Kovtun ate that evening, clocking up a bill of £214.20. They had dinner with Alexander Shadrin, a Russian emigre……..
The following morning, Lugovoi and Kovtun left their hotel a day early and checked into the Parkes Hotel in Knightsbridge. Polonium was found in their new rooms.
The inquiry also heard that the Russian authorities deliberately blocked an attempt by British experts to examine the two aircraft used by Lugovoi and Kovtun to fly to and from London on 16 and 18 October 2006. ………http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/11/litvinenko-killers-radiation-trail-london-inquiry
Radiation detectors could be installed across London to protect the capital from a dirty bomb attack, Irish Independent 12 Feb 15 Radiation detectors could be installed across London to protect the capital from a dirty bomb attack, Boris Johnson has said. Supermarket-style self check-out technology could also be used to identify suspicious packages to bolster safety in the city, he suggested
The proposals have been inspired by the “extraordinary stuff” that protects New York, Mr Johnson said after talks with the US city’s Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton.
“I was thinking should we have those kinds of systems?”
Mr Bratton gave the London Mayor a tour of New York City’s Police Department domain awareness system, which brings together radiation detection, 8,000 surveillance cameras and a licence plate recognition system.
Geiger counter-style devices are spread across buildings in the city as well as being carried by police officers and installed in helicopters…….. Mr Johnson said he would talk to London police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to assess the need for such a move…….http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/radiation-detectors-could-be-installed-across-london-to-protect-the-capital-from-a-dirty-bomb-attack-30985192.html
Litvinenko inquiry: Russians’ associate ‘had mystery illness’ BBC News 12 Feb 15 A retired British army officer had a “mystery illness” after meeting with two men suspected of poisoning ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210, an inquiry has heard.
Tim Reilly, a director at security firm Erinys, suffered migraines and vomiting after meeting Russians Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun with Mr Litvinenko.
He said Mr Lugovoi called him after Mr Litvinenko’s death to deny involvement.
“Heaving” radiation levels were later found in the London firm’s boardroom.
Mr Litvinenko, a former Russian security service officer who became a vocal critic of the Kremlin and fled to Britain, died of radiation poisoning after drinking tea laced with polonium at a Mayfair hotel in November 2006.
The barrister representing Mr Litvinenko’s family claims he was murdered for trying to “expose the corruption” at the heart of Vladimir Putin’s “mafia state”.
The public inquiry into his death has heard that Mr Litvinenko have been poisoned twice – with one occasion around the time of the security company meeting in October of 2006.
Mr Reilly told the hearing he became “very ill” around the time of the meeting…….Atomic weapons experts later found “heaving” levels of radioactive contamination in the boardroom at Erinys, leading to the offices being closed for four months, the court heard………http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31444820
Austria Says It Won’t Be Intimidated by U.K. in Nuclear Dispute, Bloomberg, Jonathan Tirone, 12 Feb 15– Austria said it won’t be cowed by alleged British threats over plans by the government in Vienna to contest state subsidies for a new nuclear-power plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England.
“We won’t let ourselves be intimidated,” Austrian Environment Minister Andrae Rupprechter said late Wednesday on Twitter. “No subsidies for atomic power.”
Tensions between Austria and the U.K. flared this week over the $26 billion European Commission-approved subsidy for Hinkley Point. British officials allegedly threatened Austria with retaliation if it appeals the subsidies, according to Austrian diplomatic cables leaked this week in Vienna.
“The U.K. will take every future opportunity to sue Austria in areas that harm or that have strong domestic political implications,” read the cable, written by Austria’s embassy in London, a copy of which was published by the newspaper Kronen Zeitung. “The U.K. has already begun to elaborate countermeasures.”………. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-12/austria-says-it-won-t-be-intimidated-by-u-k-in-nuclear-dispute
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