nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Energy sector impacted by Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union

IPPR 16th Aug 2017, The implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union are
particularly significant for the energy sector. This uncertainty
surrounding Brexit negotiations in turn raises specific regional concerns.
The North as a whole boasts 48 per cent of the UK’s renewable power,
including 71 per cent of England’s biomass generation, 41 per cent of UK
wind power and 40 per cent of UK installed nuclear capacity. Concerns over
the retention of mechanisms and legislation that support the energy sector
are therefore particularly pressing for businesses and other energy
stakeholders in the North.
https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/impact-of-brexit-on-energy-in-the-north

August 18, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

EDF offers British homeowners a solar system – installed free, but with conditions

Guardian 12th Aug 2017, If you want solar photovoltaic panels on your home but don’t have the money for them, EDF Energy is offering to install a free system – complete with
storage batteries – if you agree to buy the subsidised power it generates
for 20 years.

The French-owned energy giant is looking for 100 homes to
trial its Sunplug scheme, which is being offered in conjunction with
established solar supplier Lightsource. To sign up you need to have a
large, unshaded south-facing roof at a pitch of about 45 degrees. If you
are accepted, the company will install the largest solar panel system the
roof can take – a 16-panel setup will generate 4kW – plus an LG storage
battery that lets you use the power that’s generated during the day in the
evening.

In return, EDF gets to keep the feed-in tariff paid by the
government, which is worth about £150 a year. It also keeps the export
tariff – around £50 a year. The householder is contractually bound to
pay Sunplug 9.9p per kilowatt hour for each unit of electricity they use
from the panels and battery.

This is a little cheaper than what you would pay if you bought green electricity from the grid. For example, green
supplier Good Energy charges 15.5p, with a standing charge averaging 26p a
day. The advantage could come in future years as the price demanded by
Sunplug can only rise by the retail prices index or 2.5% – whichever is
lower.

If the price of grid electricity rises substantially over the next
20 years, users will make considerable savings. However, if they don’t,
some users will be left wondering why they bothered, not least because they
have to have the system inspected each year, which will cost about £80. So
this scheme is likely to appeal to anyone who wants green electricity at
fixed prices over the next two decades.

The other significant benefit comes at the end of the 20-year term, when the householder is given ownership of
the system, which should continue to generate substantial free power. So
what’s the Money verdict? Solar PV systems are still a good investment if
you have the money upfront, the right roof and location, and if you plan to
stay in the house for a long time. The case for the free Sunplug deal is
less clear. To us, it looks too heavily weighted in favour of the company.
If it offered some free electricity each day or other incentives, that
would make the scheme more attractive.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/12/edf-free-solar-panels-buy-power-generated-20-years

August 14, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Big savings for UK homes that install solar and storage technologies

Solar Power Portal 10th Aug 2017, Installing solar and storage technologies into homes could save them as
much as £600 each year on their fuel bills, a new study has found.

The report, released by Swansea University’s Specific Innovation and
Knowledge Centre, claims that an integrated system comprising solar PV roof
installations, battery storage and solar heat collection technology on
south-facing walls could cut energy consumption by more than 60%.

The findings are backed up by a working demonstration project completed on a
school in Swansea. The ‘Active Classroom’, as it has been dubbed, has
generated more energy than it has consumed since receiving the complete
system six months ago.  https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/solar_and_storage_could_save_homes_600_each_year_new_report_finds

August 14, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Grand solar power plan for Tunisia, to connect to the European grid

Daily Planet 9th Aug 2017, A UK-based solar developer has this week applied to the Tunisian government
for authorisation to build a 4.5 gigawatt plant in the country, making it a
solar plant large enough to provide carbon-free electricity to over five
million European homes or over seven million electric vehicles.

TuNur is looking to build the new solar complex in the Tunisian Sahara, supplying
energy to both Tunisia and Europe. Three high voltage submarine cable
systems are planned, allowing for the transport of power to Europe with low
loss.

The first will link Tunisia with Malta, which is already connected to
the European grid, and would reinforce the island’s position as a central
Mediterranean energy hub. The second cable, which would come ashore north
of Rome has been under development for several years and is being evaluated
as a “project of common interest” by the European Community.

The project is the latest in a number of solar projects based in North Africa,
and follows the Noor project in Morocco, which launched in 2016. Noor 1, is
the first section, providing 160 megawatts of a total 580 megawatt
capacity.   https://dailyplanet.climate-kic.org/tunisian-solar-power-plant-power-five-million-homes-europe/

August 12, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

New records on solar power generation in UK -reducing demand on the grid

Solar Power Portal 9th Aug 2017, Soaring generation from the UK’s solar assets sent UK power demand to a
new low last month, according to data compiled by monitoring firm EnAppSys.

The data showed that average half-hourly demand throughout July stood at
26.2GW, courtesy of a significant amount of embedded generation from
sources such as rooftop solar. These sources are seen on the grid as demand
reduction and, as a result, reduce the amount of power that is drawn down
from the grid.

Throughout July the average embedded generation figure stood
at 3GW. Solar and other renewables have already witnessed a number of new
generation records this year, particularly in Spring. Unseasonable weather
in April helped solar to a new landmark generation record.
https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/soaring_solar_sends_uk_power_demand_to_eight_year_low

August 11, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

France’s renewable energy development hampered by red tape

Bloomberg 4th Aug 2017, Some eighty days into Emmanuel Macron’s new job, Europe’s biggest
renewable energy companies are still waiting for the French president to
make good on campaign pledges to boost green power.

To meet French goals of doubling onshore wind and tripling solar solar power by 2023, Macron’s
government still needs to show it can support investments by helping
developers cut through the country’s bureaucratic red tape.

Companies including Italy’sEnel SpA, Germany’s EON SE and Innogy SE remain
reluctant to develop renewables in Europe’s third-biggest economy. “We
regularly check our existing markets and potential new markets on new
project opportunities,” Innogy’s spokeswoman Viola Baumann said in an
email response to questions from Bloomberg. “There’s no new development
and that also applies to France.”  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-04/green-power-still-tied-up-with-red-tape-in-macron-s-france

August 9, 2017 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Ultra-efficient ‘next generation’ offshore wind turbines for Scotland .

Business Green 7th Aug 2017, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has given the green light for
ScottishPower Renewables to develop a 1.2GW offshore wind project 46 miles
off the coast of East Anglia that will use ultra-efficient ‘next
generation’ turbines.

If successful in future Contracts for Difference auctions, ScottishPower Renewables said the project would begin
construction around 2022, with the wind farm up and running by 2025. The
auction is widely tipped to deliver a host of highly competitive projects
that are expected to comfortably exceed the government’s target of offshore
wind farms delivering power at less than £100/MWh.

Some industry insiders have said rapid improvements in turbine technology and project management
should enable low bids that significantly undercut the level of support
offered to new nuclear projects.   https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3015222/green-light-for-next-generation-12gw-east-anglia-offshore-wind-farm

August 9, 2017 Posted by | renewable | Leave a comment

The future of nuclear power is in question: “baseload generation” is no longer necessary

How to manage the implosion of nuclear power, Washington Examiner , 4 Aug 17

 “…..Today, the very future of nuclear power is in question. The electricity market is flashing warning signs that bad times are ahead for the nuclear industry and the U.S. fleet of 100 nuclear power plants.

Westinghouse is bankrupt. Only two new nuclear plants are being built in the U.S., and both are plagued with huge cost overruns. The nuclear industry has been rocked by plant closings and battered by an abundance of cheap natural gas, which has made it difficult for nuclear plants to compete. Since 2014, electricity companies have either closed or announced plans to shut down 14 existing U.S. nuclear plants, and odds are high that at least a dozen more nuclear plants will be shuttered. Among those in jeopardy are all four nuclear plants in New Jersey – PSE&G’s Salem 1 and 2 plants and the Hope Creek plant and Exelon’s Oyster Creek plant.

At a bare minimum, the policy choices ahead are difficult. And for PSE&G, the question is whether New Jersey needs the large amounts of baseload power that nuclear plants provide. Could New Jersey run on natural gas and renewable energy alone?

This may seem like an absurd question, given that nuclear power supplies 44 percent of the state’s electricity. The answer is that low-cost natural gas – which accounts for 46 percent of New Jersey’s electricity – will grow in importance, along with renewables and improvements in energy efficiency. Incredible as it might seem, nuclear power is just no longer needed to maintain grid reliability.

According to a study by the Brattle Group, the term “baseload generation,” which has been synonymous with nuclear power and coal for decades, is no longer useful for the purposes of planning and operating today’s electricity system. Instead, more flexible resources like natural gas and renewables are increasingly needed to cost effectively assist with meeting changing system loads, responding to local requirements and integrating the variable output of solar and wind power.

Despite changing market conditions, some states have approved generous subsidies to keep their financially-stressed nuclear plants afloat. Illinois and New York state have approved a zero-emission nuclear resource program that puts a price on nuclear power’s attributes in meeting carbon reduction goals — though both efforts are being challenged legally by other electricity producers, who say the nuclear credits intrude into federal wholesale markets.

What is indisputable is that the Illinois and New York state measures are in fact subsidies requiring electricity users to pay an additional $700 million annually in higher rates. Several other states – Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut – are considering similar measures. But nuclear power’s future is being questioned and challenged as never before………

Absent the need for baseload power, New Jersey’s PSE&G should prepare for what had once been unthinkable: the early retirement of the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants. Exelon’s Oyster Creek plant, the nation’s oldest operating nuclear plant, is scheduled to be closed by the end of 2019…..

August 5, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, USA | Leave a comment

In remote Asia, solar power is transforming the lives of women

Climate News Network 1st Aug 2017, A solar revolution is transforming the lives of women in the remotest parts of Asia. They no longer have to wait decades to be connected to a power grid but are able today to exploit the huge potential of the abundant sunshine.

In societies where women normally play a subservient role and spend much of their time on menial chores, solar businesses are creating a new breed of female entrepreneur who are bringing electricity to their villages.

In the last two years two schemes designed to encourage women to bring the solar revolution to parts of rural India and Nepal have won international Ashden Awards, which bring the organisations involved
£20,000 (US$26,360) each in prize money and a lot of guidance to improve
and extend their businesses. http://climatenewsnetwork.net/women-take-control-solar-revolution/

August 4, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, social effects, women | Leave a comment

State of California aims for 100% renewable energy by 2045

California Aims to Make Electricity Production in the State 100 Percent Renewable by 2045 http://tribunist.com/news/california-aims-to-make-electricity-production-in-the-state-100-percent-renewable-by-2045/, By Tribunist Staff on August 1, 2017, Even though the White House decided to step out of the Paris Accords, many states are still working to increase their use of clean energy in an effort to fight climate change. While California has already invested in alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro, a new set of bills looks to take it to the next level.

August 4, 2017 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

New energy storage technology – cheaper than lithium-ion batteries

Times 2nd Aug 2017, Google’s parent company Alphabet is turning to salt and antifreeze to
provide energy storage that could be cheaper than lithium-ion batteries.

The technology giant’s secretive X division is working on a way to store
energy from renewable sources that would otherwise be wasted because of the
time mismatch between supply and demand.

The system was designed by Robert Laughlin, a Nobel prize-winning physicist of Stanford University. It takes
in energy in the form of electricity and converts it into hot and cold air,
using a heat pump. These streams heat molten salt and cool the antifreeze
respectively. The process can be reversed to release the energy as the warm
and cold air meet, creating gusts that drive a turbine and feed power back
into the grid.

Scientists had already shown that the technology could store
energy. Alphabet’s engineers have designed a version that works at lower
temperatures, however, which reduces costs and makes it commercially
viable.    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/cheaper-batteries-powered-by-antifreeze-designed-by-google-s-parent-company-alphabet-vpclt3jpn

August 4, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Smart Energy Revolution for Britain

NuClearNewsNo98, August 2017  The Government and Ofgem have published their strategy for a modernised, smart and flexible power system. The 32-page document by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) looks at how a smarter energy system will create opportunities to reduce energy costs, increase productivity and put UK businesses in a leading position to export smart energy technology and services to the rest of the world. The plan aims to facilitate a smarter grid through a series of technical and regulatory changes. (1)

 

A study by Imperial College and the Carbon Trust, which was commissioned by BEIS, estimates that between £17bn and £40bn could be saved by 2050 if technologies such as battery storage and demand side response become more widespread. New rules will make it easier for people to generate their own power with solar panels, store it in batteries and sell it to the National Grid. The rules are due to come into effect over the next year. They will reduce costs for someone who allows their washing machine to be turned on by the internet to maximise use of cheap solar power on a sunny afternoon. And they will even support people who agree to have their freezers switched off for a few minutes to smooth demand at peak times. They’ll also benefit a business that allows its airconditioning to be turned down briefly to help balance a spell of peak energy demand on the National Grid. Thanks to improvements in digital technology, battery storage and renewables, these innovations in flexibility are already under way with millions of people across the UK generating and storing electricity. So instead of predicting peak demand then building power stations to meet it, energy managers will be able to trade in Negawatts – negative electricity. (2)

 

The Government will invest £246m in battery technology that it says will be a key pillar in helping to power its industrial strategy. In its first major move to support the nascent battery revolution, the Government will set up a “battery institute” to award hundreds of millions of pounds to companies on the brink of major research and development breakthroughs. Greg Clarke underlined the importance of “cutting -edge energy plans”, which include battery power and electric, driverless vehicles.

 

The rapidly falling cost of battery power is expected to radically change the way Britain is able to make use of its renewable energy generation, by storing excess wind and solar for when wind speeds slip and sunshine wanes. Battery technology is already ushering in major upheaval for automotive industries and fuel retailers by accelerating the boom in electric vehicles. (3)

 

“You almost need to draw a line under what has come before [with energy markets] and start again” says Nick Boyle, the founder of Europe’s largest solar operator Lightsource. “There is no doubt that batteries completely and utterly metamorphose the market in that they make the uncontrollable controllable. It makes the arguments against renewable energy fall away,”

 

The new energy reality is not simply about consumers taking power from generators, but means the roles of producer and consumer will flip and, in some cases, merge. Lightsource is already pairing solar panels with battery packs to allow customers to effectively become their own energy market. Solar panels create energy which can be used at cheaper rates than electricity from the main grid, or stored in the battery to use later. If the battery and electric vehicle are both charged a Lightsource customer could sell their power back to the grid. By creating a network of households and businesses which can generate power and reduce demand, Lightsource could create a string of virtual low-carbon power plants.

 

“We’ve always said that we would like to equip a million homes with solar panels and batteries. If you use a 4kW panel that would be 4GW of capacity,” says Boyle. This is the equivalent scale of Hinkley Point C plus a gas-fired power plant, but only when the sun shines. “But if you add a 6kW battery you’ve created an extra 6GW of storable electricity which could be used to balance the grid.”

 

“It’s not about hardware anymore. It’s about software. And this can move at such an incredible pace and will only get quicker,” says Boyle. “It seems like we’re offering something impossible. But this is only because many are still using a yardstick of how they bought energy in the past. You almost need to draw a line under what has come before and start again.” (4)

 

“This government’s record on energy has been incompetent to the point of derision or despair, depending on how much you care about it” says Stuart Elmes, CEO of Viridian Solar. But finally the Government is showing signs that it gets it.

 

Greg Clarke. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is talking about nothing less than the coming revolution in energy, one that has become evident to many working in the renewables sector, but has until now been just a little too far over the horizon for the politicians to ‘get’. A combination of key technologies – solar, wind, and energy storage coupled with a real-time energy market driven by information technology are maturing and the impact will be extraordinary.

 

Solar panels and wind turbines have a complementary output profile and a combination of both will even out seasonal energy production in northern climates such as the UK. Energy will be stored in and released from large batteries – including those in electric vehicles – to meet shorter term peaks in demand and troughs in supply. Real-time electricity pricing will allow internet enabled appliances to turn on or regulate down following pricing signals to smooth out demand to better match supply.

 

What we’re looking at is a fundamental shift from an energy system based on resources to one founded on technology. The inflexion point is coming and it’s now no longer a question of whether the oil age will end, but how soon it will come. So, two cheers for Greg Clarke, it looks like he’s got the vision, competent implementation to support a smart grid will now be the key to the UK taking advantage of the coming energy revolution. (5) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo98.pdf

August 2, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Battery storage means that solar and wind power could meet needs of growing electric car market

Telegraph 26th July 2017, Do we have enough power to deal with the growth in electric vehicles?
National Grid has warned that the boom in the number of people charging up
their cars could result in a surge in peak demand, requiring hundreds of
billions of pounds worth of investment in new power plants – unless the
electric vehicle revolution is properly managed.

In one scenario National Grid estimates that electric vehicles alone could cause peak power demand
to climb by 1.3 GW a year between 2025 and 2045. This would require the
UK’s shrinking generation capacity to grow by the equivalent of two large
gas-fired power units a year or one £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear plant
every three years. By 2030 the UK would need 8GW, almost three extra
Hinkley projects, to meet the need of drivers who choose to top up their
vehicles during peak hours.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to accommodate the charge-up demand which could cut the extra power needed by
more than half to a more manageable 3GW increase by the end of the next
decade while saving consumers money. Earlier this week Business Secretary
Greg Clarke fired the starting gun on a battery boom through a £246m
research and development competition, and a new plan to put home batteries
at the heart of its industrial strategy.

The support should help the electric vehicle drive, but also help the energy system to cope with the
higher demand caused by the fleet of new cars. A heady roll out of electric
vehicles is expected to drive the cost of battery storage down at an even
faster rate than expected, meaning drivers could be parking their electric
cars next to affordable home batteries, which are linked to cheap solar
panels.

Currently consumers are only able to use around 30pc of the power
generated by solar panels because their demand picks up once the sun is
setting. But the battery boom means energy users can store the unused solar
power generated during the day to charge their cars at night, saving money
and easing the pressure on the grid.

Major wind farms, including the giant Burbo Bank project off the Liverpool coast, are already connected to
batteries so that energy stored during windy nights can power homes when
demand lifts in the morning. Using renewable energy more effectively also
means costs will fall too. The shift in economics is expected to trigger a
deluge of fresh investment into renewable power projects, without the need
for subsidies. The cumulative impact of more renewable power – and better
use of it – could help meet the demand created by electric vehicles in the
first place. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/26/electric-vehicles-have-put-energy-sector-road-change/

July 28, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, UK | Leave a comment

Remarkable success of Scotland’s wind power in 2017

Independent 24th July 2017, In the first six months of 2017 enough power was generated to supply more
than all of Scotland’s national demand for six days. Wind power output in
Scotland has helped set a new record for the first half of the year,
according to an independent conservation group.

Analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by WeatherEnergy found wind turbines provided around
1,039,001MWh of electricity to the National Grid during June. Renewable
energy figures show the power generated last month was enough to supply the
electrical needs equivalent to 118 per cent of Scottish households or
nearly three million homes.

In the first six months of 2017 enough power was generated to supply more than all of Scotland’s national demand for six
days. Turbines provided 6,634,585MWh of electricity to the National Grid,
which analysts say could on average supply the electrical needs of 124 per
cent of Scottish households, or more than three million homes.

Dr Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland, said: “The first six months of
2017 have certainly been incredible for renewables, with wind turbines
alone helping to ensure millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon
emissions were avoided. “Scotland is continuing to break records on
renewable electricity, attracting investment, creating jobs and tackling
climate change. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scotland-renewable-wind-energy-power-electricity-three-million-homes-118-per-cent-of-households-a7855846.html

July 26, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Wind farms subsidy-free and half the cost of Hinkley nuclear power station to build

Drop in wind energy costs adds pressure for government rethink https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/23/drop-in-wind-energy-costs-adds-pressure-for-government-rethink

Tories urged to look at onshore windfarms which can be built as cheaply as gas plants and deliver the same power for half the cost of Hinkley Point, says Arup, Guardian,Adam Vaughan, 24 July 17, Onshore windfarms could be built in the UK for the same cost as new gas power stations and would be nearly half as expensive as the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, according to a leading engineering consultant.

Arup found that the technology has become so cheap that developers could deliver turbines for a guaranteed price of power so low that it would be effectively subsidy-free in terms of the impact on household energy bills.

France’s EDF was awarded a contract for difference – a top-up payment – of £92.50 per megawatt hour over 35 years for Hinkley’s power, or around twice the wholesale price of electricity.

By contrast, Arup’s report found that windfarms could be delivered for a maximum of £50-55 per MWh across 15 years.

ScottishPower, which commissioned the analysis, hopes to persuade the government to reconsider its stance on onshore windfarms, which the Conservatives effectively blocked in 2015 by banning them from competing for subsidies and imposing new planning hurdles.

Keith Anderson, the firm’s chief operating officer, told the Guardian that onshore wind could help the UK meet its climate targets, was proven in terms of being easy to deliver, and was now “phenomenally competitive” on price.

“If you want to control the cost of energy, and deliver energy to consumers and to businesses across the UK at the most competitive price, why would you not want to use this technology? This report demonstrates it’s at the leading edge of efficiency,” he said.

The big six energy firm believes that with a cap on top-up payments so close to the wholesale price, onshore windfarms would be effectively subsidy-free – but the guaranteed price would be enough to de-risk projects and win the investment case for them.

“What we are asking for is a mechanism that underpins the investment risk,” said Anderson.

The group believes that any political sting for Tory MPs concerned about public opposition to turbines in English shires would be removed because such a low guaranteed price would see only the windiest sites coming in cheap enough – which means windfarms in Scotland.

“You put these projects in the right place, you will get the correct level of resource out of them to keep the costs down and you will get public acceptance of people liking them,” Anderson said, citing the example of the company’s huge Whitelee windfarm near Glasgow.

Dr Robert Gross, director of the centre for energy policy and technology at Imperial College, said: “Onshore wind has been coming in at remarkably low prices internationally, so a contract for difference price of around £50-60 per MWh looks perfectly feasible for a good location in the UK, one of the windiest countries in Europe.

“Windfarms generally need fixed price contracts in order to secure finance, otherwise volatile electricity prices can make investing in wind risky.”

The Conservative manifesto was seen by some in industry as softening the party’s stance on onshore wind, saying that it did not believe “more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England” but not mentioning Wales and Scotland, which have some of the best potential sites.

The party also promised a review of the cost of energy which the Guardian revealed last week was likely to be led by the University of Oxford economist Dieter Helm, a critic of the cost of today’s renewable and nuclear power technologies.

However, Anderson said he saw the report, due in October, as a good opportunity.

“I would find it surprising if anybody else doing a costs review of the energy sector comes to a fundamentally different argument [to the Arup report],” he said.

Leo Murray, of climate change charity 10:10, said: “It looks increasingly absurd that the Conservatives have effectively banned Britain’s cheapest source of new power.”

July 26, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment