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Offshore wind power can replace UK’s failing nuclear industry

Can offshore energy replace a failing nuclear industry?   The Manufacturer, 12 Feb 2019 by Maddy White

The world’s largest offshore windfarm off the Yorkshire coast is to supply its first power to the UK electricity grid this week. Could it fill the gap left by a failing nuclear industry? When fully operational next year, Hornsea One will be the largest windfarm in the world. Its 174 Siemens 7MW turbines will generate enough electricity (1.2GW) to reportedly power more than one million homes.

The electricity generated by the turbines 120km off of the Yorkshire coast will pass through one of three offshore substations, before being carried by three high voltage subsea cables (245kV).

Danish developer Ørsted’s project propels the offshore wind power sector to a new scale; Hornsea One will cover 407 sqkm – almost eight-times the size of Norwich

Rapid growth for renewables

A clean and sustainable energy supply, and reducing the impacts of climate change has become priority for countries across the globe as part of the Paris Agreement. Climate change was also found, in the World Economic Forum’s global risks report, to be the biggest concern for business in 2019.

The UK committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels, but the question remains just how can this be achieved?

Offshore windfarms could help fulfill this. Additionally it could aid the low carbon power gap created as a result of Hitachi and Toshiba recently scrapping nuclear plant projects in Wales and Cumbria. Hitachi followed Toshiba’s move and halted work on the Welsh site earlier this year due to rising costs………

A failing nuclear industry

Last year renewable energy supplied a record 33% of the UK’s electricity, opposed to 19% from nuclear. As technology advances, renewable energy has become cheaper and the logical energy source.

Hinkley C, the nuclear power plant in Somerset is years behind schedule, and billions over budget. Alongside Hinkley, there were five other plants with nuclear proposals: Moorside (Cumbria), Wylfa (Wales), Oldbury (West Midlands), Bradwell (Essex) and Sizewell (Suffolk).

Three have been scrapped and two are yet to be approved. Of the eight sites currently generating power, the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) report that only one is due to be in use by 2030…….

The renewable sector is rapidly growing, its technology advancing and its costs decreasing, while nuclear remains an expensive and complex option that is becoming less appealing.

Can renewable energy be created on the same scale as nuclear? As nuclear power plants shut down and reach their operational expiry date, their contributions to the UK’s energy mix becomes increasingly irrelevant.

With projects like Hornsea One, Two and Three in the pipeline, it seems renewable energy has gained notable momentum and if executed well, could mean its perhaps only a matter of time until nuclear is phased out entirely.


February 18, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Chicago to go 100% renewable energy by 2035

February 16, 2019 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Energy efficiency, renewables, battery storage race ahead, as Bill Gates seeks tax-payer funds for chimera of “small modular nuclear reactors”

Consumers, businesses and utilities all win with this new distributed clean utility because renewables plus efficiency and batteries is available as a very resilient, near-zero carbon solution to providing power when and where it’s needed at the lowest cost. As these technologies continue to scale, they continue to experience steep cost declines, making the idea of a nuclear alternative vanishingly unrealistic.

Tens of billions of dollars have been spent developing different nuclear power plant designs, and even with enormous government subsidies and guarantees, corporations and utilities do not want to invest in nuclear power. Gates is a large investor in a nuclear firm, Terrapower, which hopes to build a prototype by 2030. If this target is achieved and a prototype is demonstrated by 2030, it could move toward commercial deployment in the 2030s. But we cannot afford to wait 15 or 20 years to scale very-low-carbon energy — and, fortunately, we don’t need to.

Renewable energy has more than doubled in the last decade to provide 20 percent of U.S. electricity, as much as nuclear.

Bill Gates’ quixotic quest to revive nuclear power,Greg Kats, February 7, 2019  Bill Gates has been lobbying Congress to secure federal financial support for nuclear power and for a nuclear company in which he is a large investor. This plea for federal largesse from a decabillionaire illustrates why further nuclear subsidies make no sense.

Nuclear power is already a heavily subsidized 60-year-old industry with over half a trillion dollars invested in several hundred large operating nuclear plants, including 99 in the United States. The cost of nuclear power has soared while the cost for other low-carbon power options — including wind, solar, batteries and energy efficiency — have plunged. This is why no U.S. utilities want to build nuclear plants unless they can get large additional subsidies.

Gates’ rationale for nuclear power can be summarized as follows: Given the reality and gravity of climate change, nuclear provides the only large-scale, very-low-carbon electricity source that cost-effectively can provide power at scale when needed. Other very-low-carbon options, such as wind and solar power, batteries and energy efficiency, cannot reliably provide power when needed — especially on hot summer afternoons when air conditioning loads are large.

This same argument was made by nuclear advocates 30 years ago and is even less true today. Continue reading

February 16, 2019 Posted by | renewable, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Scottish Energy Minister pressed to back closure of Hunterston B nuclear power plant in favour of renewable energy.

Dave Toke’s Blog 9th Feb 2019  Why Hunterston B Nuclear Powe Station should not be Restarted. Presentation made to Paul Wheelhouse,Minister for Energy Connectivity and the Islands by Dr Ian Fairlie and Dr David Toke.

In our view, Hunterston B nuclear power station needs to be
closed for safety reasons, but this should not be lamented because there is
presently a surplus of electricity generation in Scotland, and more is in
the pipeline.

Indeed there is so much renewable energy capacity being built
that Scottish electricity exports to England and Wales will continue to
increase, there will be no significant job losses in Scotland, and Scottish
energy security will be improved as Hunterston B’s operation results in
many Scottish wind farms being turned off at certain times and periods.

Ian Fairlie 9th Feb 2019

February 11, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s under-reported analysis – renewables cheaper than new nuclear

Forbes 31st Jan 2019 , Under-reported analysis by the UK’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit
(ECIU) has shown that filling the gap left by the abandoned nuclear projects is not just feasible but better value. The government’s own National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is minded to agree. Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the ECIU said: “In recent years Governmenthas quietly cut back its expectations for nuclear new-build, and that’s
looking more and more realistic as the price of renewable generation falls and the benefits of the flexible smart grid become more apparent.

Filling the nuclear gap with renewables would indeed require an increase in rollout, but one that is well within UK capabilities. “With enough focus on smart low-carbon energy, there’s no reason why Britain shouldn’t achieve all its energy objectives despite the cancellation of these nuclear stations,” added Marshall.

The ECIU analysis found that an additional 11.3GW of onshore wind, 5.7GW of offshore wind and 20.8GW of new solar capacity would be sufficient to fill the nuclear gap. Those figures are eminently achievable.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

As a nuclear power project collapses, leading utility chief calls on UK government to increase targets for offshore wind energy

Forget nuclear woes and increase offshore wind targets, says boss of leading utility, Owjonline  25 Jan 2019 by David Foxwell The chief executive of one of the UK’s leading utility companies has called on the government to increase targets for offshore wind energy after plans for another nuclear power station were put on hold.SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said the UK should be grateful that in offshore wind it has an ‘off the shelf’ answer to the problem of how the country can decarbonise energy cost-effectively while securing jobs and growth for the UK economy.

He is well-qualified to comment on energy policy in the country, having become chief executive of SSE in 2013 after working in the energy industry since 1997, when he joined Southern Electric.

“Later this year our Beatrice offshore windfarm, the largest project in Scotland, will be completed, and will begin exporting low carbon electricity to the grid,” he said. “It is one of many projects delivered to time and budget, which have helped bring the costs down substantially.

“Last year UK Energy Minister Claire Perry set out an ambition of an additional 1-2 GW of offshore wind per year during the 2020s taking the UK to a total of between 20 and 30 GW, meaning it could be the generation technology with the largest installed capacity in the UK.

“The sector has responded, and an Offshore Wind Sector Deal will be finalised later this year setting out the industry’s substantial commitments to the UK’s industrial strategy. The question now is whether 30 GW by 2030 is ambitious enough,” Mr Phillips-Davies said.

“In the coming months, the government will receive advice from the Committee on Climate Change on the implications of increasing its decarbonisation target from an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 to net zero.

“In light of the IPCC report last year, SSE supports the adoption of a net zero target, and the implications will be a need to go faster and harder on decarbonising electricity as the driver for decarbonising heat and transport.”

Mr Phillips-Davies went on to say, “With the news that Hitachi has pulled out of the Wylfa project, the new nuclear programme looks in real trouble and was due to come in well above the costs of offshore wind anyway…….,forget-nuclear-woes-and-increase-offshore-wind-targets-says-boss-of-leading-utility_56566.htm

January 26, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

For UK it;s now time to double down on wind and solar energy

January 24, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

France to replace Fessenheim nuclear plant with solar power project

EU approves France’s plan to replace nuclear plant with 300 MW of PV

The commission said the project selected through the tender will receive a premium tariff under a 20-year contract, and the tender’s budget is approximately €250 million.

“The aid will be granted by the French state and will contribute to the French and European objectives of energy efficiency and energy production from renewable sources, in line with the EU’s environmental objectives, with possible distortions of competition state support being reduced to a minimum,” the commission stated.

The tender was announced by the French government in April. In July, France’s Directorate General for Energy and Climate – part of the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition – revealed details of the tendering scheme. According to that announcement, 200 MW of the tendered capacity will be for ground-mounted PV ranging in size from 500 kW up to 30 MW, with the remaining 100 MW accounted for by rooftop projects larger than 8 MW in scale.

Potential tariffs estimated

The tender was to be implemented in three phases, starting late last year and continuing in the middle and latter stages of this year, and was set to comprise three groups of installations: the ground-mounted PV; rooftop systems on buildings, greenhouses, carports or agricultural buildings with an output of 500 kW to 8 MW; and rooftops with a capacity of 100-500 kW.

Projects selected among the first two categories will be entitled to a premium feed-in tariff while installations of the third and smallest category will have access to a regular FIT. The premium tariff for ground-mounted PV is expected to be €50-70/MWh, and that for larger rooftops €70-100/MWh. Smaller rooftop projects are expected to be granted €80-110/MWh.

The 40-year-old Fessenheim nuclear site, in the Haut-Rhin department of Alsace in northeastern France, is set to be decommissioned by next year. The plant has seen more than one temporary shutdown due to safety issues. One of the most high-profile issues occurred in April 2014, when Reactor 1 was shuttered. The French Nuclear Safety Authority reported at the time that internal flooding in the non-nuclear part of the reactor had damaged safety electrical systems. After being repaired, the reactor was reconnected to the grid in May the same year.

January 22, 2019 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

New York’s ‘Green New Deal’ for a zero carbon economy

Business Green 21st Jan 2019 New York has embraced the campaign for a ‘Green New Deal’, with Governor
Andrew Cuomo declaring last week he will launch a major programme to build
a zero carbon economy for the state.

New York’s Green New Deal was hailed
as a “nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda” by the Governor’s
office, as it pledged to “aggressively put New York State on a path to
economy-wide carbon neutrality”. The plan includes doubling the state’s
solar capacity by 2025 and quadrupling its offshore wind capacity by 2035,
as part of a legally binding goal to deliver 100 per cent zero-carbon power
for the state by 2040.

January 22, 2019 Posted by | politics, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Solar power has had a “life-changing impact” for Malawi village communities

BBC 21st Jan 2019 The project has helped businesses in Malawi to generate electricity from
solar power. A solar power project to connect villages in Malawi has had a
“life-changing” impact for rural communities.

The initiative, led by Strathclyde University researchers, has seen affordable energy supply
businesses set up in four villages. The partnership, which has been backed
by a £600,000 grant from the Scottish government, ensures locals own and
operate the equipment. It includes battery chargers and power connections
for other small businesses. Only 12% of Malawi’s 18 million population is
connected to the main electricity grid, which dips to 2% in rural areas.
For the vast majority the main energy source is open fires, which puts
pressure on the country’s forests. scotland-glasgow-west-46890999

January 22, 2019 Posted by | decentralised, Malawi | Leave a comment

Orkney islands produce more electricity from wind and waves than they can use

Observer 20th Jan 2019 A tech revolution – and an abundance of wind and waves – mean that the people of Orkney now produce more electricity than they can use. It seems the stuff of fantasy. Giant ships sail the seas burning fuel that has been extracted from water using energy provided by the winds, waves and tides. A dramatic but implausible notion, surely.

Yet this grand green vision could soon be realised thanks to a remarkable technological transformation that is now under way in Orkney. Perched 10 miles beyond the northern edge of
the British mainland, this archipelago of around 20 populated islands – as well as a smattering of uninhabited reefs and islets – has become the centre of a revolution in the way electricity is generated.

Orkney was once utterly dependent on power that was produced by burning coal and gas on the Scottish mainland and then transmitted through an undersea cable. Today the islands are so festooned with wind turbines, they cannot find enough uses for the emission-free power they create on their own. Community-owned wind turbines generate power for local villages; islanders drive non-polluting cars that run on electricity; devices that can turn the energy of the waves and the tides into electricity are being tested in the islands’ waters and seabed; and – in the near future – car and passenger ferries here will be fuelled not by diesel but by hydrogen, created from water that has been electrolysed using power from Orkney’s wind, wave and
tide generators.

January 22, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Wind energy ready to supply UK electricity: time to remove the ban on onshore subsidies

Windfarm industry urges UK to lift onshore subsidies ban, Guardian, Adam Vaughan,  @adamvaughan_uk,  19 Jan 2019

Firms say 800 renewable projects ready to plug gap left after Wylfa nuclear plant scrapped  Ministers have been urged to drop their block on subsidies for onshore windfarms, as industry figures showed that nearly 800 renewable projects are ready to plug much of the power gap left by the abandonment of the Wylfa nuclear project.

Hitachi dropped plans for the nuclear plant in Wales this week, raising questions over what would replace it and leading the business secretary, Greg Clark, to admit that renewable energy sources are more competitively priced than nuclear.
The wind industry said if a bar on onshore windfarm subsidies was lifted it would allow the construction of 794 projects which have won consent through the planning system and are ready to build. Together they would generate around 12 terawatt hours of energy a year; two thirds of what Wylfa would have produced.

A dozen firms are behind the schemes, including small players and big names such as Scottish Power, Vattenfall, E.ON, EDF Energy and npower’s owner Innogy. But onshore windfarm installations have stalled since the government banned them from securing subsidies.

Emma Pinchbeck, the executive director of RenewableUK, which compiled the figures, said: “We have ready-to-go onshore wind that can help close the gap between the low carbon power we need and the amount government policy is actually delivering, and this week’s announcement on nuclear power has made this mammoth task even harder.”

But she said the government had “stacked the odds” against building the onshore windfarms needed to hit the UK’s carbon targets, by excluding developers from competing for subsidies in auctions. Only offshore windfarms can compete for state funds currently.

The government’s figures show onshore windfarms are the cheapest source of new electricity generation. The Hinkley Point nuclear project in Somerset won a guaranteed price of £92.50 per megawatt hour, compared with £57.50 for offshore windfarms in the early 2020s. Experts think onshore windfarms could hit around £50 per MWh…….

The Scottish energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said that after the failure of Hitachi’s projects, it was time for the UK to prioritise onshore windfarms and other renewable technologies over nuclear.

The government’s infrastructure advisers, the National Infrastructure Commission, urged a rethink that would allow onshore windfarms to compete for support…….

January 19, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Renewable energy can replace UK’s Moorside, Wylfa and Sizewell C nuclear power at a much cheaper cost

ECIU (accessed) 17th Jan 2019 The future of the Government’s plans to roll out six new nuclear power
stations across Britain is looking increasingly parlous, as the Wylfa
project becomes the second power station to be scrapped in just two months.

Wylfa’s demise makes the Oldbury project extremely unlikely to proceed,
while Toshiba has already backed out of developing its Moorside station.

Their absence leaves space for new low-carbon capacity to fill the gap. Filling the ‘nuclear gap’ with
alternative low-carbon power sources would keep bills down, maintain secure
energy supply and allow the UK to maintain progress towards legally binding
climate targets.

A representative scenario, in which 80% of the energy
output of Moorside, Wylfa and Sizewell C was replaced in equal measure by
onshore and offshore wind, with the remaining 20% by solar PV would entail
an average price of £50-65/MWh, including the cost of system balancing.

This is 13-33% cheaper than the cost of energy from nuclear (not accounting
for nuclear system costs). This would see an additional 11.3 GW of onshore
wind and 5.7 GW of offshore wind capacity, as well as 20.8 GW of new solar
PV capacity. Renewable capacity is already set to increase on current
levels, as more – and cheaper – capacity continues to come online.

January 19, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt’s plan to let down solar householders has not gone down well

Physics World 16th Jan 2019 Dave Elliott: The UK government’s plan to abandon the feed-in tariff
(FIT) system for small renewable energy projects did not go down well,
especially since it meant the loss of the export tariff. Householders who
invested in a photovoltaic (PV) array on their roof have used that to
offset the cost of their investment by selling any extra power they
generated at a reasonable rate – 5.24 p/kWh – to their grid supplier.

However, with the FiT, along with the export tariff, to be closed to new
applicants from the end of March, they will get nothing for any exports. In
a parliamentary debate on the FiT in November last year, energy minister
Claire Perry said she aimed to avoid that situation. It certainly looked
unfair and counterproductive.

Claire Perry has now gone ahead with a
consultation on the Government’s proposals for a new market for
electricity export from small-scale PV solar, configured “so that people
are not providing it to the grid for free”. Under the proposed “Smart
Export Guarantee” (SEG), electricity suppliers would pay new small-scale
PV and other energy producers for excess electricity from homes and
businesses put back into the power grid.

January 19, 2019 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Offshore wind leads, as UK’s renewable energy is on course to overtake fossil fuels

Business Green 16th Jan 2019,  Renewables are on course to overtake fossil fuels for the first time as the UK’s primary electricity source as early as 2020, according to the latest market forecast from EnAppSys. If current trends continue, the market analyst predicts growing renewable power sources such as wind and solar
will generate 121.3TWh of electricity over the calendar year of 2020, pushing ahead of declining coal and gas-fired power sources with a forecasted 105.6TWh of generation.

The forecast assumes current trends of declining fossil fuel generation and rising renewables generation continue at the same annual rate. In 2018, coal and gas fired power stations
produced a combined 130.9TWh, a 6.7 per cent fall from the previous year’s 140.3TWh, the report states.

Meanwhile, renewable sources delivered 95.9TWh last year, rising 15.2 per cent from 2017 – a strong performance bolstered by the UK’s increasing offshore wind capacity.

January 17, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment