With the coalition government subtly pushing England towards nuclear power as a short-term gap as we head towards a less carbon-dependent future, more and more researchers are looking into ways that nuclear power can be made safer, environmentally-friendly and generally more efficient.Far from just being a pressing issue for UK commercial energy suppliers, nuclear power has very much been a global agenda since the Fukushima disaster that gripped Japan last year – and two American scientists say they have found a way to make harmful nuclear waste work for the whole planet. At the heart of a traditional nuclear power plant, radioactive rods are inserted into a reactor core to produce energy. However, as much power as this yields it is Putting Nuclear Waste to Work
Five bosses at British Gas owner Centrica shared a £16.4million pay bonanza last year as bills soared for domestic customers.
Just weeks after householders were told their bills would jump by £70 a year, the directors enjoyed a 6 per cent rise in their pay packages.
Last night unions said the payouts, coming after inflation-busting price rises, were ‘insensitive beyond belief’.
In addition, British Gas chief Phil Bentley will walk away with a nest-egg worth more than £10million when he steps down in June, in addition to a £5.4million pension pot.
Edinburgh Airport is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to climate change after being placed highest out of any UK airport in the second Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency League Table, published annually by the Environment Agency.
The CRC scheme, which aims to significantly lower UK carbon emissions, sees participating companies annually report their energy consumption to receive a score which represents their efforts in reducing emissions.
David Wilson, Edinburgh Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, said:- “As Scotland’s busiest Airport we are committed to being as energy efficient as possible. The fact that we have been ranked the highest of all the UK airports is a great boost and helps highlight the work we do to make our airport as carbon conscious as possible.”
In 2012 Edinburgh Airport also successfully gained a Carbon Masters Standard for recognition of its reduction in carbon emissions by 3% compared to the two years previous. It is the first airport in Scotland to be awarded with such a standard.
Ofgem has now taken over management of a code of practice used by energy price comparison websites for households.Managed by Consumer Focus since 2008, the Confidence Code ensures that websites accredited through the code have to make sure that prices they quote for energy deals and information given about the offers are done in a fair and unbiased way.Using a site with the Confidence Code certification mark is expected to make the process of switching energy suppliers easier, more reliable and reassuring for consumers. The websites covered by the code act independently of the energy suppliers.Ofgem will be reviewing the code this year to see if any improvements can be made and to ensure it supports its plans, which includes making the energy market simpler, clearer and fairer.
Recycling Nuclear Waste Fuel Rods
What potential effects could this have on the commercial energy market? Well, the US alone has around 67,500 tonnes of nuclear waste from the last 5 decades of atomic energy. When combined with the rest of the world’s waste, the MSR research team believe that would power the entire planet until 2083; a truly incredible prospect.
As for the likelihood of business energy suppliers being excited enough to invest in having an MSR of their own? Early figures say that – at current market prices – all that untapped energy in current stocks of nuclear waste is worth $7.1 trillion. So probably just enough to excite at least one big energy company, then.
via Putting Nuclear Waste to Work – Recycle nuclear fuel rods | Catalyst Commercial Services – The Market Leading Business Energy Broker.
A recent Bloomberg press release got wide coverage with its claim that wind power is now cheaper than coal. But a new report from the OECD shows that when you cover the full cost to the grid, variable renewables like wind don’t add up as favourably.
It is often claimed that introducing variable renewable energy resources such as solar and wind into the electricity network comes with some extra cost penalties, due to “system effects”. These system effects include intermittent electricity access, network congestion, instability, environmental impacts, and security of supply.
Now a new report from the OECD titled System Effects of Low-Carbon Electricity Systems gives some hard dollar values for these additional imposts. The OECD work focuses on nuclear power, coal, gas, and renewables such as wind and solar. Their conclusion is that grid-level system costs can have significant impacts on the total cost of delivered electricity for some power-generation technologies.
All generation technologies cause system effects to some degree. They are all connected to the same transmission and distribution grid structure and deliver electricity into the same market. They also exert impacts on each other, on the total load available to satisfy demand, and the stability of the grid’s frequency control. These dependencies are heightened by the fact that only small amounts of cost-efficient electricity storage are available.
via Renewable Energy’s Hidden Costs? | The Energy Collective.
The Market Report – 26th March 2013
Find out the latest news on the energy market from Magali Hodgson, npower’s Product and Services Optimisation Manager, in this weekly update.
The Government has warned energy companies the cold snap is “no excuse” for putting up electricity and gas bills.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said predictions of big increases in bills as a result of the current “tightness” in the gas market brought about by wintry conditions were “wildly wrong”.
“This is a market, so when there is lots of cold weather in north-western Europe, naturally the gas market becomes a bit tighter, there is more competition for the gas and because we have a market, the price goes up a little bit.
“But over a year, because we have probably the most diverse, most well-traded gas market – arguably in the world – our gas prices are on average through a year lower than the big EU 15 countries.
“But of course that is on average over the year. You may get a little increase where we are above the average for a short period, that is what is happening at the moment.
“Some of the reporting saying there is going to be a big increase in consumer bills because of this particular short-term tightness in the market, I think again are wildly wrong.
“We will make it clear … to energy suppliers that this just is a temporary cold snap, there is no excuse for putting up energy bills. They should always minimise the impact of these types of things on consumer bills.”
Mr Davey repeated Government assurances over supplies, saying Britain is not running out of gas. He said there was a “very diverse” gas supply in the UK with about half straight from the North Sea – in winter a third – and three pipelines from Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.
via Latest business, finance and money news | DailyFinance UK.
The nuclear industry could create up to 40,000 jobs in the UK over the next 20 years, according to estimates by the Government as it launched a strategy for the sector today.
The Business Department said that globally there will be £930 billion invested in building new reactors and £250 billion in decommissioning those coming off line.
Ministers announced £15 million for companies and universities carrying out research into nuclear technology, £12.5 million for a reactor test programme being carried out in France, and changes to the National Nuclear Laboratory.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “There are huge global opportunities that the UK is well placed to take advantage of in the nuclear industry. Our strong research base will help develop exciting new technologies that can be commercialised here and then exported across the globe.
“The nuclear industry presents significant multibillion pound long-term opportunities for UK companies and for thousands of high value jobs. We have worked with industry on a plan for the future to ensure we are well placed to grasp those opportunities.
“We have some of the finest workers, research facilities and academics in the world. But we need to sharpen those competitive advantages to become a top table nuclear nation.”
Energy Secretary Edward Davey said: “Nuclear and other forms of low carbon power mean highly-skilled jobs, sustainable growth, and the lasting legacy of a UK supply chain.
“We need all our energy options in play in the fight against climate change, and to keep the lights on in a way that is affordable to consumers. Not just this decade, but to 2050 and beyond.”
Rhian Kelly of the CBI commented: “Nuclear will be a vital player in achieving a balanced low-carbon energy mix, and with commercial opportunities worth billions of pounds at home and overseas, it is a sector that can bring real economic benefits.
via Nuclear energy ‘could create 40,000 jobs’, says Government – UK – News – London Evening Standard.
Large energy firms could be forced to hold a minimum level of gas in storage, amid growing concerns about shortages linked to the prolonged period of cold weather.
Just days after analysts raised the prospect of gas rationing, ministers are considering inserting a “security of supply” amendment to the Energy Bill. The government is understood to be considering a proposal by Ofgem, the regulator, that would oblige suppliers to keep stocks above a specified level to ensure recent supply scares are not repeated.
“We are considering whether there is anything else we can do through the Energy Bill… to promote more gas storage. We are looking at possible interventions into the market to encourage greater security of supply,” said a spokesman for the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
Because of its historic reliance on the North Sea’s now diminished gas supply, the UK has a much lower level of storage capacity than many other countries. Britain has the ability to store just 20 days supply of gas, compared to 103 days in France, 92 days in Germany and 70 days in Italy.