Countries with a strong national commitment to nuclear energy tend to make slower progress towards meeting their climate targets, compared to countries without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it, according to research published yesterday by the University of Sussex. The researchers looked at the progress of European countries towards cutting carbon emissions and increasing their share of renewable energy under the EU’s 2020 Strategy. They found nuclear-free countries such as Denmark and Norway have made the most progress towards their climate targets, while pro-nuclear countries such as France and the UK have been slower to tackle emissions and roll out clean energy sources. “Looked at on its own, nuclear power is sometimes noisily propounded as an attractive response to climate change,” Andy Stirling, professor of science and technology policy at the University of Sussex, said in a statement. “Yet if alternative options are rigorously compared, questions are raised about cost-effectiveness, timeliness, safety and security.”
Business Green 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
Since its initial adoption, the EU’s 2020 Strategy – to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of consumption, and achieve energy savings of 20% or more by 2020 – has witnessed substantial albeit uneven progress. This article addresses the question of what role nuclear power generation has played, and can or should play in future, towards attaining the EU 2020 Strategy, particularly with reference to decreasing emissions and increasing renewables.
Taylor & Francis (accessed) 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Science News 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
There is a long-standing debate over price vs. quantity approaches to supporting the deployment of renewable electricity technologies. In the context of a recent shift from quantity to price-based support, the UK has also introduced a new form of budgetary framework, the Levy Control Framework (LCF). The introduction of the LCF has been very important for investors but has received relatively little attention in the academic literature. The paper gives an overview of the LCF, explores its effects on renewables policy, on consumers and on investor confidence arguing that an unintended consequence of its introduction has been to increase uncertainty, through interactions with underlying support mechanisms. A number of problems with the current scope and design of the LCF are noted. It is argued that the LCF is best understood as aimed at avoiding a political backlash against renewable support policy in a context where the benefits of such policy are concentrated economically and socially. The paper concludes by placing the LCF within a wider context of a shift towards greater budgetary control over renewable energy support policy across European countries.
IGov 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Letter: Leonard S Hyman When assessing Hinkley Point you might want to consider these three points. First, the fact that Hinkley Point power will cost twice as much as the current wholesale price is irrelevant. Just about all non-fossil new power sources (with the possible exception of energy efficiency) will cost far more than the current wholesale price. The big problem with the wholesale market is that it does not provide a price high enough for anybody to build any kind of clean new power plant. Economists refer to this as the “missing money” problem. Second, cost of capital really matters in the nuclear business. I’d estimate that pre-tax cost of capital may account for close to half of power costs. Third, France saved big money when it standardised its nuclear programme and built the same reactor again and again. The Americans did not standardise. Each company built a custom model. You can’t learn from experience that way. Perhaps the UK should have looked at the nuclear programme on a nationwide rather than on a project by project basis. A hodge podge of projects all doing something different and importing everything throws away opportunities to reap economies and create jobs.
FT 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
UK needs to invest £215bn in energy by 2030: Barclays by 2030 in order to replace aging assets and decarbonise, analysis by Barclays Research has found. As the country undergoes an “energy revolution” nearly half – £95 billion – will need to be spent on disruptive technologies such as renewables…
Utility Week 22nd Aug 2016 read more »