An oilfield services company in Denmark has been given a €25 million (£19.8m) loan by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Welltec will use the cash to develop advanced robotic solutions that can be used in the oil and gas development and production phases such as well completions to avoid the need for heavy-duty conventional equipment.
The project is aimed at reducing well construction times and extending the productive life of wells.
Jonathan Taylor, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Denmark said: “We are pleased to be partnering with Welltec in this breakthrough operation as it will enable the EU bank to support future technologies whose concrete applications will help reduce not only operating costs but more importantly risks to health, safety and the environment”.
Source: Energy Live News
Torness is one of 15 nuclear power stations across the UK that have been forced to shut down due to faults over the last three years – with campaigners calling for an urgent review into the reliability of nuclear energy.
Analysis for local councils revealed that 15 reactors have had 62 unplanned shut-downs since 2011, with Torness near Dunbar forced to close twice last year due to the build-up of seaweed clogging the plant’s filters.
The research – which was carried out by Edinburgh-based nuclear consultant Pete Roche – found plants hit by a range of faults including cracks and electrical, boiler and valve defects.
And now the 50-strong group of local authorities who commissioned the report are raising fears over safety and the UK’s future energy supply.
Manchester councillor Mark Hackett, who chairs the group, said: “I call upon the UK Government, the National Grid and the nuclear regulators to urgently review the safety issues around such a large number of unplanned shutdowns.
“The Government also has to prioritise alternatives over the next 12 months to ensure the unreliability of nuclear power does not lead to the lights going off around the country.”
Dungeness nuclear power station in Kent had to be shut down 21 times between 2012 and 2014.
Source: Edinburgh Evening News
It revealed global water withdrawals for energy production in 2010 were estimated at 583 billion cubic metres (bcm), out of which water usage – that was withdrawn but not returned to its source – was 66bcm or around 11%.
Water is critical for electricity generation as well as the extraction, transport and processing of fossil fuels and the irrigation of crops that go into biofuels. Water shortages in India and the US, among other countries, have however limited energy output in the last two years while the “heavy use of water in unconventional oil and gas production has generated considerable public concern”, the IEA said.
Its report looked at three difference scenarios – the New Policies Scenario, the Current Policies Scenario and the 450 Scenario.
Global water withdrawals for energy production reach 690bcm in 2035 in the New Policies Scenario, with growth slowing after 2020. Withdrawals in the Current Policies Scenario – which assumes no change in existing energy-related policies – continue to rise throughout the projection period, climbing to 790bcm in 2035.
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Source: Energy Live News
EDF to miss its own deadline for Hinkley Point nuclear decision
French energy giant does not expect to take final investment decision on Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation until the autumn, missing its own target of July
EDF expects to miss its own deadline for deciding whether to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, the Telegraph can disclose.
The French energy giant announced in October that it planned to take a final investment decision on the £16bn Hinkley Point C plant by July, after striking a landmark subsidy deal with government.
But it now believes that an ongoing European Commission investigation into whether the subsidies are illegal state aid will not be fully resolved until autumn, forcing its decision on the Somerset plant back until then.
The delay could threaten EDF’s plans to deliver first power from the plant in 2023 – a timescale it had said was “subject to a final investment decision by July 2014”.
It also pointed out many key details of the deal, including a £10bn-plus loan guarantee from the Treasury, could not be scrutinised as they were yet to be finalised. It is understood the loan guarantee may not be finalised until May.
Amid intense scrutiny of the Hinkley plan, EDF is also lobbying strongly against a long-term freeze of the UK’s rising carbon tax, which it fears would weaken the case for Hinkley by pushing up the bill for direct subsidies for the plant.
Under October’s deal, EDF has been guaranteed a price for the power the plant generates of £92.50/MWh, almost double the current market price for power, with the difference subsidised through levies on consumer energy bills.
A rising UK carbon tax would push up the market power price, reducing the total direct “top-up” subsidy to Hinkley and potentially making the deal more palatable to politicians and the EC alike.
But under pressure to tackle rising energy bills the Chancellor now is expected to announce a freeze of the carbon tax in next week’s Budget.
EDF – whose existing nuclear power plant fleet would also benefit significantly from the rising carbon tax – is understood to be urging the Chancellor to guarantee that any freeze would last no more than a two years and that the tax would then revert to its upwards trajectory.
The company, which is still in talks with potential investors to take stakes in the Hinkley Point project, also argues that a policy u-turn on the carbon tax would damage the UK’s attractiveness.
EDF has been at pains to insist it can deliver Hinkley “on time and on budget”, despite its Flamanville reactor in France being dogged by cost blowouts and years of delays.
However, it has already publicly set and then missed a string of deadlines for Hinkley, which was once supposed to be running by 2017, while the cost has “rocketed hugely”, according to former partner Centrica.
A damning 70-page critique published by the EC in January raised a series of concerns with the subsidy deal, arguing that it may be unnecessary, risked handing EDF excess profits and could severely distort competition.It said that total public subsidy could reach £17bn – more expensive than the plant itself.
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Chapelcross nuclear submarine waste storage discussed
The prospect of the former power plant site at Chapelcross being used to store waste from nuclear submarines is being discussed in Annan.
The Dumfries and Galloway facility is on a provisional Ministry of Defence shortlist of five locations.
No decision will be made until after public consultation this year.
However, the issue will be raised at a meeting of the Chapelcross Site Stakeholder Group (CSSG) to discuss the prospect of the Scottish site’s use.
The MoD is looking for somewhere to store radioactive components until the 2040s when a permanent disposal facility is due to be ready.
The shortlisted sites are Capenhurst, Cheshire; Sellafield, West Cumbria; Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire; and Chapelcross.
Ronnie Ogilvie, who chairs the CSSG, said there was not a great deal of detail to discuss at the moment.
He said it was clear that the site did have the storage capacity for low-level radioactive waste.
Mr Ogilivie said it was hoped more could be learned from forthcoming talks with military officials.
Decommissioning work is currently going on at the site near Annan.
It ceased power generation in 2004, with its landmark cooling towers later being pulled down.
Source: BBC News