Tagged: energy in the UK

Sir Ian’s Wood Foundation donates £3m to university’s Oil and Gas Institute

The Wood Foundation – set up by local oil magnate Sir Ian Wood – has donated £4.5 million to Robert Gordon University to ensure it becomes a global centre of excellence in oil and gas and remote healthcare.

The Oil & Gas Institute, which will receive £3.1 million of the donation, aims to become a world-class centre of excellence in oil and gas, building on the thinking, creativity, experience and facilities which have been built up through more than 40 years’ experience with North Sea oil and gas.

Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski and Sir Ian Wood
Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski and Sir Ian Wood

This follows the announcement of the foundation’s £500,000 donation to the university’s Oil and Gas Institute in 2013.The university will match fund the donation with a major investment of its own and seek further support from other donors.

The Institute will develop four distinct knowledge centres in drilling, operations, decommissioning and business excellence. These will be led by industry experts and academics who will work closely with industry on the research and education required to maximise recovery of the world’s hydrocarbon resources and to make decommissioning commercially and environmentally effective.

Sir Ian Wood said: “RGU is renowned for its strengths in oil and gas and remote healthcare, both of which play a vital role in our local economy. The Wood Foundation is pleased to be able to support the University in its quest to build globally recognised centres of excellence through the development of international research, bespoke industry solutions, collaborative research and Masters levels’ programmes.

“By attracting industry experts and internationally renowned academics to lead the teaching, consulting and research programmes, the Oil & Gas Institute will be able to provide a valuable resource for the industry world-wide.

“More importantly, it will help secure Aberdeen’s future as an international oil and gas hub long after our own resources have been depleted.”

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, said: “We are extremely grateful for the huge generosity of The Wood Foundation. Sir Ian’s leadership in the oil and gas industry is universally recognised, most recently in the response to the Wood Review on maximising recovery in the UKCS.

“It is hugely significant to RGU to have his support as we develop our ambitious plans for the Institute and create investment and continuing prosperity in the North-East of Scotland.”

The initial donation of £500,000 by the Wood Foundation allowed RGU to establish the Oil & Gas Institute and appoint its first director, Paul de Leeuw, who said: “The knowledge centres, which will be led by industry experts recruited from the sector, will provide the overall direction for RGU’s oil and gas teaching and research programmes.

“With the UK Continental Shelf decommissioning market growing rapidly in the next few years we see this as a key area for RGU to build its capability in terms of both teaching and research.

“Alongside the knowledge centres the Institute will recruit teams of leading academics to pursue market-orientated world class research making it a significant player and employer in the sector.”

The Wood Foundation was set up in 2007 to invest both money and expertise in making a lasting difference to people and communities in Africa and Scotland by helping them to help themselves.

Source: Scottish Energy News

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Russian state nuclear firm in talks to build power station in the UK

Russian state nuclear firm in talks to build power station in the UK

Rosatom meeting Whitehall officials but experts say a Russian VVER reactor is unlikely to open in UK for at least 10 years.
EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station

Hinkley Point is being built with French and Chinese money. Now the Russians want to invest in UK power. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Britain is in talks with the Russian state nuclear company about building a nuclear power station in the UK, an official said on Tuesday.

Hergen Haye, head of new nuclear development at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), told students at Edinburgh University that active discussions were taking place in London after a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Russia. “I can tell you that, behind closed doors and with microphones switched off, there are interesting debates happening in Whitehall,” he said. “Russia wants to build a nuclear power station in the UK.”

Haye chairs a UK-Russian working group on nuclear power, and was in Russia recently for discussions. Haye regards the Russian VVER reactor proposed for the UK as “perfectly safe”, but he cautioned that there would be problems convincing the public that a deal with Russia was acceptable, especially given the current crisis in the Crimea. “It’s a long road, a very long road,” he said.

He offered his personal view that a Russian nuclear station in the UK may be “a bridge too far – at least for the next ten years.” But he stressed that it wasn’t his decision to make.

A memorandum of understanding between DECC and the Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, was signed in September 2013. It agreed a programme of co-operation “designed to be the most effective means of enabling Rosatom to prepare for entry into the United Kingdom civil nuclear market.”

The plan was to give Rosatom access to the UK government’s watchdogs, the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency, so that it could understand British regulatory and licencing requirements. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills “will have detailed discussions with Rosatom to facilitate commercial links with United Kingdom’s industry,” the memorandum said.

Rosatom has already formed a partnership with the British nuclear engineering company, Rolls Royce. “The participants hope that this relationship will lead to joint projects in the United Kingdom and overseas,” said the memorandum.

Russia is also reported to have signed a deal with the Finnish power company, Fortum. It operates two Russian VVER reactors near Loviisa in Finland.

In his lecture, Haye highlighted the difficulties of getting private companies to invest in something as commercially risky as nuclear power. He defended the £89.50 per megawatt hour “strike price” for electricity agreed with the French state nuclear company, EDF, for 35 years. This was essential to secure investment in the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, he argued. The UK is also seeking Chinese investment in the nuclear station, and has signed a memorandum of understanding with China.

According to Haye, securing money from the Chinese was one of the remaining barriers to actually starting work on the Hinkley station. Another was winning agreement from the European Commission that the strike price deal didn’t breach state aid rules. The commission has announced that it is investigating the funding arrangements for Hinkley. Hay said he was about to embark upon a tour of European capitals to try and win backing for the UK’s position.

If Chinese funding was secured and the European Commission gave the go-ahead, the earliest work could start at Hinkley was next year, Haye said. Then it could start generating power by 2023.

A DECC spokesperson said: “Last year Russia and the UK committed to working towards greater co-operation in the field of civil nuclear. It is to be expected that government staff will have discussions about how that might develop. Any new nuclear plants will need to meet stringent UK regulations enforced by independent regulators.”

“The UK actively welcomes inward investment to our energy sector, but any energy company, nuclear or otherwise, that had an interest would need to meet all independent regulatory standards required in the UK and EU.”

Source: The Guardian

EDF to miss its own deadline for Hinkley Point nuclear decision

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

Nuclear power station Rockford IL

EDF is also lobbying strongly against a long-term freeze of the UK’s rising carbon tax, which it fears would make the Hinkley deal look more expensive as well as cutting profits from its existing nuclear plants. Photo: Alamy

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.

Read the full article here

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10688788/EDF-to-miss-its-own-deadline-for-Hinkley-Point-nuclear-decision-as-EC-state-aid-investigation-drags-on.html

Source: Telegraph

Nuclear News Round Up (24th – 28th March 14)

Nuclear News Round Up (13th – 17th Jan 14)

UK nuclear project NuGen to be up and running in 2024

UK nuclear project NuGen to be up and running in 2024

Toshiba will pay £102m for a 60pc stake in NuGen and build a nuclear power station that provides 7pc of the UK’s electricity needs

Nuclear power station Rockford IL

The deal is another step to helping the UK replace its ageing nuclear power stations Photo: Alamy

Britain’s nuclear project NuGen will finally be up and running in 2024, it has been announced.

Toshiba also revealed on Tuesday it will pay £102m for a 60pc stake in NuGen, which will see a new nuclear power plant built in West Cumbria, providing 7pc of the UK’s electricity needs.

The Japanese company will build three nuclear reactors for the project, codenamed Moorside, with a combined capacity of 3.4 gigawatts (GW). This is less than the maximum 3.6GW the Government had predicted could be produced.

It was revealed last month that Toshiba would take a majority stake in joint-venture NuGen, but further details emerged on Tuesday.

The group will buy Iberdrola’s entire 50pc stake for £85m and a further 10pc from French utility GDF Suez for £17m. Toshiba-owned Westinghouse will supply the reactors, while GDF will run the site.

The deal is expected to create thousands of skilled jobs in Britain over the next decade.

Jeffrey Benjamin, senior vice-president of nuclear power plants at Westinghouse, said, “This project supports the UK government’s policy for new nuclear development – the timetable to operation, financial robustness, proven technology and the project’s overall benefit to the UK economy.

“The global expertise and commitment of Toshiba, Westinghouse’s world-leading technology vendor status and GDF Suez’s pioneering expertise as a European nuclear operator are a powerful combination. We know that this plant design is the right choice for the future, the right choice for Cumbria and the UK.”

The deal is another step to helping the UK replace its ageing nuclear power stations, after fellow Japanese company Hitachi bought a nuclear new-build project in 2012.

Britain is one of a few European nations to build new nuclear plants in the wake of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster as it seeks to replace its existing reactors to help cut carbon emissions in its electricity sector.

“The announcement by NuGen and Toshiba and Westinghouse shows that the UK is an attractive destination for investors in new nuclear,” Michael Fallon, Energy Minister, said.

Workers’ union GMB welcomed the announcement for offering benefits to the local community.

However, there are concerns that British taxpayers could be forced to pay billions of pounds in subsidies to energy companies to fund the construction of new power plants.

Last month the European Commission warned that the bill to consumers for EDF’s new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset could hit £17bn, more than the £16bn cost of the plant itself.

A similar deal is expected to be negotiated for the NuGen and Hitachi projects.

Source: The Telegraph

Siemens to supply turbines for UK offshore wind farm

Siemens to supply turbines for UK offshore wind farm

Siemens to supply turbines for UK offshore wind farm

Engineering giant Siemens has won an order to supply and install turbines at a UK wind farm in a deal worth £516 million.

It has signed contracts for the engineering, assembly and service of 67 wind turbines with Statoil, operator of the 400MW Dudgeon offshore wind project.

Located 32km off the coast of Norfolk, it is expected to generate enough clean energy to power around 400,000 households once operational.

Last month the UK Government approved Statoil’s application to reduce the wind farm’s capacity from 560MW.

Read the full article here http://www.energylivenews.com/2014/01/14/siemens-to-supply-turbines-for-uk-offshore-wind-farm/

Source: Energy Live News