Energy roundup

A joint venture of Atkins, Mace and Areva has formally signed the £1.72bn contract for the silos direct encapsulation plant project at Sellafield. The AMA joint venture was selected as preferred bidder in April 2014. The silos direct encapsulation plant project involves processing intermediate level waste recovered from one of the oldest nuclear waste silos on the Sellafield site, the Magnox Swarf storage silo, then packaging it for long-term storage.

Longbay Seapower has notified the Planning Inspectorate of its intention to submit a planning application to construct a 21km tidal lagoon covering 72 square kilometres off the coast of West Somerset in the Bristol Channel in 2018. The lagoon, which will be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), involves building a continuous breakwater wall spanning from Culvercliff in Minehead to Lilstock (approximately 21 km long) to create a tidal lagoon and associated electricity generating infrastructure with a generating capacity of circa 2.8GW per annum. According to the developers LongBay SeaPower, in addition to renewable energy generation, the scheme will also act as a sea defence and combat coastal erosion and future flooding.

Nick Winser has been appointed as chairman of the new Energy Catapult, set to open in April 2015. He is currently chair of National Grid Gas and National Grid Electricity Transmission. The catapult’s focus will be on innovative technology-based products and services to transform and improve energy networks – electricity, combustible gases and heat and address the need for sustainable and affordable energy.

The 16 remaining staff at collapsed wave power company Pelamis are to be made redundant after no final offers were made for the business. The firm went into administration last month.Meanwhile construction of the largest planned tidal energy project in the world is expected to begin off the Scottish coast next month, developers have announced. Atlantis, majority owner of the MeyGen project, said it had finalised all of the conditions required to initiate its first drawdown from financiers The Crown Estate and Scottish Enterprise. The project has the potential to power nearly 175,000 homes through a network of 269 turbines on the seabed at Ness of Quoys in Caithness, north-east Scotland. The first power to the national grid is expected to be delivered in 2016.

A 100m tall wind turbine collapsed in light winds last week with reports of the blades spinning out of control. The turbine was one of eight at Screggagh Wind Farm in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. An investigation has been launched.

The finishing date for work to decommission and close the Dounreay nuclear power site in Caithness has been pushed back from 2025 to 2029. Changes in the way radioactive fuel should be handled and a requirement for additional security at nuclear sites has created more work at Dounreay.