Energy roundup

RenewableUK, the wind, wave and tidal energy trade association, says figures from the International Monetary Fund show that fossil fuels are still getting billions of pounds in subsidies every year from the UK Government while it is cutting financial support for renewable energy. The IMF figures include the costs of air pollution and the impact of climate change caused by fossil fuels. An IMF survey, “How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies?” shows that the UK’s fossil fuel sector is receiving subsidies of more than £26 billion this year - more than £400 per person living in this country. The IMF states that this is 1.4% of UK GDP. For comparison, UK spending on defence is 2.1% of GDP. The cost of supporting all renewable energy technologies in 2014/15 is £3.5 billion according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. 

US giant Bechtel and Japanese firm JGC Corporation are reported to be  lined up to build the new Wylfa nuclear power station on the Isle of Anglesey. Developer Horizon said it was talking to the two firms about forming a delivery team for the project.

The Oil & Gas Authority has announced 27 onshore fracking blocks from the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round will be formally offered to companies. A second group of 132 further blocks has been subjected to detailed assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, the findings of which are now out for consultation. Subject to the outcome of that consultation, the OGA will announce offers for the second group of licence blocks later in the year. The licences for all offered blocks will then be granted after the terms and conditions have been finalised.

RenewableUK is warning that Government changes to the Feed-in Tarrif programme will in the long term scare away many people and in the short term create market chaos. The UK Government is reducing support across technologies and setting a cap on the number of schemes supported each quarter. But these limits will be hard to understand in advance, so increase the risk for anyone applying for support, the organisation said.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has refused Development Consent for the Navitus Bay Wind Park close to the Jurassic Coast natural world heritage site. The decision supports the recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate. The decision was criticised as a “missed opportunity” by RenewableUK The 970MW project was proposed to be built in the English Channel 13.4 miles off the coast from Bournemouth and 10.9 miles from the western tip of the Isle of Wight. It would have powered 700,000 homes a year.

Dogger Bank offshore wind farm in the North Sea – the biggest offshore wind project in the world - has gained planning consent from the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd. Dogger Bank Teesside A&B will have an installed capacity of up to 2.4 gigawatts (GW) - enough to power the annual electricity needs of two million British homes. Each site will host up to 200 turbines installed in an area of seabed of around 600km2, located 102 miles from the north east coast of England at its closest point.  The Teesside project is equal in size to the world’s largest previously consented project, Dogger Bank Creyke Bank (also up to 2.4GW) situated alongside it, which gained consent in February 2015.

Plans by Vattenhall to build a 20 turbine wind farm on land owned by Sir James Dyson at Nocton Fen in Lincolnshire have been dropped. The turbines would hae been the tallest in England at 149.5m and local campaigners feared they would block views of Lincoln catherdral. Strength of local opposition convinced the developer to walk away now that planning rules have changed to give local communities the final say on whether schemes can go ahead.The turbines would have had a combined capacity of up to 68 megawatts – equalling the power of the biggest wind farm in England.

Two gas-fired power plants have been approved for construction. They are being developed by Progress Power in Eye, Suffolk, and by Hirwaun Power, near Aberdare in South Wales. Both will supply electricity when there is a surge in demand, or where there is a sudden drop in power being generated from other power plants. Construction is due to start in 2017 for completion in 2019.

Subsidies for new wind farms including offshore wind farms, and solar power plants are set to be cut as official figures reveal that schemes will need £1.5bn more in subsidies than anticipated, the Daily Telegraph reports. The decision is expected to be announced this week.

Government is looking to cut renewable energy subsidies to reduce the price of the bills the public pays for its power. This includes removing the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions and co-firing projects for the duration of the Renewable Obligation and launching a consultation on controlling subsidies for solar PV of 5MW and below under the Renewables Obligation. “Long-term policy certainty is a key enabler in our transition to a low carbon economy and meeting our legal obligations under the Climate Change Act. This moving of the goalposts could well hamper investment in renewables, and has the potential to inadvertently increase the cost of clean energy,” said Engineering Industries Commission deputy public affairs director Sam Ibbott.