The Scottish Government outlawed underground coal gasification (UCG) after a new report said it posed “serious environmental risks”. Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs the controversial technique would have “no place in Scotland’s energy mix at this time”.
Energy firm Cluff Natural Resources planned to spend more than £250 million building the UK’s first deep offshore UCG plant at Kincardine in Fife, creating hundreds of jobs. It claimed the process could be worth £5.7 billion but shelved the proposals after the SNP Government imposed a moratorium last October.
Mr Wheelhouse said the report identified problems such as soil contamination, the exposure of workers to toxins after operational failures and the production of greenhouse gases, which would make it more difficult to hit green targets. It also found current regulations are “insufficiently clear and would need to be improved to protect the environment, public health and workers’ health and safety”
Cluff Natural Resources, which has moved the focus of its business to the north of England, said the ban was “disappointing” and insisted the industry could be developed safely “under rigorous scrutiny”. Andrew Nunn, its chief operating officer, added: “We have no doubt that UCG will be developed elsewhere in the world and the opportunity for Scotland to benefit from first mover advantage will have been lost.”
US Engineering firm KBR has signed a project management services deal on the £18 billion Hinkley Point C project. KBR will provide project management services including site operations management, contract management and materials tracking for the energy scheme, which Involves over 100 international suppliers and contractors.
Speaking after signing the Contract for Difference, Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Signing the Contract for Difference for Hinkley Point C Is a crucial moment in the UK’s first new nuclear power station for a generation and follows new measures put In place by Government to strengthen security and ownership. “Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear power stations like Hinkley play an important part in ensuring our future low-carbon energy security”.
Wind power output in Scotland rose by more than a third in September compared with the same time last year, according to renewable energy analysts. WeatherEnergy also estimated it was the first time all of Scotland’s electricity needs had been met by wind on two days in a month.
The company said turbines provided the equivalent of 127% of demand on 24 September and 107% on the 29 September.
WeatherEnergy said its analysis Indicated wind turbines in Scotland provided 766,116 MWh of electricity to the National Grid – a 36% increase compared with September 2015 and enough to meet the electrical needs of 87% of Scotland’s 2.1 million homes.
The company behind the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon power project is planning to build a new factory for making turbines. Tidal Lagoon Power has launched a tender for the design and construction of a £22m turbine manufacturing & pre-assembly plant in Swansea Bay.
The 100-metre long factory will be between the Kings and Queens Dock at Swansea Bay. It will receive major turbine components from manufacturers across the UK, with all machining and pre-assembly of the sixteen 7.2-metre runner diameter turbines required by the tidal lagoon taking place on site. It will also be a manufacturing base for further tidal lagoons that the company plans around the country.
According to a report published by Tidal Lagoon Power, the potential value of the tidal lagoon sector to UK industry is:
Domestic market for tidal lagoon turbines and Generators: £17bn
Domestic market for Made in Britain tidal lagoon turbine housings: £24bn
Exports to international tidal lagoon market: £30bn.
Tidal Lagoon Power chief executive Marie Shorrock summoned patriotic fervour for his project. This report captures the hard work of today’s industrialists to ensure tidal lagoons are British-engineered, that the manufacturing supply chain is British, and that we seize and own what can be a £70bn sector for this nation,” he said. “It is an extraordinary opportunity”.
Sajid Javid has overturned Lancashire county council’s rejection of a fracking site, paving the way shale company Cuadrilla to drill in the county next year and drawing outrage from local groups. Javid deferred a decision on the second site, at Roseacre Wood, to give Cuadrilla more time to provide evidence on road traffic issues and to allow other parties to make further representations.
Cuadrilla has said that April 2017 is the earliest date at which drilling will begin. Francis Egan, the company’s chief executive, argued that the UK needed domestically produced gas. Britain’s shale gas industry has won a big victory after the government over-turned local council objections to a Lancashire fracking scheme, clearing the way for the first drilling since an earthquake halted exploration five years ago.
The communities’ secretary said shale gas had “the potential to power economic growth, support 64,000 jobs, and provide a new domestic energy source, making us less reliant on imports”. Mr Javid ruled that Cuadrilla Resources should be allowed to drill four horizontal wells at its Preston New Road site near Blackpool, the first time permission has been granted in the UK for a form of fracking that would extend beneath homes.
Geological surveys have indicated sizeable shale gas resources in England across large parts of the north, the Midlands and the south-east. However, there remain big economic and geological obstacles, and many analysts are sceptical of the UK’s ability to replicate the US shale gas boom.