Nuclear

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The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has unveiled a “green recovery pathway” for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, whilst creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Meanwhile, politicians and business leaders from the North West, along with SPEN, Cadent and Electricity North West, have launched an “energy masterplan”.
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The Balancing Mechanism – the flexibility market used by National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) to correct imbalances between supply and demand - saw a large influx of smaller participants over 2020, both in terms of the number and capacity of active units, analysis from Cornwall Insight has revealed. The greatest growth came from aggregated units, which more than doubled in number from 20 to 45 as their combined active capacity rose by more than 87 per cent to around 1.7GW.
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A High Court judge has overturned the decision last year by then business and energy secretary, Alok Sharma, to award a development consent order for the 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm being developed by Vattenfall. The judge said the secretary of state had acted unlawfully by failing to provide adequate justification for declining to consider the cumulative impacts of the onshore infrastructure for Norfolk Vanguard and its 1.8GW sister project, Norfolk Boreas, when granting planning permission for the former.
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Latest in Nuclear

EDF’s UK business has seen its EBITDA impacted to the tune of £160 million due to the financial effects of Covid-19, the company’s latest full-year group results show. The company reports that the pandemic has affected “all parts of the business”, mainly its customer division’s performance, with lower electricity usage volumes among business customers and the increase of bad debt provision among the major factors.
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EDF has postponed the expected start date for electricity generation at Hinkley Point C to June 2026 and revealed that construction of the new nuclear plant in Somerset may cost up to £23.7 billion, depending on whether further delays materialise. When the government gave the final go-ahead in September 2016, the power station was expected to cost £18.1 billion to build and start generating electricity at the end of 2025.
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The author of the Cost of Energy Review was one of several names connected with the utilities sector to feature in the Queen's New Year Honours list.
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Low-carbon generation fell year on year in the last quarter, on the back of widespread nuclear outages and a “relatively small” increase in renewable output, according to new government statistics.
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EDF is seeking commercial partners to help develop two projects aimed at demonstrating the potential to use waste heat from nuclear generation to improve the efficiency of hydrogen production and the direct capture of carbon dioxide from atmosphere.  It hopes the pilots will prove the case for the construction of permanent large-scale facilities connected to its proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk, which would together form a new low-carbon energy hub.
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Utility Week’s policy correspondent David Blackman discusses the implications on the utilities sector of Boris Johnson’s plan for a “green industrial revolution”. He assesses the winners and losers from the speech, as well as the areas where question marks remain.
Analysis
EDF has announced it will stop generating power at its Hinkley Point B nuclear plant in Somerset and begin decommissioning the facility by 15 July 2022 – eight months earlier than was previously expected. The company attributed the advanced closure to deterioration in the graphite blocks that make up the cores of its two advanced gas-cooled reactors.
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Utility Week’s Tom Grimwood runs through the events of last week which saw National Grid issue two separate warnings over expected shortfalls in electricity supply and asks whether they are merely the odd blip or the sign of a deeper problem.
Analysis
For the second consecutive day, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has issued an urgent call for more generation, as systems margins tightened. Last night it issued an electricity margin notice for a 466MW shortfall this evening. It followed a warning of a potential 740MW shortfall yesterday, which was eventually withdrawn.
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The CBI has urged Rishi Sunak to create new market subsidy regimes to spur the UK’s fledgling CCUS and hydrogen industries. In its submission to the Treasury’s spending review, the employers’ body has included a raft of measures to spur economic growth that also delivers the UK’s net-zero goals
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