Archive for October, 2013

The Government today announced that an agreement has been reached for construction of new nuclear at Hinckley Point in Somerset.

The big sticking point had been the strike price (guaranteed buy price for generated electricity), which has ended up at whopping 9.2p/kWh, or 8.9p if the developers also build another plant at Sizewell C.

The most telling aspect of the press release is DECC’s reluctance to mention all the investors. They can bring themselves to name EdF, the biggest part of the investor consortium. EdF have such a strong UK brand that we’ve all forgotten they’re French.

But only buried at the bottom of the press release does it mention that a Chinese company is likely to be EdF’s partner on the project.

Instead they insist on referring to the project as “Home Grown Energy.” Which is awesome doublespeak. The plant will be owned by France and China. The fuel (which will be mined, obviously, not grown) will come from Kazakhstan, Australia, Canada or Namibia.

Nothing homegrown about that.

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I’ve been talking to an electricity aggregator this week, exploring possibilities for getting better value for the electricity from small combined heat and power units (CHPs). This is important because better value for electricity = lower tariffs to the homes using the heat.

We were looking specifically at using these CHPs to take strain off the local grid during times of extraordinary demand. Having this spare capacity available in an emergency is worth a hell of a lot to the DNO, who runs the local network. In fact, for each megawatt of generation capacity, you might get paid several tens of thousands of pounds each year.

So what do you have to do to get paid? Just be ready to generate electricity at short notice. They’ll probably only call you 6 or 10 times each year, and probably only need you for an hour or so each time. Easy.

At last! The benefits of producing energy locally get some recognition, right? Well… no.


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