Utility companies move into battery storage, not nuclear

Our Local Enterprise Partnership still puts all OUR eggs in the Hinkley C basket (case).

“Britain’s switch to greener energy will take another significant step forward this week with the opening of an industrial-scale battery site in Sheffield.

E.ON said the facility, which is next to an existing power plant and has the equivalent capacity of half a million phone batteries, marked a milestone in its efforts to develop storage for electricity from windfarms, nuclear reactors and gas power stations.

The plant, housed in four shipping containers, is the type of project hailed by the business secretary, Greg Clark, as crucial to transforming the UK’s energy system and making it greener.

At 10MW, the Blackburn Meadows battery is one of the biggest in Britain so far, but will soon be eclipsed by much larger plants.

Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, is building a 49MW facility on the site of a former power station in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, while EDF Energy is working on one of the same size at its West Burton gas power station in Nottinghamshire.

David Topping, the director of business, heat and power solutions at E.ON, said: “This is a milestone for E.ON in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK.”

The utility-scale batteries are being built in response to a request from National Grid, the owner of Britain’s power transmission network, for contracts to help it keep electricity supply and demand in balance, which is posing an increasing challenge for the grid as more intermittent wind and solar comes online. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/09/uk-first-mega-battery-plant-come-online-sheffield-eon-renewable-energy

A test for our LEP: offshore wind power now vastly less expensive than Hinkley C

The Local Enterprise Partnership for Devon and Somerset (Heart of the South West LEP) is investing heavily in Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset.

This is not surprising, as many of its members are making money, now and in the future, in providing services and infrastructure for the massively expensive French/Chinese project. Making THEIR money with OUR money – whether the white elephant gets built or not.

Now we hear that the infrastructure costs of offshore wind power have plummeted – making it much more cost-effective than nuclear power, particularly Hinkley C nuclear power:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/11/huge-boost-renewable-power-offshore-windfarm-costs-fall-record-low

Now, solar energy is operating at zero subsidy and onshore costs for wind power are also falling – and energy storage batteries are also becoming nearer to cost-neutral for homeowners.

So, what is/was our LEP’s Plan B for this eventuality?

Er ….. they don’t need one or want one, because THEIR profits aren’t based on what’s best for us, or what costs least but what’s best for them.

Flooding – the past doesn’t predict the future

“Nearly every major city and town in Europe is built on a river and we protect this urban infrastructure by using past floods as a gauge of the potential risk,” said Mark Maslin, Professor of Climatology at University College London.

“The study shows that this approach underestimates the risk, as climate change has made European floods occur earlier in the year, increasing their potential impact.

“This means all the infrastructure that we have built to protect our cities needs to be reviewed as much of it will be inadequate to protect us from future climate change-induced extreme flooding. … “

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40889934