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Energy investment hamstrung by second nuclear power review

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UNCERTAINTY ABOUT the future of nuclear power is hampering investment in new generation facilties experts warned this week.

Energy giants will hold off investing in new power stations until all the investment options are clear.

This is unlikely to happen until the future of nuclear power is still to be decided.

The government was forced to delay the go-ahed for a new generation of nuclear power stations within last week's Energy White Paper after a High Court judge ordered ministers to reconsult on the need for nuclear power before giving the green light to new nuclear power stations (NCE 22 February).

This consultation was launched with the White Paper.

Former ICE energy board chairman David Anderson said: 'The nuclear agenda will stall investment across the board.

The industry is still waiting for clarity on the options for investment and so will be put off from sinking money into clean coal or gas plants.' He added: 'Utility companies want to make a healthy return for their shareholders and so want to make the right judgements. But at the moment this is distracted by the fact that eight nuclear power stations might be on the cards.

'Worse than that is if nuclear fails as an investment option and if the utility companies haven't moved forward then we could be left with the energy gap unplugged.' This warning came as BP announced it was abandoning its carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at Peterhead It said the government had postponed a competition to develop technology to capture carbon from fossil fuels until November.

The £500M scheme would have created hydrogen from natural gas and used that to generate electricity. The carbon captured during this process would have been sent back into the Millerfield in the North Sea.

BP said mothballing the scheme to in with the new time table would have been too costly. Had it been successful the project would have generated 350 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, enough to power a quarter of a million homes. It would also have permanently stored 1.3M tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing 300,000 cars from the roads.

Proposed renewable generation banding regime Band Technologies Level of support ROCs/MWh Established Sewage gas; landll gas; co-ring of non energy crop.

0.25 Reference Onshore wind; hydro; co-ring of energy crops; energy from waste with combined heat and power 1.0 Post demonstration Offshore wind; dedicated biomass 1.5 Emerging technologies Wave; tidal; photovoltaics; geothermal 2.0

New banding system for Renewable Obligation Certicates: Engineers called for microgeneration to be included in the Renewable Obligation Certicate (ROC) scheme after the government published a new banding system for renewable power sources in the White Paper. The system backs 'riskier' technologies to make them more attractive for inspectors.

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