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News from the UK Power Industry 19th February 2019

Posted by: James Turner
Industry News

Is Cumbria placed to lead the charge as Nuclear industry favours SMR's?

The UK houses 15 nuclear reactors which generate 21% of its electricity. But almost half of this capacity is set to be retired by 2025 as large reactors come to the end of their lifespan. Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland Borough Council, believes that the future of nuclear power is not to build grand-scale reactors but rather put the focus on constructing multiple smaller facilities instead.

While larger reactors aim to lower costs through economy of scale, SMRs would focus on economy of numbers. “Constructing single or incremental SMRs on existing nuclear-licensed sites where an industrial power requirement is currently dependent on fossil fuel, is surely a credible, sensible and more sustainable way to power the UK and beyond,” explained Harrison.

As large-scale nuclear projects encounter barriers with funding (the recent suspension of construction at Wylfa being a prime example) and reactors are decommissioned, Harrison strongly believes the answer is to replace them with a higher quantity of smaller reactors: “It’s a case of multiples – the more we build, the cheaper they get.”

Over one third of the UK’s nuclear workforce (some 27,000 people) live in the county of Cumbria, so it’s only natural that future advances to the industry would bear fruit from the area. “In my Copeland constituency we have an indisputable capability,” Harrison commented. “Nowhere else in Europe could you find such a concentration of knowledge and skills.” Full stories here & here.

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EON & Audi to build Europe’s largest PV System

Audi and EON have combined forces to build Europe’s largest photovoltaic system on top of Audi’s logistic centres in Hungary. Covering 160,000 square metres and housing 35,000 solar cells, the park will boast a peak output of 12MW and have an annual output of more than 9.5 GHw of electricity.

“Our goal is to have completely CO2-neutral plant operation in the future,” commented Audi Hungary chairman Achim Heinfling. “With the construction of the solar-cell park, we are now taking a further step to achieve this in terms of power supply. By 2030, we want all our production sites to be climate neutral.”

EON is set to begin construction in August 2019 and be fully operational early 2020. Full story.

UK Wind Farms generate 40% of the UK Power

On Sunday 17th February 2019 UK wind farms contributed nearly 40% to the UK’s power consumption. Turbines in the UK produced 238 GWh of power which equated to 39.66% of all electricity in the country, putting it far ahead of all other energy sources. CCGT shared in 27% of the output, while nuclear produced 24%.
Wind power continues to thrive across the industry as more and more key companies highlight the importance of renewable energy. Only last week we reported on how the UK industry capitalised on the recent influx of blustery weather. Full story.

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