British Government Signs A Deal For New Nuclear Power Plant

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Nuclear: EDF boss quits, French plant closure, Fukushima fallout

EDF’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal has resigned citing Hinkley Point C as his raison de sortir, believing the timing of the £18bn project to be too risky for the French nuclear company.

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato writes that the lack of a formal announcement from Cameron and Hollande on Hinkley is news in itself; if top-level talks like that don’t yield an answer, what will.

Meanwhile France has agreed to close its oldest nuclear plant, Fessenheim, following years of pressure from Switzerland, Germany and environmentalists. France had planned to keep the 40-yr-old plant online longer than previously stated due to delays at the new Flammanville plant (just one example of problems with the EPR reactor, the same type planned for Hinkley).

And in Japan, 5 years on from Fukushima, the former PM has said it’s time to move away from nuclear power, focussing instead on renewable energy.

Oil: Iran is back, Saudi plays price games

The first Iranian oil to be exported to Europe post-sanctions landed yesterday in the Bay of Gibraltar.

Bloomberg reports that the spectre of $20-a-barrel oil is fading as hedge funds pull back on bearish bets.

And as Saudi calls another meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers,Bloomberg Gadfly asks why the kingdom is considering raising the price of oil now when their plan to drive high-cost crude (specifically North American) off the market is doing so well.

Fracking: Hillary vs Bernie, Scottish Labour vs SNP

At the Democratic Debate last night Hillary Clinton said in a very roundabout way that she does not support fracking, a significant shift from her position historically on the subject and a sign perhaps that Bernie Sanders is rubbing off on her.

Sanders’ answer to the question ‘do you support fracking?’ was much shorter: a simple no.

Meanwhile in Scotland, Scottish Labour has accused the SNP of cosying up to the fracking industry, despite SNP’s moratorium on the controversial extraction technique.

India: Solar pays off, coal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

CNN reports that India’s solar push – even despite the WTO-backed US-led setback it faced a few weeks ago – is already paying off, with the cost of solar likely to be lower than coal as early as 2020 (which may even be a conservative estimate).

And a new report shows how Australia’s claim that coal is the answer to rolling out energy access and decreasing poverty in India isn’t necessarily true – renewables could do the job better.

On Energydesk we reported on similar findings about the role of coal in alleviating poverty in China – it’s not quite the saviour it seems to think it is.

In other news

China’s Five Year Plan: China will cap annual energy consumption at 5 billion metric tons of coal equivalent by 2020, according to the 13th Five Year Plan.

Peak emissions: China’s carbon emissions may have peaked already, says climate change economist Lord Stern.

Npower strugglesNpower, the UK subsidiary of German utility RWE, is cutting 2,500 jobs following mass customer exodus.

Front page news: COP15 in Copenhagen got more newspapers talking about climate change than COP21 in Paris did, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that Copenhagen is generally considered to have been a failure.