Brown coal-fuelled Hazelwood power station in Melbourne, Australia
Brown coal-fuelled Hazelwood power station in Melbourne, Australia

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Nuclear: Fallout from Hinkley decision delay

At the behest of the French government, EDF has purchased a controlling share in the troubled nuclear reactor company Areva, The FT reports.

The deal is yet another blow for the controversial Hinkley power plant project, with EDF already struggling to raise the funds for it.

It comes as the board chose to delay the final decision until mid-February following a challenge from management union, which published a list of 15 outstanding questions about the project.

Nick Butler at The FT delves into the implications of the latest delay, which he deems ‘the most serious’ because it indicates the project is uneconomic for investors as well as consumers.

The Guardian’s business desk details how EDF holds in its hands the reputation of Chancellor George Osborne.

The Carbon Brief sees further delays to Hinkley as affecting the UK’s ability to meet its carbon budgets.

Reuters reports that, as part of the Areva arrangement, EDF has signed a preliminary deal to build six nuclear power plants in India; it has been called ‘the world’s biggest nuclear contract’.

Meanwhile China, emboldened by its role in the Hinkley project, has announced its intention to build 40 nuclear power plants in the next 5 years, reports The Times.

At the launch of a white paper on tackling nuclear emergencies, the country’s lead nuclear official outlined the government’s intention to develop floating offshore reactors, and would not rule out placing them in the disputed waters of the South China Sea,reports Strait Times.

Oil & Gas: Shell and BG Group to go ahead with mega-merger

Crude oil prices are hovering just below $33 a barrel after Russia teased the prospect of coordinating with OPEC on global supply strategy, reports Reuters.

Though a marked improvement from where it was just a week ago, the oil market is still pretty depressed.

To help cope with the ongoing price crisis, David Cameron will fly to Aberdeen to announce a £250m package to prop up the North Sea oil industry, reports The FT.

But Shell has not been deterred, with its shareholders electing to approve the company $49bn takeover of BG Group, reports the BBC.

The Telegraph has written up why the deal is viewed in many quarters as a gamble.

Coal: Australian assets ‘one of the riskiest investments in the world’

A report from Oxford University lists Australian coal mines among the riskiest investment in the world, reports The Guardian.

Projects such as Adani’s Carmichael mega-mine are seen as especially vulnerable because of both environmental factors and falling global coal imports.

Meanwhile the US coal glut will persist despite mine closures and company bankruptcies, Bloomberg explains.

In other news

UN: Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon challenged investors around the world to double their investments in clean energy by 2020, reports the Associated Press.

EU: The European Commission has outlined a plan to overhaul car emissions tests in the wake of the VW scandal, Politico breaks it down.

US: The Senate is set to debate today a bipartisan bill to modernise the country’s energy infrastructure, reports the New York Times.

Meanwhile California regulators will decide how much money people with rooftop solar panels will get for providing energy to the grid, according to Bloomberg.

UK: Big 6 utility SSE has announced it will cut consumer energy bills by an average of 5.3%, reports ITV.

And finally, CleanTechnica covers an energy analyst predicting that the UK will have 1GW worth of energy storage by 2020.