Category Archives: Energy

New article in the Chatham House journal “The World Today”

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/twt/august-27-1956-all-systems-glow August 27, 1956: All systems glow –  Simon Taylor on the opening of Britain’s Calder Hall nuclear power station It’s nearly 60 years since the UK switched on the first full scale nuclear power station in the world, Calder Hall, in the north west of England. My article explains how it came about. Continue Reading

Letter from Guangxi

The second week of my recent China trip was spent in the hot, green and rapidly developing southern province of Guangxi. * My trips to China are usually to the Tier 1 cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and more rarely to Guangzhou. In these places you see the full achievement of the country’s remarkable economic development.… Continue Reading

Some modestly good news in the energy world

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy was published last week. It contains two pieces of particularly encouraging information. First. in 2015 coal demand fell sharply. Second, carbon emissions from energy rose at the slowest rate for 25 years (other than the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis). The report is summarised by BP’s group chief… Continue Reading

Tragedy or comedy? The story of nuclear power in the UK

Here is the main version of the talk I’ve given about my book on the history of nuclear power in Britain. I’ve given (or will give) versions at:  China Center for Energy Economics, Xiamen University; Pangoal think tank, Beijing; Cambridge University Energy Network; Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group; Cambridge Judge Business School; the British Academy,… Continue Reading

Further thoughts on the Hinkley Point C nuclear project

In recent weeks I’ve written two articles explaining why I believe that the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power project should be abandoned (though it still seems at present reasonably likely that the French government will proceed). The Guardian: Hinkley Point is a costly mistake, but only France can pull the plug Prospect Magazine: The folly of… Continue Reading

Why Hinkley Point C is in trouble

The world’s most expensive power station project, a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C in the UK, still hasn’t reached financial close, despite backing from the UK, French and Chinese governments. It might be best for the UK if it never does. The full story is told in my new book The Fall and… Continue Reading

Why nuclear?

Nuclear energy brings a lot of problems but it is a necessary part of the fight against climate change * I recently did a webinar about the planned new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, based on part of my forthcoming book The Fall and Rise of Nuclear Power in Britain – A… Continue Reading

Interview in China Daily on the possible Chinese investment in new British nuclear plant

UK nuclear plant may be a game changer  China Daily is an English language newspaper, available in many hotels in China and published abroad. It’s often seen as a window (sometimes a rather opaque one) into Chinese government thinking, as it comments on policy, often in a fairly critical way. I was interviewed in Beijing… Continue Reading

Natural gas is not (yet) a global commodity

A global commodity, in economic or investment terms, is a standardised, homogeneous good that sells for the same price everywhere, subject to transport costs and tax. Oil is the classic global commodity. A chart from the IMF World Economic Outlook, just published in October 2014, shows that natural gas isn’t. But it probably will become more… Continue Reading

What makes nuclear power different?

I recently took part in an interesting one day workshop at Churchill College on the future of nuclear power. My small contribution was a short presentation that tries to identify what it is that makes nuclear power currently all but impossible to finance through conventional private finance. I argue that it’s not the scale, capital… Continue Reading