Thursday, December 13, 2012

Get Fracking!

Boris Johnson is here speaking some sense about fracking.

The extraction process alone would generate tens of thousands of jobs in parts of the country that desperately need them. And above all, the burning of gas to generate electricity is much, much cleaner – and produces less CO2 – than burning coal. What, as they say, is not to like?
 I do love his view of the eco-doomsters:
In their mad denunciations of fracking, the Greens and the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news. Beware this new technology, they wail. Do not tamper with the corsets of Gaia! Don’t probe her loamy undergarments with so much as a finger — or else the goddess of the earth will erupt with seismic revenge. Dig out this shale gas, they warn, and our water will be poisoned and our children will be stunted and our cattle will be victims of terrible intestinal explosions.


DrBMBridge said...

Sadly it's hard to know "what's not to like" as both sides have engaged in some stupidity in trying to make their case, for example:
I'd love it to be as positive as the proponents make out but no one has approached it objectively or done any really rigorous research to show what the real benefit vs. harm picture might look like.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

cheaper energy sources out there. you don't need to rip up the scenery for elusive gas price spike (it has NOT come down in the US).

Anonymous said...

I'm all for it if they apply the same strict engineering practice and oversight they do with other industries in the uk (such as they do in the nuclear and oil and gas industries). It is cleaner and fairly abundant and the technology behind it is now well established. Lets face it, we need to get our energy from somewhere and why not here? It's good that we have another option and we don't limit ourselfs to one or two forms of energy (like Japan did to some extent). It will happen, you don't really get a say (because we need to keep the lights and heat on otherwise brown outs WILL happen) so I suggest we get used to it and solve any problems that arise in the unavoidable search for alternative energy sources.

Thud said...

Loamy undergarments, worth reading just for that.

Alex Cull said...

Boris does have a great way with words, doesn't he! Also he seems to have aligned himself with the pragmatic end of the green spectrum, which may turn out to be a canny move. I think he's right about fracking, for a number of reasons; even Ed Davey last week was saying that natural gas will be needed for the foreseeable future and using our own supplies would be better from an energy security point of view.

It is difficult to see what other energy source can fill the energy gap left by the threatened closure of old power stations, the long time needed to develop new nuclear and the current inadequacy of renewables. Looking at the UK National Grid status right this minute, for instance, UK demand is about 48GW, with coal providing 20GW, gas (CCGT) about 14GW, nuclear about 7GW, wind about 2.5GW (that's actually quite good for wind) and the rest made up of other bits and bobs like pumped storage and the interconnectors. Typically, coal does much of the heavy lifting, along with gas and nuclear - the greens hate coal and most of them dislike nuclear, so if they shun gas as well, that's over 85% of current demand that would have to be - somehow - met in other ways!

Neal Asher said...

DrBMBridge, Fracking has caused no real problems in the US, when weighed against the benefits. If you believe in the CO2 myth then the US is back to 1990 levels and, apparently, energy prices are plummeting. I'm also a little confused about your 'approached it objectively'. Gas companies wouldn't be enthusiastic about investing in fracking if it wasn't going to be profitable.

Vaude, then you're the only one saying that and perhaps that's because the savings haven't come to you. As for this 'tearing up the landscape' I'd say that a small surface installation does that somewhat less than rows of windmills, the power stations required to back them up and the mining and pollution in China, and fields covered in solar panels.

Paul, I'm guessing that the people researching 'sustainable' energy solutions would also like the computers and lights in their laboratories to stay on. I don't see us developing such tech while our whole system is collapsing because there's no power.

Yes, nice turn of phrase, Thud.

It hasn't really got bad yet, Alex, but the Labour government's complete head-in-sand attitude to our power supply during their time in office, and the coalition silliness now is sure to catch up. Let's see how 'green' some people are when they're emptying rotting food out of their freezers or watching the paramedic unsticking granny from her kitchen floor.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

in California: No direct notification to people with homes or drinking water wells next to fracking wells: Oil and gas companies need only give state regulators 10 days’ notice of their fracking plans, and regulators need only give the public three days’ notice that fracking will occur by posting information to a website.

Huge “Trade Secrets” loophole allows well operators to avoid disclosing use of dangerous fracking chemicals: Oil and gas companies could avoid disclosure merely by claiming that maintaining the secrecy of their chemical formulas gives them a competitive advantage. Health professionals would be required to sign a confidentiality agreement before obtaining the information to treat patients harmed by fracking chemicals.

-----------welcome delish ethylene. Halliburton, destroy everything, get paid to clean up.

Live for films said...

The Gasland documentary is worth a watch as it talks about the process used over in the US.

Trailer is here

LarryS said...

Yea well if Boris Johnson approves of it then it must be ok! It can cause earth tremors but hey, not where I live!
We need to stop depending on fossil fuels and get with the 21st century!!

Neal Asher said...

Live for films - I wouldn't call Gasland a documentary.

Larry, the technology simply isn't there. Would you prefer people to die while we make the change? Especially when there's no point:

LarryS said...

But the technology is there! We could all have cars that dont burn fuel but noone in the higher eschelons wants that because oil brings in too much money!

Neal Asher said...

Precisely what cars are they, Larry?

Alex Cull said...

Cuadrilla's earth tremors were 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale, and to put them in perspective, on Friday evening last week (14th Dec) there was an earthquake of magnitude 3.0 near Chichester in West Sussex, which seems not to have triggered much of a panic.

In fact here you can find a record of the dozen or so quakes that have struck Britain over the last 50 days (many of them in the western Scottish Highlands, where they must be quite used to it.)

Anything up to about 3.0 (or maybe a little higher) wouldn't bother me too much, having lived in for years in Tokyo, where they often have rather bigger ones. So they're quite welcome to come and frack some gas in my part of London - we have so much noise and congestion here already that probably no-one would ever notice!

The Great Roberto said...

"The extraction process alone would generate tens of thousands of jobs in parts of the country that desperately need them."

Jobs are a cost. Energy would be even cheaper if we didn't have to employ expensive humans to work the drills.

Which is exactly why, Larry, the "higher eschelons" would be all over fuel-less perpetual motion cars if they existed. All that money and no expensive and annoying employees!

Other than that, Boris is bang on. The good news is we have enough fossil fuel for the next few hundred years while we do figure out the next technology. The political will will be there once the rolling blackouts start, so I don't see things getting much worse than that.