August is the traditional peak of the silly season when the UK media uses any number of tenuous, out dated or too often, simply bored attempts to feed the maw of the media machinery. With audience and grown ups away, the field is opened up to a new crop of writers misguided enough to still see some romance in the formerly noble métier of journalism. Many of them are “interns”, or what anyone in most jobs recognise as “slaves”, but the alleged riches of “making a difference” drag them in every summer. Continue reading No Deathbed Conversion: My view on onshore UK gas
Ireland recently decided to ban shale gas , adding to a small list of paragons, mostly with little to no shale potential such as Wales and Vermont which shale opponents often cite to those who wish to explore more prospective areas such as New York State, Lancashire and London. Green Party Senator O’Sullivan was quoted as saying:
“Our current energy policy is nothing less than a complete contradiction, a policy that can only lead to one conclusion: we should keep the petroleum in the ground.”
No kidding Senator: with unseemly haste, within a month, rather proving Senator O’Sullivan’s point Ireland also decided to start importing it. Continue reading Within not even a month: The breathtaking hypocrisy of Ireland and shale gas
Elsewhere on this site is a Top Ten Shale Gas Myths that has been up for so long some of the oldies but goodies are getting moldy. Time for a refresh and let’s replace the old number one with a new number one. The previous chart topper “My Water Will Catch on Fire” never gets airtime anymore. It was a 2009 one hit wonder from Gasland, and not even the most uninformed opponents repeat it anymore.
The new number one is a strange one. Although it’s often used by opponents, the issue itself is used by even those who profess neutrality or even support shale. So into number one with a rocket is
“UK shale gas will never happen due to public opposition”.
As with the other myths, this is something that everyone insists is true but for which we can only find scant evidence. It’s noteworthy that while one would expect opponents to cite it, the issue is how this gets into the “conventional” wisdom.
My recent experience with London Local Energy is one part of the evidence. I’m bemused how the LLE story, which according to the Conventional Wisdom would be met with universal condemnation, has in fact been basically ignored.
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”[
The curious incident in the shale “debate” was the yawn with which the press received the news. (Here I remind readers that London Local Energy is far more than just myself). It was especially curious because we had spoken to several journalists across a spectrum of outlets and all professed interest. Several blamed their editors, who sit above the journos and especially in the UK profess to represent the concerns of the readership. That was true whether the outlet is usually pro or anti shale. Even if anti shale papers were uncomfortable rebutting LLE’s climate narrative , the opposite should be true. One would think the right wing press would hop on the story to beat up climate activists. Neither side of the debate barked.
Does the subjective notion, that public opposition is strong enough to make UK shale un-investable, have no more objective facts than those of fiery taps or the other myths? Certainly the whole shale debate is becoming a huge bore to the mainstream media. Even Greenpeace’s Energy Desk wasn’t interested enough to report on the arrest of ten of their own activists in Lancashire on May 7.
Drill or Drop quoted above is the drop in site for UK shale drilling news, but even the redoubtable Ruth Hayhurst can only draw 884 subscribers to her email list and I’m sure at least a hundred are shale drillers themselves.
Companies hoping to take part in the Government’s promised fracking “revolution” have been “finding it a challenge” to get finance from British banks.
According to minutes of a meeting between the industry and a Government minister, some firms were “struggling” or “suffering”.
They added that some conventional oil and gas projects had been “affected by protests as well”, according to the civil servant’s notes.
I put it to the Conventional Wisdom, the same CW who didn’t see the emergence of US shale, US shale oil, surging efficiency, falling carbon intensity in China and last but not least the huge success of wind and sun power over the past five years, that they’ve missed the boat on the UK fracking opposition evaporates trend too?
If anyone wants to prove this wrong, please add your name to the petition to ban “fracking” in London. At 150 signatures over three weeks, it needs all the help it can get, being unable to beat other causes such as the 186 opponents to closing a pub in Hitchin.
One of Labour’s manifesto commitments is to nationalise energy supply. As a potential producer London Local Energy don’t have any skin in that game and remain neutral. But in the case of UK on- and off-shore oil and gas, the energy itself is already nationalised and has been since 1934- a policy success that some in Labour may not realise they had achieved.
All UK oil and gas is thus Crown property. The idea that greedy “frackers” simply want to make money is thus a little more nuanced. What we want is what you want: That the people’s resources are distributed fairly.
If LLE were allowed to explore, and then discover natural gas, the value of that gas would be taxed at roughly 50% via national and borough taxes and charges to the community. Continue reading For the many, not the few. A decision for the many, not the FoE.
In Yorkshire, Louise Hammond is so concerned that shale will industrialise the landscape that she traveled to Lancashire and got arrested there to prevent it.
This is the second part of the post I recently did for MyGridGB. Only the title has changed:
The demonstrably perverse outcome of environmental opposition to UK onshore gas.
One could simply jump to the end of this post to get the point: The lowest carbon natural gas is inarguably the nearest natural gas. If the UK continues to use natural gas, as it undoubtedly will for at least the next 15 years in generation and longer in heat, why choose to use high carbon natural gas?
The carbon intensity (CI) of UK electricity generation has been studied relentlessly, but little is known about the CI of natural gas. Much of this is due to both the physical nature of gas and how the provenance of UK natural gas is hard to define at any one point in time in a dynamic, constantly evolving marketplace. This from British Gas should be updated to 2016 figures of 79 BCM, mostly due to gas replacing coal, but the trends remain broadly true:
This was originally posted at MyGridGB. Part 2, titled “The inarguably perverse outcome of environmental opposition to UK onshore gas” will be up there shortly.
Although the concept of a dynamic level of carbon intensity in electricity is well known to readers of My Grid, natural gas has been left out of the equation, much the same as natural gas has been lumped, excuse the pun, alongside coal and oil as ‘just another fossil fuel’.
Natural gas has a wide range of Carbon Intensity (CI) even within the UK gas grid. The second part of this post will demonstrate how significant that is and how onshore natural gas in the UK is not a threat to emissions but the opposite: A way forward to decarbonise, as much as possible, UK natural gas supply. But first, we have to talk about gas in general and try to understand the antipathy some UK greens have against it.
Firstly as this chart from the International Energy Agency shows, natural gas is responsible for less than 20% of world carbon emissions from energy combustion. Natural gas is not perfect. But it’s not perfectly evil either. Continue reading Are there advantages of UK onshore natural gas?
Sometime soon, the UK will import LNG produced from US shale gas. Shale gas is over 60% of all US production, and over 90% of new wells use the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. It is no longer “unconventional” or “controversial” and is predicted to provide 70% of global natural gas production by 2040.
US LNG will have a carbon intensity (CI) approaching, and possibly exceeding that of coal when used in electricity generation. But gas from everywhere else – even as close as the UK North Sea- will also have a demonstrably higher CI. In short, the opposition of groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and The Green Party to local production of UK onshore natural gas, contrary to what they strongly believe, causes significant increases in CO2 emissions on a local, national and global basis. Continue reading UK onshore natural gas is the lowest carbon natural gas possible: Shop Local First
This may not be the last post at No Hot Air, but it will be close enough. Within the next few weeks I’ll be concentrating on London Local Energy, and I may or may not have a blog there.
Going through a new door is a good time to understand what has happened in the past. I’ve had a ringside seat at the greatest energy transformation since the light bulb. I’ve been here talking about shale before anyone had ever heard of Josh Fox and Gasland. I was here when the “conventional” industry said shale would never work: it was too expensive, the decline rates were too high, it was just a flash in the pan.
Here’s a story based on cultural anthropology, the study of human cultures. Culture is bottom up. The story of man is from individuals to families, to bands, to groups, to villages, to tribes, to cities to countries – and today to the world.
Deep in the Amazon rain forest there still remain uncontacted tribes, human who by choice or geography have no contact with the outside world. Some are near natural gas reserves: