Gas enables renewables. Cheaper gas accelerates them

faster cheaperThis chart from the US EIA leads to three conclusions

  1. Environmentalist fears that shale gas causes a lock out of renewable investment are groundless.
  2. Considering US prices are only 45% of the cost of UK/EU natural gas, could it in fact be that cheap gas actually enables cheap renewables?
  3. When thinking about climate and need to reduce CO2, environmentalist opposition to natural gas in Europe is counter-productive and increases CO2, not reduces it.

Continue reading Gas enables renewables. Cheaper gas accelerates them

UK Shale: Worth the Wait?

bus stopSometimes, as the fable goes, the tortoise beats the hare. While we’re not going to beat the US anytime,  we may see some good come out of the UK’s interminable shale process after all. This could mean an acceleration of UK shale development using technological developments unthought of when the first resources of the Bowland Shale were hinted at five years ago.

This could lead to UK shale development, founded on a stringent but fair license regime supported by national and local government producing faster, better and cheaper. Perhaps we haven’t wasted the past five years after all. In some ways, everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong in the UK, but at the same time in the US everything went almost impossibly right. Production has increased prodigiously in the US to levels undreamt of by even the most optimistic. At the same time, production costs and impacts just keep on getting better. This is an example of recent developments as shown by just one of many US operators, Concho Resources, active in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico:

Continue reading UK Shale: Worth the Wait?

Smog or Smug. Too good to be true energy stories.

Holier Than Thou cover-1170
Is smug is as dangerous as smog in the climate debate?

All too often we see press stories about energy or climate that exaggerate the utility of various cool and sexy sounding technologies. The inference left unsaid is carbon fuels, efficiency and energy in general are no longer a big issue, so, as we saw in the UK in the past, let’s call the whole fracking thing off. Who needs fossil fuels? Leave them in the ground. The same also goes for efficiency. We don’t need smart meters, electricity will soon be too cheap to meter.

Worst of all, it trivialises energy and thus climate. It’s so easy that any effort at all isn’t needed. We can just go ahead and energy falls from the sky.  

Continue reading Smog or Smug. Too good to be true energy stories.