New uses for abundant natural gas. Something to purr about.

abundancePrior to the shale revolution, natural gas was an expensive premium fuel. Now there’s so much of it, some smart people are thinking about alternate uses.

We already know about natural gas transportation for trucks, buses and fleets. Up to forty percent of oil use comes from only five percent of vehicles. Using natural gas to replace either gasoline or diesel makes perfect sense to reduce pollution, cost, noise and CO2. Except in London apparently, where despite an extra 9500 deaths, The Guardian would prefer both natural gas and bodies are kept in the ground and others prefer everyone to get on their bike. London Local Energy will be pushing natural gas transportation big time, so for now, we’ll leave it alone and talk about some other exciting technology at various stages of development.

Continue reading New uses for abundant natural gas. Something to purr about.

The UK Energy Do Nothing Club.

donothingAnother year, another chance to compare what has happened in the UK versus the USA.

It was August 2008 when I first talked about shale gas here, almost the first anywhere in Europe outside of the oil press. Cuadrilla had just received their license, and Peter Turner, Mark Miller and Chris Cornelius and others wanted to get the gas out of the rocks that Peter Turner thought was there. By 2011 they were drilling wells and getting some amazing core samples. But the resources have stayed under the ground.  

It’s pretty depressing to think that almost 2600 days later, not a single UK shale molecule has been produced. That’s even worse when considering the UK’s involvement in WW2 was less than 2190 days. But those were the days when the country could do things. Today, we couldn’t get planning permission for Dunkirk, let alone D Day.

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UK shale: Fall down seven times. Get up eight.

aliIt’s a common misperception among journalists and shale supporters, as among UK nimbys, that there is a giant Green Blob fighting -and winning – against shale gas. The “defeat” of Cuadrilla in Lancashire is of course no such thing: It’s a regulatory molehill. But some see the local decision as proof, or wishful thinking that shale in Europe is on the run and won’t ever happen.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and a key reason for shale’s imminent resurrection is not only the support of the UK government and the deep pockets of companies like Ineos, but a new reality dawning amongst European Greens.

Continue reading UK shale: Fall down seven times. Get up eight.

Is a “100% renewable world no fantasy?” Or is it clickbait?

clickbaitmemeThe relentless boosterism of some in the renewable industry is perfectly acceptable in promoting their business model, but less so when the sub text becomes that investment in anything else thus becomes “unsustainable”.

Examples are legion, as I noted in Smog or Smug recently of people promoting/confusing their desires with physical reality. A particularly egregious recent example comes from The Guardian.  It’s worth noting that this article was amplified almost immediately by people who should know better like Quartz and Gizmodo, as well as the usual suspects. After all this is the kind of a sexy, cool and slightly crazy story that underpins not only some important green mantras, but the economics of click bait.

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Gas sooner is better than worse emissions later: Voltaire, Obama and the Pope

VoltaireAre UK greens sabotaging their own eventual success by insisting there is no alternative to full scale decarbonisation and fighting natural gas today? A recent World Bank paper points out that when it comes to reducing carbon, sooner is better than later.

Timing is critical to keep costs down. If mitigation is postponed until 2030, costs would rise an average of 50 percent for the 2030-50 period and 40 percent thereafter, the IPCC found. If emissions peak in 2015, the rate of annual emissions reduction needed to stay close to 2°C is around 3.5 to 4 percent — that rate would be at least 8 percent if we delay until 2030.

But if we hesitate, then the future costs – and urgency – of reducing carbon become much higher

Continue reading Gas sooner is better than worse emissions later: Voltaire, Obama and the Pope

You cannot be serious on UK shale. Or Sirius

What if the debate over shale looked like this?:

“Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen nationally and internationally as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected, open trading economy,” he said.

mcenroeAs a nation we must be ambitious and forward-looking,” he said. “This is a once in a generation opportunity to answer a vital question.”

But that’s the debate over Heathrow, yet another example of what John Kemp of Reuters describes talking about shale:

Britain’s planning system is a byzantine hybrid of national policies implemented by elected local councils subject to review by a national planning inspectorate, ministers and the courts, which ensures it is neither democratic nor efficient, and decisions are subject to endless and costly delays.

In one view, the county council’s decision is a welcome demonstration of localism and democracy in action: communities successfully opposing drilling for natural gas in their area.

The problem is that energy production is a national as well as local concern and the energy has to be produced somewhere.

Lancashire’s decision to reject fracking despite all the assurances which were given about noise, traffic and other impacts stands as a magnificent symbol of the dysfunction in Britain’s planning system.  

Continue reading You cannot be serious on UK shale. Or Sirius