Davey clashes with PM on shale yet backs its green credentials

ENERGY secretary Ed Davey yesterday rebutted Prime Minister David Cameron’s claim that shale gas would bring down energy bills in the UK, but backed the new technology as “a bridge in our transition to a green future”.

In a speech to the Royal Society, the Lib Dem MP said that “it’s far from clear that UK shale gas production could ever replicate the price effects seen in the US,” arguing that the two energy markets are too different to make like-for-like comparisons.

Cameron recently said that shale could drive down energy prices as it has in the US.

Yet Davey backed shale extraction in the UK, saying: “Gas, as the cleanest fossil fuel, is part of the answer to climate change. North Sea gas production is falling and we are become increasingly reliant on gas imports. So UK shale gas could increase our energy security by cutting those imports.”

A government report released yesterday said shale’s carbon footprint would be similar to that of UK-produced gas.

Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance told City A.M. last night: “There is no reason to think that shale cannot significantly reduce prices in the smaller European market in the same way that it has in the US.”