RAPID RESPONSES

Gas warning

[Re: There’s a real danger that fracking will cause a major boom, Wednesday]

This article makes some assertions on the implications of shale gas extraction in the UK – first the conclusion that shale gas would be a blow to the renewable energy industry and second that shale is cheap and abundant. In fact, a greater number of natural gas power stations across the UK can support, rather than replace, renewables. Gas plants can be operated more flexibly than coal and nuclear, and therefore bring better flexibility to overall power generation capacity. This would free up renewables to substitute coal and nuclear, safe in the knowledge that total power generation capacity remains flexible enough to cope with peaks in demand. We don’t know how cheap or abundant shale gas will be in the UK. The British Geological Survey estimated that 5.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas is recoverable onshore, compared to yearly consumption of 3.2 tcf, and Cuadrilla’s estimation of 200 tcf “gas-in-place” will likely result in 10 per cent recovered, if confirmed. Suggestions that there might be five times as much shale gas offshore are interesting, but production in the US to date has been onshore and they’re thirty years ahead of the UK. The UK shale industry will be much smaller. There’ll likely be higher environmental hurdles imposed. It’s dangerous to say that this should lead to lower support for renewables.

Edward Guinness, manager of Guinness Alternative Energy Fund

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TOP TWEETS

So Ken Livingstone uses private healthcare and Diane Abbott sends her son to private school? Shirkers of the world, unite!
@gagey88

Why are we so surprised about Ken? His behaviour is in keeping with that of his party.
@derekbmcneil

Typical Leftist - do as I say, not as I do: Ken Livingstone admits using private healthcare...
@BradThor

Without wishing to cause @Lord_Sugar any inconvenience, shouldn’t he now be expelled from Labour for trashing Ken Livingstone?
@His_Grace