Feeds

Shale ignorance! Lords blast gov for ignoring cool new fuels

And ... we've found John Selwyn Gummer

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Is it time to decouple "Climate Change" from the Department of Energy and Climate Change? If it was the plain old "Department of Energy" again, it might spend more time researching new fuel sources. Two peers last week took aim at the department because its latest energy blueprints are ignoring the potential impact of shale gas.

The government is "re-consulting" (in its own words) on national energy blueprints, also known as the Revised Draft National Policy Statements, up to 2050. But one of the Lords expressed surprise during the gathering that the latest didn't mention shale at all.

"There is the possibility that potentially abundant supplies of unconventional gas will result in considerably lower gas prices," said Lord Reay, continuing:

"The Government apparently cannot find space in several hundred pages of their energy national policy statements to acknowledge the existence of this potentially game-changing development. Gas is now cheap, the price having decoupled from the oil price, and it is going to be accessible in many countries worldwide, not least in Europe. "It emits 50 per cent to 70 per cent less carbon than coal, with the result that when the previous 'dash for gas' took place in the 1990s and gas to some extent took over from coal, our power station carbon emissions fell overall by some 30 per cent."

Indeed, and what's not to like?

"What is the point of persisting with ever-rising subsidies for wind power in order to meet renewable energy targets when abundant, cheap and relatively CO2-clean gas is available?" asked the Scottish peer.

According to Lord Reay, the problem is that any substantial new gas power station now needs to demonstrate "readiness". CCS will require a national grid of pipelines to take the carbon dioxide out to sea... or wherever else they decide to send it.

Lord Jenkin echoed Reay's comments, and wondered why it was omitted from the 2050 blueprints when it was "mentioned in a briefing sent to a number of us last November by the department". This stated, he pointed out that "Additional supplies in the US may now have a limited impact on international gas markets (since it [the US] is now largely self-sufficient), unless the US were able to export some of this gas".

So the department knows it is there. It just doesn't want to investigate it.

In response, Lord Jonathan Marland, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DECC, said: "We welcome shale gas, of course; if it reduces the price of gas, that will be fantastic. There are no signs as yet that the Americans are going to supply it to the outside world, as they are intending at the moment to keep it within their own country, but anything that reduces the price of gas will be of great benefit."

But the US does need not export gas for the UK to benefit, however, since we may be sitting on a substantial shale gas reservoir. Asset management giant The Carlyle Group is backing a planning application to explore shale in Blackpool. There's more on that on the shale blog No Hot Air, here.

Today, pubicly-funded academics at the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester called for a pre-emtive moratorium on shale fuel investment, citing unspecified health concerns and saying the new fuel sources will "increase the risk of entering a period of 'dangerous climate change'"... as well as local issues such as "high levels of truck movements".

Back to the Lords - where the debates's fruitiest remarks came from Lord Deben, the peer formerly known as John Selwyn Gummer.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Related links

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.