Saturday, 12 November 2011

What Is The Greens Answer To Our Future Energy Needs?

click to enlarge 

This week the first licence for the gas drilling technique known as fracking, was granted in Scotland, with more likely to follow.

This was passed to me by Edward.  It originated from Phllip Foster.

Shale Oil has been extracted in Scotland for 100 years.

Of course Huhne is ignorant of the fact that shale oil and gas extraction is nothing new.  In reality this was the first large scale operation of its kind in the world - in West Lothian, Scotland.  The operations were only ceased when they were undercut by directly extracted oil from the USA and the Middle East.

The company founded by James 'Paraffin' Young extracted vast amounts of petroleum from coal and shale in West Lothian for more than 100 years and at the peak, extraction was almost 3 million imperial tons per annum.  Bathgate chemical works was then possibly the largest on Earth.

Billions of tons of shale and coal remain underground in the area.

While environmentalists, such as Friends of the Earth Scotland, want a ban on the fracking process, I find it difficult to determine exactly what the green lobbies' answer is to our future energy requirements as they're against nuclear, coal and now fracking. Do they really want to destroy the country, both economically and socially?

We need energy to survive. Part of our political representatives' duty is to ensure the people are provided with adequate energy at affordable prices. No energy source is free from risk or damage to the environment, but if shale is found and can be retrieved at a sensible cost, surely that can only be good for Scotland.


Oldrightie said...

One significant issue with shale gas is it's direct impact on the oil majors' profits. All the doom and gloom about oil running out is nonsense. Iran alone has 15 billion barrels of reserves.
However a major shale gas programme would devalue those reserves overnight. Same in The UK. Offshore exploration and recovery costs need high prices for their product. A powerful energy resource is the last thing they need.
As ever, irony abounds. Behind the greens' childish naivety is the ever manipulative hand of global oil interests.

Richard T said...

It seems simple to me. We will need to replace four power stations in the next ten or so years. Set with this, the certainty of increased demand regardless of the twaddle prated by the greens and an unwillingness to pay through the nose for subsidised wind power we will need to buld at least 8,000MW of new plant, unless we can get interconectors with Norway and Iceland (no mackerel wars with the latter then!). If the climate warms further then in England there is the possibility that air conditioning in homes will become commonplace and this will put demand up.

The only green source of power which has adequate potential for mass supply is from the tides and I'm in my mid 60's and I suspect I will be fertiliser for the daisies before this becomes a reality. We're left with the need to build repalcementrs for the plant that needs retired to maintain supply and this means 4 big power stations soon - I can't worrry whether they are nuclear coal or gas. Any surplus we can sell through interconnnectors south but no mater how wishfully the First Minister thinks, we can't afford to rely on wind and waves just yet.

Key bored warrior. said...

One of the policies which I admire the greens for is on building regs, and energy use. They have been advocates of providing free insulation to all households who at present are under insulated. That coupled with a dramatic improvement in building regs which drives up the insulation values on every new building, can achieve a lot. It will help with fuel poverty also.

It is actually technically possible to build houses now that use almost no energy to maintain a decent level of heat in Scotland.

The scandal of fuel poverty in Scotland ought to be at the top of every ones agenda.

The Greens also advocate much more autonomous of grid living. CHP, fuel cells, community micro generation, hydrogen generation, geo thermal, heat pumps, and many more generation methods that are all now technically possible. The grid should be prioritised for industry and power transfers as required. Pumped hydro etc. There needs to be a mix of all of these things there is not one panacea as advocated by the nukes. There are very powerful and dangerous forces at play in this industry who will stop at nothing, including war to get what they want.

Elby the Beserk said...

The Greens advocate zero growth. I think they will see over the next few years, exactly what that means for all of us. At times, it seems to me, they hate the human race.

Elby the Beserk said...


Free? Someone has to pay for it.

subrosa said...

Excellent points OR and the greens don't seem to understand that the likes of windfarms do not benefit the environment when erection and production are taken into the equation.

subrosa said...

I won't see a sensible policy either Richard T and at the rate the prices are increasing, I won't be able to even have a nest egg should my health take a turn for the worse and I need to pay for help. That's the embarrassing and worrying thing.

I pay well over 10% of my income on energy but, because I claim no benefits, I'm not classed as in fuel poverty. Anyway, it's shameful that there is such a thing as fuel poverty in a country which produces oil

subrosa said...

The greens policies you admire are all well and good for modern homes KBW, but for pre-war homes and older, they're useless. There are many homes of that age and older which cannot have cavity wall etc. Also to those who don't claim benefits, the greens' policies are not free.

The other systems you mention are are far too expensive for a single home. It would cost me well over £40,000 to instal geo thermal or heat pumps. All these may be fine for new builds but not for the hundreds of thousands of older properties.

subrosa said...

Elby, I think once upon a time the greens were concerned with people and the environment in a reasonably balanced way. No longer. Ask a green what they will do when a good percentage of the population can't afford their high-cost schemes and the answer is 'claim assistance'. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

subrosa said...

This is a comment from Petem who is having problems commenting.

The extraction of shale gas is a no brainer for two reasons. Energy security and the benefits it will bring for the treasury.

The extraction site at Pumpherston is owned by BP and the comments about North Sea Oil extraction cost and the effect fracking would have on this is brought into sharp focus. Will BP restart gas extraction at Pumpherston? They've already heard the news about big gas finds and have not, well as far as I know, commented on this.

The Scottish Government would also be very aware of this gas and they have also said little. It flies in the face of their renewables policy.

I'm beginning to get more and more concerned about the SNP and their policies. Renewable energy development, highest carbon reduction targets in the world, plain packaging for cigarettes, minimum unit cost for alcohol, their support of the trams, their councillors attempt to continue to use the in-house refuse and recycling collection rather than a much easier to use, for the residents, out-sourced alternative.

I hope Alex has a good think to himself and remembers that whilst Independence is the aim, independence in Europe isn't independence. It was the voters who put him where he is and they could quite easily dump him just as quickly.

Mind you we'd need another new party to vote for. Any suggestions?

Gedguy said...

KBW is making a good point. We need to slowly get rid of those houses that were built with no thought to insulation. The Swedes now have their houses built with triple glaze windows. We need to do the same, come independence because you can be sure we will never be given the money [which is ours] to build proper houses with proper insulation. This policy [if it ever happens] will have the biggest impact on Scottish power consumption thereby allowing us to either sell more or have less wind farms or whatever it is that the people don't want.

JRB said...

“… the fact that shale oil and gas extraction is nothing new.”

… but what is ‘new’ is the methodology of extraction, which is as different as night is to day.

100years ago and right up until its demise as a viable process the method of extraction of West Lothian shale was by simple distillation, a primitive version of retort extraction. It only produced, paraffin wax and paraffin oil.

Modern extraction is by the fracking process. This uses either ultra high pressure fluids or for more difficult geology high-explosives, to produce a geological fault in the substrata.
Fracking as a process has already been found commercially liable of instances of water contamination and of causing underground geological faults ie earthquakes.

The Greens may be anti-everything, but on this occassion they might just be on to something when it comes to fracking.

Nikostratos said...


Not sure about green solutions but I have placed a note on me central heating thermostat for me daughter..saying.DO NOT TOUCH...Her keep putting heating up(we dont live in the Bahamas I says)

Me grandson (6) copied it and now there is two stuck on thermostat we await developments...

To conserve energy I now think back to what me mother would of done we only had two warm rooms the living room and the kitchen and not a 6 roomed hot house.

Joe Public said...

As ever Rosie, an interesting article.

1. The process illustrated in the diagram doesn't (to a layman) seem very efficient.

Heating surrounding rock to 420C for between 8 months & 4 years will use an awful lot of energy.

2. All the talk about super-insulating houses is only part of the problem. This reduces to virtually zero heat losses through the building's fabric, but air for ventilation (of both people & building) is still required. And that needs to be heated-up from cold. There are simple heat exchangers which can then transfer 70% or so of the heat from the stale air being extracted to pre-heat the (cold) incoming air.

What mustn't be done is 'seal-up' houses such that condensation & mildew form.

Key bored warrior. said...

Gedguy..... thanks for you comments. There are many many options now open to us, not just wind turbines which every one seems to get their underwear in a knot over. There actually exists a working example of the hydrogen economy in use right now, a very successful model that could very easily be scaled up to areas of Scotland, who would have little other alternatives. I think moves are afoot to try this in North Sutherland which would seem to me to be the perfect location for it. Maybe it is time to look at building new towns again, based on the hydrogen economy. Once the advantages are experienced it will take of. The newly opened hydrogen centre in Fife will carry forward the legacy of Sandy Macauley.

Anyone who reads about Samso island...... ................ cannot deny they have a working model there. All it takes is political will, and Scotland is now getting it, through the SNP which they would never have with the old Labour Politburo. The re industrialisation of Scotland is a very real vision promoted by Alex Salmond. Of course mistakes will be made. Who or what is not fallible?

"One of the factors that has made Samsø such a success is the high degree of participation of the residents. According to Hermansen, when the process began in 1997, he was already convinced of its possibilities.

The key, he said, was to convince the community to participate economically in the revolution. And it worked. Today, the Samsingers are private owners of the wind turbines, the solar panels and the Samsø communal heating system. "

Scotland has much more natural resources than Samso had, there is no reason why we cannot adapt where necessary the existing technology that works. Hydro for example, still has a long way to go in Scotland.

The continentals have been light years ahead of us for a long time. I stayed in barracks in Hohne Germany, which were built around 1935, they had double glazed windows built in then. The buildings were very warm even in the -30 winters we got. On a recent visit I was saddened to see that many of the barracks I knew over there are now little more than vandalised ruins, another story.

subrosa said...

So you'd get rid of my home Gedguy? One that's stood the test of time since 1840? 'Over my dead body' is the saying I think. I have no wish to live in a wooden box such as those being build locally here and being sold for the ridiculous sum of £185 - £330,000.

subrosa said...

I understand the method is entirely different JRB and detect doubt in your comment about it's safety. The jury's out here because what I've read is perhaps mainly pro-fracking but I'll wait until drilling has been going a while.

subrosa said...

Niko, hope it works for you. Some of us women feel the cold more than men and I do hope you're not denying your daughter warmth. :)

I turn down radiators in rooms not in use. Don't forget, most rooms had fireplaces back in the 50s and the cost of coal wasn't that cheap either.

subrosa said...

Apologies for the poor graphic Joe. Not knowing the intracasies of fracking I accepted it as ok because it came from what seemed to be a decent site.

My airflow is aided by having an open fireplace which is seldom used. It's all very well to think of a house with the geo thermal, solar, etc but the cost of buying one would be too high for most of us.

subrosa said...

I wonder where the money came from for the Samso projects KBW? Surely not everyone could have afforded many of these expensive methods.

Agree with you about the continentals though and the destruction of old barracks which could well have been converted to warm homes/flats. I believe the problems lie with the red tape contracts between the UK and Germany, making the Germans unable to use the buildings.

RMcGeddon said...

Despite all the evidence showing that the 'renewables revolution" is just a scam the greenies carry on regardless. I don't think it's too far off the mark to say that it's similar to a religion. They use blind faith and belief rather than economic and technical realities. Witness the furore over the cutting of the solar panel feed in tariffs by 50%. Or the rejection of the report from The Institution of Mechanical Engineers who stated that fuel poverty will rise and energy will be required from France to stop our lights going out if we continue wasting our money on renewables.
I prefer to believe the experts rather than the Huhnes and Salmonds of this world who have no technical abilities and have been hoodwinked by the global warming scammers.

SR. The Opera and Firefox browsers are giving the memcache error when attempting to post. Internet Explorer seems ok.

subrosa said...

Someone's making a shed load of money out of it RM at the consumer's expense. Aye, I did read that report. Most informative.

I've put a question on Blogger help about the memcache problem and another IT person also sent this link

Don't know if that's much help RM.

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