Fracking: Why it is going to happen

Written by: Justin Cunningham | Published:
I agree fracking will happen regardless of our nimby feelings--what we need are safeguards, and ...

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I've given it a lot of thought lately and I'm certain fracking is going to happen on a large scale. While I'm not really for or against fracking as a concept or technology, its implementation does seem, unfortunately, rather inevitable.

Recent events on the world stage have put European, and Britain's, supply of gas in peril. And with it being announced that the Russian government is soon to be in talks with the Chinese government over the potential supply of the fossil fuel, supply to the West could soon become a thing of the past.

While the UK has done its best to stockpile Liquefied natural gas (LNG) to secure against any such supply problems, current estimates are put at as little as five years before it runs out. And with nuclear power at least 10 years away, there is a potential shortfall.

Any UK Government cannot, and dare I say will not, risk letting the lights go out. Energy, along with economic and homeland security, are the major short term priorities that any Government must look after and manage.

And despite a massive initiative spanning nearly a decade, renewable energy has not been able to produce nearly as much energy as was initially hoped. Wind energy, in particular, has seen bitter resistance against planned farms both on and offshore. Solar energy too has seen an increase in the UK, but still accounts for less than 1% of consumption. Even if it had been given greater subsidies and support, solar power generation is not an effective alternative.

Whether it is micro-generation, macro-generation or a mix of both, renewable energy – even with the best intention – will not be able to fulfil the massive shortfall if the UK loses its gas supply. And while it might be a bitter pill to swallow and get the NIMBY brigade out in force, the alternative is to plunge the UK in to darkness. Fracking offers a solution, albeit an unpopular one.

Gas-fired power stations have always been earmarked to bridge the gap until the next generation of nuclear power stations come online in conjunction with more effective renewable sources of energy production. So, if there is a supply of gas that can be secured on the British Isles, isn't it logical to go after it?

Fracking is dangerous and largely unproven, of course, but isn't every form of large energy production and its supply chain in its infancy? Indeed, oil and gas from the North Sea still continues to be a dangerous undertaking, causing loss of life on an annual basis.

Just to be clear, I'm suggesting fracking needs to happen due to inherent risk to the supply of natural gas. However, I'm not saying let's go carte blanche and proceed. Unlike nuclear projects of the 1950s that were about filling the energy need now and asking questions later, fracking must be vigorously policed from the outset. And it must be transparent, with reports of pollution or unforeseen consequence questioned, inspected, analysed and reported to the mainstream.

Finally, I'd also add; beware of propaganda, from both sides of the fracking fence. The internet has become an absolute hive of misinformation, with claims from both sides taken out of context or simply made up to suit. But, perhaps more about that in my next blog.

This is, of course, just my view based on speaking to those involved in the energy industry. Please agree or disagree, and of course chime in below. And please, be civil!

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I am intrigued as to where you think the UK might be stock-piling 5 years' supply of LNG!! Have you done the calculations to see what volume this would occupy? More like five weeks I believe.
I agree fracking will happen regardless of our nimby feelings--what we need are safeguards, and regulators with proper teeth. There must be transparency--not much chance of that--the regulator must have teeth and be able to make almost immediate decisions--not 10 years down the line after enquiry after enquiry In other words we're all doomed

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