Now that the LibLabCon agree on everything, and all are happy to let the bureaucrats in Brussels run our country anyway, Prime Ministers Questions has become a bit of a farce. So here on UKIP Daily we will be holding the real debate – every Wednesday at 12pm.
Today, we tackle a rather contentious subject. Fracking has become an emotive subject, with the Green MP for Brighton even going so far as to be arrested in her protests against exploration for gas in Sussex. UKIP policy is to support calls for fracking, but should it be?
Writing in favour of fracking is Roger ‘Tallbloke’ Tattersall. Roger is UKIP’s Yorks and North Lincs Energy and Climate Change spokesman. His award winning blog, Tallbloke’s Talkshop, contains many energy policy and shalegas relevant articles.
Writing against fracking is Iain McKie, political editor of UKIP Daily. Following his post-graduate research into European Low carbon Energy policy, Iain McKie spent 7 years working as a carbon certificate specialist in the power markets. In addition to trading the credits he also traded power, coal and gas.
For – Roger Tattersall
The big question is: who should we trust for information on fracking?
As a veteran of the climate wars, I’ve watched development of the battle lines in the UK fracking debate with a sense of weary familiarity. The voices of well qualified reason have been drowned out by the efficiently conducted disinformation campaigns of the Green Party. Greenpeace are promoting a paid for anti-shalegas twitter campaign. Frack Off is a noisy pressure group staffed by some of those acquitted last year of the aggravated trespass at a new EON gas turbine energy plant. They tell us fracking will poison our groundwater, cause earthquakes under our homes and fry us all with dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.
David Cameron’s inept and half hearted approach to promoting shalegas, (Mrs Cameron and her windfarm owning father are against), is allowing the fracktivists to steal a march on the battle for public support for a technology enabling the development of a domestic energy source capable of underpinning economic recovery and providing significant new employment in the beleaguered engineering and building trades.
So where can the voices of reason be found? Susan Brantley is distinguished professor of geosciences and director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University. She wrote a positive opinion piece in the New York Times last year. Lars Sørum, Director of Shale Gas, at internationally renowned risk management company DNV dispels the three myths in a well considered report. Our membership needs to read these two experts findings, and join in the fray, helping to allay the unfounded fearmonger driven concerns felt by the public.
UKIP has been positive about the development of shale for a long time before the Tory leadership started backing away from it’s vote conservative – go green – turn blue campaign. At the recent N.E. Conference I listened to MEP Roger Helmer give an excellent speech on the fallacies of the mainstream position on climate change. He also told us of his recent visit to a U.S. town where the development of shalegas had turned around an ailing local economy, providing much needed employment and spending power. The inhabitants are not dying of heavy metal poisoning or 100% burns from flaring water faucets. They are delighted with the renaissance their town is enjoying.
In the UK, as a result of the anti-science, anti-prosperity campaign pushed by Big Green, a new super-NIMBYism is taking hold which is BANANAS, (Build-Absolutely-Nothing-Anywhere-Near-Anything). In Sussex, land owners are joining together to bog down progress in a tangle of legal objections utilising Britains arcane and archaic property law. Fracktivists are clogging the internet and village halls with slickly made videos pushing the lies of green-agenda driven misanthropes.
I sincerely hope all UKIP party members and supporters will engage with this issue and help to make a positive difference to drive back misconception and ignorance, and set Britain on the right course. Fuels for energy generation underpin true wealth and prosperity. Domestic sources give us security of supply in an uncertain geopolitical situation. Let’s move forward together.
Against – Iain McKie
Fracking is one of the most hotly debated topics in pubs these days. Lots of experts on the matter in the Dog and Duck.
The pro-fracking arguments roughly follow this line: we have loads of it; it does not poison the aquifer; there is no evidence that it causes earthquakes; the drilling kit is barely visible; the UK should not depend upon foreign fuel supplies; we are facing blackouts; the US have enjoyed gas prices being halved as a result so our power prices should follow suit; it will generate thousands of jobs; raise lots of revenue for a Sovereign Wealth Fund like Norway – presuming that they don’t spend it as soon as they get their hands on it – and the US Environment Protection Agency says it’s all tickety-boo. So we would be mad not to get fracking right now!
Did I miss any arguments? Pretty compelling stuff isn’t it?
However, in the pub, no-one can answer what you are going to do with the stuff once you have it out of the ground. People make the assumption that you can just pump it into a pipe and use it.
This is not quite the case. The gas has to be held under pressure in storage. From storage, the gas is injected into one of the UKs three main gas terminals, and from there to the power stations and the gas mains. So while our frackers have the supply of gas demand sewn up, they have not figured out the demand.
Any increase in gas onto the market will require additional storage and an additional terminal, and I have not seen any proposals how these multi-billion pound projects are going to be paid for.
And our frackers have not figured out how we are going to get the gas from the fracked lands to the storage facilities. Are they proposing to lay new gas lines or are they going to ship it by trucks? Who will pay for the costs involved in either option?
I am not an anti-fracker, I just would like people to explain the whole process rather than just rely upon James Delingpole to give a massively incomplete argument and think that is enough.
To produce 5 MW of power from a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station costs around £6.5 million, compared with a coal burner which costs around £2.4 million for the same 5 MW. So for the shale revolution to take effect we will need gas prices to drop by two thirds just to compete with coal.
The shale effect has caused the world price of coal to tumble from $125 pmt to $80 pmt now. The world is flush with the black stuff from the US, Columbia, Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, South Africa, and Indonesia. Not even the Chinese can keep the price from dropping. So, you do not need shale gas in the UK right now to benefit from its effect.
If the UK were smart, we would look to improve the existing coal plants to make coal burn even more attractive. By using the new coal technology like ‘ultra-critical’ we could drop the generating costs for coal by around another quarter.
The Government has to abandon the suicidal Climate Change Act, and tear up the Large Combustion Plant Directive and get to grips with the benefits of coal. By all means have a look at fracking, and once a coherent and a fully costed plan is prepared we can chuck that into the mix.