Big Energy front company and survey results falsifiers Cuadrilla are to be granted permission by British government ministers to resume a controversial method known as fracking to exploit what it says are huge shale gas reserves off Lancashire.
Okay, okay, the official line is that “a decision is awaited on this matter”, but I ask you, what is the likelihood of it not happening, eh? The government has already indicated its backing for the move by proposing tax relief for shale gas and producing a gas generation strategy.
Although don’t ask UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey – who presumably was appointed to this role because of his ability to produce vast amounts of hot air – about it, because he is on record as being both in favour of fracking and opposed to it. Often within the same speech.
The advantages of fracking to Cuadrilla itself and to individual government figures are clear: vast amounts of cash, generated by huge taxpayer-funded subsidies received by a private company whilst it simultaneously babbles on about freedom from government interference on the one hand, and massive kickbacks to individual politicians on the other. But what about the advantages to the general public?
Well, for a start, there’s the fact that fracking is so safe. After all, Cuadrilla had to stop test-drilling in 2011 after the process caused two minor earthquakes near Blackpool. Oh, hang on a minute – that’s a disadvantage of fracking. Hmm.
Okay, what about the fact that fracking will safeguard British energy supplies for years to come, bringing down heating bills for the UK consumer and reducing our reliance on all those irresponsible foreign types?
Well, as the Parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee stated in a recent report, shale gas would have little downward impact on the level of energy bills in the UK. In fact, a dependence on gas could force household bills much higher than relying on renewable energy and nuclear power.
According to PECCC chairman Lord Deben, the Committee’s its analysis showed that the average household electricity bill could rise by £600 a year by 2050 if the UK relied on “unabated” gas power that had no technology to cut its emissions, as a result of
The great bog of Ireland, spoken of in song and story, could become the host to hundreds of wind farms which would generate electricity exclusively for the United Kingdom’s national grid.
According to the Guardian,the plan is already being considered by Irish government ministers. Element Power, the company behind the $8 billion dollar proposal, hopes to build more than 700 turbines and transport the power generated through two dedicated undersea cables across the Irish sea to the UK.
The plans have also been discussed among the UK coalition government and appear to have won their support.
To help finance the Irish project, the company would need access to the subsidies currently given to UK wind power, but that sets a potentially awkward precedent – which could imply that any foreign energy projects could request UK subsidies – presenting unusual challenges to the project.
Mike O’Neill, the president of Element Power, sees only a win for British government, however. “Our experience is that it is easier to get planning permission in the Republic of Ireland, if you do it in a sensible and sensitive way,” he told the Guardian.
O’Neill’s plan acknowledges that Britain’s electricity suppliers are obliged to provide an increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, cutting the carbon emissions that drive climate change and meeting their own targets.
Element Power claims its project, entitled Greenwire, will provide electricity at two-thirds of the cost of building an offshore wind farm, which will reduce the amount that needs to be charged to the UK consumer by £7 billion over 15 years. It added that the project could provide 3GW of electricity capacity and employ thousands of workers.
O’Neill said the project could start generating power from 2018, if the subsidy obstacle could be overcome.
Currently there are more than 1,100 turbines in operation in Ireland, mostly located at 176 onshore windfarms with a further seven offshore.