Saturday, 1 October 2011

Shale gas will not solve Britain’s energy problems?

Will a vast gas field turn Blackpool into Dallas of the North? Or will tapping into this precious resource cause earthquakes and poison the water in your tap?

So read the headline of the Daily Mail (note someone sent me this link - i do not browse the DM a.k.a Devil's Manuscript). Soon images of Blackpool turning into Las Vegas and Lancashire as the new Texas filled naive and over optimistic minds. And yes, there are some positives about this discovery - mainly the fact that we are an energy insecure nation that have already reached peak oil and are desperately trying to diversify our energy mix in order to move away from our dependency on foreign imports along increasingly unreliable energy pathways (both politically and down to conflict e.g. Straits of Arden). 

However, shale gas, a little like the tar sands of Alberta, have hidden problems and costs. One fear is that although it will abate our insatiable demand for now, a more plentiful supply could cause us to increase our demand and use more - humans (partculary capitalist human societies) are greedy and selfish remember! So whilst i agree it is a good thing, i am a little hesitant to jump around and invest in the Blackpool boom for now; I fear that more exciting, cleaner alternative energy sources may now be delayed as it is likely that the government will continue on with the Business as Usual approach for now...For further thoughts have a read of this artcile in the Economist:

Further reading: