Like most people, we think that the UK should use renewable energy where possible. But gas will still be needed for heating and to provide electricity when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Domestic gas will also help protect us from global energy price and supply shocks.
The Government has committed to preventing new unabated coal generating stations being built in the UK and has also taken measures to limit coal plant emissions of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen under the requirements of EU air quality Directives. The EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), will come into effect in January 2016. It tightens emissions limits on fossil fuel power station, particularly nitrogen oxides (NOx).
According to DECC, as we use less coal in the next 10-15 years for electricity generation, gas will help fill the gap alongside renewables and nuclear, which will help the UK reduce carbon emissions.1
Natural gas accounts for around 80% of the UK’s domestic and business heating needs2, with 83% of homes heated by this energy resource in 2013.3
Just 11 years ago (in 2003), the UK was actually a net exporter of gas. However, we are now importing more than we are exporting, which means we have to rely on other countries for our gas needs. The Department of Energy and Climate Change suggests that the UK will be importing nearly 70% of the gas we use by 2025, assuming we do not develop shale gas.4 John Williams, Senior Principal at Pöyry, a global consulting and engineering firm, told us that because the UK will still have a demand for gas in the future that if this gas is produced from shale then the requirements for imports will be reduced. He said “this will have beneficial economic impacts in terms of balance of trade, job creation and increased GDP”.
In addition to generating energy, the oil and gas sector provides significant tax revenues to fund public services. A PwC report, commissioned by Oil and Gas UK in 2011, estimated that the oil and gas sector was the UK’s largest corporation tax payer, contributing 16.4% of total Government corporation tax receipts. If the tax paid by companies in the supply chain is included, the figure is even higher.
Richard Bass, Director of the Energy Practice for Navigant, a global consulting company with expertise in the energy sector, added that: “Shale gas provides an opportunity to obtain more of our energy requirements from domestic sources, helping to reduce the growth of imported pipeline gas and LNG, thus providing a benefit to the UK’s trade balance. Additionally shale gas provides an additional opportunity to diversify our energy sources, enhancing security of energy supply.”
Professor Richard Selley from Imperial College London said: “OFGem has recently issued repeated warnings that if there is a cold winter power cuts should be anticipated. Gas and electricity bills are rising dramatically. These rises are likely to continue as North Sea oil and gas production declines, and the UK imports more and more energy from overseas. Hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and gas should inhibit rising energy prices, but are unlikely to lead to a decline. Imported energy in the form of gas, oil and coal also makes us vulnerable to external political upheavals.”
Thank you to everyone who submitted questions similar to the one above. Questions we have received which are similar are shown below:
- Why is Britain even considering fracking when the government is paying £70 million over the last 3 years to get wind farms to shut down saying there is too much energy?
- why use shale?
- Why are you doing it?
- Why use eco damaging fuel when there are better options
- How can it be a better energy source?
- Is it necessary it will cost too much
- Why pursue fracking when we know it damages the planet and is potentially dangerous/why can we not invest in safer means?
- Why do we need fracking?
- Why do we need shale gas?
- Will it damage the planet? Is it really necessary?
- France, Germany, Switzerland have banned as unhealthy to people and environments. USA research reveals aquifer poisoning, toxic contamination to rivers, air, and destruction of land for ever. Also infertility, still births. Uk had fracking eartquakes cause damage. Why is UK engagning in this destructive non-green activity?
- If industry professionals are saying it won't bring down gas prices, only provides a short term solution and requires stadium volumes of water per well (not pad)(when we have low resources)(including when we have hosepipe bans). Why do we need it?
- Why? why would you do this? Why ruin my children's future? Think about the planet! I am so against this!
- No to fracking. why do we need it?
- Environmentally safe or not? Why do we need it?
- What are the other options? Who's telling the truth? There's been problems - don't know who to believe in. The people who are for fracking - is this a short term solution?