Fracking in Lancashire

So it looks like Cuadrilla has stuck big in Lancashire. Loads of Natural gas. Some reports say enough to meet our energy needs for the next 50 years. (see here)

A great many of the Great Green disciples of Huhne are lining up to whinge and moan about extracting this gas.  But really they ought to do their basic research first and then think things through. (Oh, how I wish!)

Let us see how fracking for gas relates to their BIG idea. aka Wind Turbines. Wind turbines are, after all, truly BIG. Large in size but unfortunately minuscule in ability.

We know, (and they know) all about intermittency and unreliability etc. often expounded on in this blog, I won't go on about it any more here than just to say that even the most inflexible Luddite supporter of these things has to confess that they need considerable backup for when the wind doesn't blow.

Because Wind Turbine output is so unpredictable and massively variable over short periods of time, the forms of backup are limited. The backup is mainly limited to Open Cycle Gas Turbines, although some Closed Cycle Gas Turbines can be used at a pinch for less violent changes in output.

What do you power OCGT or even CCGT on?  Yes. That's right. Gas.

So if (God forbid) we carpet our country with these useless wind turbine monsters, where will the gas come from for the necessary spinning reserve?


Or perhaps we could just get the whole population chewing on Mung beans for a fortnight and then plumb them into the nearest OCGT.

Those two suggestions are far more lucid and coherent than anything you will find coming out of the Green party or their comrades.

Of course, Fracking needs to be controlled and monitored. But the ridiculous, ill informed and politically biased charade of mortified concern that is being pumped out by the Greens  and others is simply absurd.

Now, what about my back yard?

Well, I live in Purbeck in Dorset. We currently have the largest on-shore oil field in the UK. It is quite likely that the Kimmeridge shale will also hold a considerable amount of gas.

Over many years, the oil field has performed impeccably. There is no reason to assume that any gas extraction would be any different.

If, you are going to build gas power plant you might as well use it efficiently. Then you can simply dispense with the wind turbines all together.

Actually, I would rather have nuclear plant, then you don't need gas. (at least for electrical generation). But either way we can dispense with the  fairy-land lunacy that is the wind industry.

So, if it is a choice between carpeting Purbeck with (as some suggest) 42 huge and useless wind turbines or have a few fracking gas extraction wells, give me the wells any day.


Anonymous said...

Fraccing poisons the water table with carcinogens. These kill people. It's as simple as that.

Once the fraccing stops it can take up to 300 years for them to clean out (ie not in our lifetimes).

You said the oil field near you works fine, well i've got news for you, pumping arsenic and other poisons at the depths involved with fraccing is a totally different ball game - you can't compare the two.

This will cause untold damage for years to come. If you live in Lancashire I suggest moving and certainly dont buy any food produced there.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for your comment - I do appreciate contrary views.

But really, all you are done is recite, parrot fashion, the superstition, lies and exaggeration that make up the current propaganda against fracking.

I am not getting at you personally but really, who has told you that you won't be able to eat the food in Lancashire? Just take a step back. Look at how ridiculous that statement is.

Do you believe everything you are told?

Then there are the unspecified carcinogens and arsenic and hairy monsters with gaping jaws they have scared you with.

Live in the real world - realise that those who tell you these half-truths lies and fantasy have their own agenda and they want you to be frightened, because it suits their purpose.

I accept that big corporations and interest groups (whether doing fracking, building wind turbines, nuclear power stations or building their political base) have their own agenda. I (personally) try to weigh up the facts myself as best I can. But that means listening to both camps and especially any experts in the middle.

Please, do not just blindly accept as fact what is churned out by (say) Greenpeace, or BP or whoever. They all have their own hidden agendas. These days Greenpeace seem to take delight in peddling scare stories. I am sad to say that on several issues they no longer let the truth get in the way of a good scare story.

Fracking is like any other mineral extraction process in that it needs to be carefully monitored and controlled. While fracking is actually a 100 year old technique, it has only recently been used for gas extraction. I personally feel that to abandon this new use due to some ill informed and self-interested scaremongering would really be betraying our children.

Keep an open mind - and do not just rely on what you are told by one side of the argument.

Thanks again for your input.

Richard H said...

There is much evidence about this in Pennsylvania and in Canada. Have a look on "the googles". Ordinary oil extraction as they have in Devon is very different from the fracking technique which they want to use more widely in Lancashire. It is much more intrusive, and breaks up (fractures) the rocks to access the gas, which cannot be drilled from one place as in traditional fields.

BilloTheWisp said...

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the comment. I understand that there has been unregulated and badly run operations in the USA in the past and that is bad.

My position here is that fracking, like any other mineral extraction needs good sound regulation and a fair hearing.

Bearing in mind the massive quantity of fracking now going on in the USA, hopefully sound regulation is now in place and these cowboy operations are history.

We need to take responsibility for our own energy. It is far too easy to just palm it off on some far off country, which probably has no regulation at all. (aka Neodymium mining in China).

The current hysteria being peddled about fracking does not help anyone. Fracking is/has been used to extend oil well life, and to aid geothermal heat extraction for very many years. It is not a new technique although this new methodology for gas extraction is a new useage.

Fracking has a lot of potential. Primarily in helping us to move away from coal.

OK it needs regulation, but so does anything that involves energy production.