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TOPIC: Alternative carbon reduction strategies

Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 2 months ago #1

Besides Renewables, there is a growing case for nuclear to be made part of the energy mix for the UK. I would be interested to know your views on this and also on alternatives such as Shale, CCS and Clean Coal.

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 2 months ago #2

You can find a copy of our shale gas report in the climate change section of the Govtoday resources area.An updated version of this report with further information on shale gas in the Uk will be released on 2nd November.
Last Edit: 2 years, 2 months ago by Scott Buckler.

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 2 months ago #3

One thing that has become very clear from our research on local carbon 'strategies' is that local circumstances count. If your strategy covers an area where one of these 'technologies' is likely to be influential you will need to consider it as it will have a considerable impact on the area's economy, skills and strategic development (everything from construction, through operation to the skills and training needed and the impacts of decommissioning). In some cases it may not be welcomed by every member of the community - the nuclear issue is still extremely controversial and there are still concerns that it's waste footprint negates any benefits to reducing the carbon footprint - but this still needs to be addressed. One of the driving concerns of business and industry is energy security - something that is beginning to concern residents as well. It is going to be very interesting to see how the debate on alternatives pans out as prices go up and other means of energy provision are suggested. There is a sense of realism to many of the arguments that may, in the end, over-ride many of the concerns.

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 2 months ago #4

Shale Gas- Blessing or Curse, the comments below are excerpts from an article I wrote on this subject earlier this year that may add value.In the USA, the recent boom in shale-gas production has boosted US gas reserves to an all-time high and caused a drop in the gas price from a recent high of $8 to the 1970’s price of $4. Shale gas exploration is booming, from Argentina to India, from Canada to South Africa. The ‘land grab’ for shale gas acreage in Europe is over, with shale gas wells being drilled in Sweden, Poland, and Lancashire. By providing secure domestic gas supplies, shale gas yields a high ‘peace dividend’.

So, what’s not to like? Well, plenty if you listen to outraged environmentalists. A boom in shale gas production will continue to release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere and delay the dawn of a non-carbon economy. The artificial fracturing of shale gas reservoirs apparently triggers earthquakes, pollutes aquifers with carcinogens, ignites methane-laden water flowing from taps, causes the sky to rain flocks of dead birds - and probably fire and brimstone too in the Bible Belt.
Announcement of the UK’s 13th round of onshore licensing in 2006 aroused the interest of several companies in applying for shale-gas acreage. In 2008, Wealden Petroleum Development Ltd., on behalf of Eurenergy Resources Inc., were successful in being awarded PEDL 247. This license covered large areas of the Weald, where the potential for shale gas had been recognised in Lower Jurassic (Lias) and Upper Jurassic (Kimmeridge) shales. Island Oil & Gas (IGas), an established Coal-bed methane producer, holds acreage in several areas of the Midlands, notably Point of Ayr. Cuadrilla Resources Corporation holds acreage to test for shale gas in Lancashire (Figure 5) and has embarked on a three-well exploration programme. The first well (Preese Hall No 1) was completed in last December. At 0330 on 1 April there was an earthquake of magnitude 2.2 some three kilometres from the well site. Testing has since been halted. A second well is currently (March) being drilled at Singleton. Coastal Oil & Gas have announced plans to drill well to test for shale gas at Llandow (Vale of Glamorgan). Interestingly, with the exception of Cuadrilla, all the other operators are exploring for shale gas in combination with conventional petroleum or CBL. Watch this space8.

The USA shale-gas boom is now over - prices are now so low as to make further exploration uneconomic US gas reserves are now reportedly oil-equivalent to Saudi Arabian oil reserves. The number of rigs drilling for shale gas is in decline. The new boom is in now applying shale-gas fraccing technology to oil production from the same shale formations, where they have yet to enter the gas generation zone, and are still in the oil window. The Eagleford, Niobrara and Bakken shales are the major targets. The ‘land grab’ for shale-gas acreage in Europe is also now over, with active exploration taking place in Sweden, Poland, Germany France and elsewhere. Shale-gas production is, however, being violently opposed by a range of individuals and organisations. The opposition is led in particular by Josh Fox’s film ‘Gasland’ which is marketed as a “documentary”. This contains the astonishing film of ONE Mike Markham, of Weld County, Colorado, setting fire to water emerging from a his bathroom tap. This has nothing whatsoever to do with adjacent shale gas production. The phenomenon was investigated by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission in 2008 who concluded that the gas was biogenic methane.


This conclusion was not as exciting as the film clip, and so has passed the media by. In Texas last year there were reports of groundwater contamination by shale gas. The Environmental Protection Agency slapped an emergency protection order on Range Resources production of gas from the Barnett Shale in Parker County. Subsequent investigation revealed, however, that the contamination predated the shale-gas fraccing. The contaminating gas consists of a mix of methane and nitrogen, and nitrogen does not occur in the Barnett Shale gas. It is, however, characteristic of gas from the Paluxy Sands in the much shallower Strawn sequence. These were drilled several years ago and have been producing gas conventionally. A point-by-point rebuttal of these and other allegations made in the Gasland film has been made by the American Natural Gas Alliance9.

Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Energy & Climate Change Committee launched an inquiry into UK shale gas under the chairmanship of Tim Yeo. Written evidence was submitted by 22 individuals and organisations. These included BGS, The Old Rectory, IGas Energy, CPRE, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, Cuadrilla Resources Holdings Ltd., Ofgem, Shell, The Co-op, Friends of the Earth, the World Wildlife Fund, Imperial College - and the Geological Society, naturally. The first hearings were held on 9 February (Imperial College, BGS, the World Wildlife Fund and the Tyndall Centre) and are ongoing at the time of writing. The committee will submit a report of its findings and recommendations to Parliament. The full report can be found at www.geolsoc.org.uk/page9767.html

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 1 month ago #5

Whilst shale could potentially be huge from a local and national energy and economy perspective, the lack of regulation is alarming. Current legislation derives from offshore law established nearly 50 years ago. We need to see sufficient regulation established before furter test drilling, and for HSE to be sufficiently resourced to monitor and police it.Following meetings with government departments Cuadrilla themselves decided to supend operations following the earthquakes surely that should have been a decision for DECC or HSE? There is also much work and research done before any viable production could begin.

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 1 month ago #6

Two big problems with Nuclear - well theres lots actually, buts its Friday afternoon and my brain is full from the week.

1. It will take 20 yrs before the first new reactors are online and in that time the Renewable market will have been undersubcribed, so why fund something short term?

2. Going for Nuclear simply says "folks carry on using resources, we'll just use tech to make some more" We have to move away form the 'Christian' "the world is there for man" way of thinking.
Last Edit: 2 years, 1 month ago by Scott Buckler.

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 1 month ago #7

Dave, your issues with Nuclear seem rather misguided, surely through nuclear we are not reliant on the use of such renewable technology which in some cases shows no real advantage

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 1 month ago #8

Sorry but that is my point, that by going down the nuclear road we are dependant on renewables. The common critique of mass RE, that you seem to be hinting at, is that when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine (which usually happens at the time of year when we need energy most)RE's will mean the heating's off and lights go out. Certainly if we carry on using energy and the multiple giga watt rate we do RE's won't cut it, but then the whole strategy for renewables is that their development run's along side major energy efficieny. My gripe is that if we go for nuclear this will pull the plug on renewables AND ALSO the pre-requisite energy efficieny. 'Nuclear' is therefore an ideological position that is about undermining a plausible longtern energy strategy based on (i) minigrid and district generation (ii) mass energy efficiency such as the required retro fitting of 700,000 UK buildings per year for the next 35 odd years (iii) sewing a golden thread of enregy consevation through the hearts and minds of us all.
The Nuclear option is therefore within the same ideological space as filling clouds with bits of tin foil, 'solar reflectors' in orbit round the earth, carbon sequestration etc in that these options do nothing to get people to shift from this, as I've called, Judeo christian philosophy that the world is Gods creation for man to to what he wants with. RE's will work if people are forced to live within their limitations and one thing is for sure, humans are top of the food chain because we are so damned adaptable. If we have to live without so much energy that in my mind is a a bloody good idea as it means that our grand kids will have a far better chance of enjoying the Suffolk coast as I did last weekend, rather than reviwing it from the bottom of a glass bottomed boat. Nuclear may be carbon free but its too damned late for its effective implentation. The 40% Co2 increase since Rio tells us that!

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years, 1 month ago #9

Good point Dave, thanks for the reply

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 2 years ago #10

POLICY POSITION – Risks to water supplies posed by gas shale
extraction
Introduction
There has been much publicity recently over the potential reserves of shale gas in the UK.
Whilst this is still in exploratory stages in the UK the technique used for extraction of shale
gas (known as “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing) has been associated with risks to drinking
water sources in the US. Trial extractions have taken place in deposits in the Fylde in
Lancashire but the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) report shows
potential development sites across large parts of England and Wales.
There is a mixed evidence base on the magnitude of the risks involved but nonetheless there
is some acceptance that they do exist. Although water companies would not wish to hinder
economic development there is a view that the risks to water supplies (and in particular
drinking water supplies) need to be addressed.
Risks
The primary risk of concern to water companies is that associated with contamination of the
drinking water aquifers that overlie shale gas reserves as a result of the “fracking” process
allowing gases, such as methane, to permeate into drinking water sources from previously
confined rocks.
This is associated with the design and construction of the boreholes sunk to allow shale gas
extraction. In the UK, the design and construction of shale gas extraction boreholes is
assessed by the HSE through specific regulatory controls, which among other things require
verification of the design by an independent third party (DECC, 2011).
In addition contamination caused by chemicals used in the process entering the drinking
water aquifer either via fractures caused by the process or potentially by existing pathways
should also be considered a risk.
In addition there are a number of indirect risks associated with shale gas extraction that
include:
· Discharge of contaminated effluents recovered from the “fracking” process to surface
drains, sewers or the environment.
· Damage to assets associated with any ensuing seismic activity that could cause
damage to water mains and sewerage infrastructure.
Regulatory framework
There is already a regulatory framework in place before shale gas extraction can commence
in the UK. A UK petroleum exploration and development licence (PEDL) is required along
with drilling consents and planning permission. The EA (or SEPA in Scotland) and the HSE
are consulted on environmental risk and safety risks respectively but the details on what goes
into these risk assessments are not fully understood by Water UK at this present time.
Under current planning arrangements inclusion of water companies in the process is not
required but, as has been demonstrated in recent trial sites, such liaison can provide helpful
information to both the water company (in terms of updating risk assessments for their
Drinking Water Safety Plans) and to the gas extractor.


Proposals for change
Water UK would urge government to consider the introduction of legislation to ensure that
water undertakers in the UK are statutory consultees, in addition to the environmental
agencies, on proposed shale gas extraction sites and that the protection of drinking water
sources is considered within this framework as a priority.
There should also be full disclosure of the chemical composition of the fluids used during the
extraction process on a site-specific basis so that the water industry can consider risks to
drinking water sources.
Finally, more visibility of the safety measures being put in place from the planning stage to
mitigate against any risks identified that may either directly contaminate drinking water
aquifers or indirectly provide pathways for contaminants that already exist in the
environment. Consideration should be given to the wider potential safety issues rather than
just the borehole design risk, for example, whether seismic activity associated with the shale
gas extraction could damage utility infrastructure.
European context
Water UK also endorses the European Commission’s intention to produce common European
standards for the exploitation of shale gas provided that any technical extraction frameworks
are supported by appropriate environmental standards that pay due attention to protection of
drinking water.
In addition the Water Framework Directive and its daughter directive for groundwater
provides for Water Protection Zones (WPZs). These provide a regulatory mechanism by
which Member States can address the potential for any pollution or hydro-morphological
damage, which could include any caused as a result of “fracking”.
Jim Marshall
Business and Policy Adviser
Water UK
Version 1 - Final – 21 November 201

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 1 year ago #11

With Carbon Reduction in mind, on the subject of Dovetailing of Government (Environmental)
Policies, how do Colleagues rationalise and react to the announcement when he was Transport
Minister, by Philip (hapless) Hammond, to the effect that upper Speed Limits on Britain's Roads
should be increased to 80mph?

Instead, should we not consider reducing the Speed Limit to, say, 55mph? After all, apart from
environmental considerations, we are supposed to be in an austerity situation.

At a stroke, lowering the Limit appreciably would:

• Reduce our Oil imports;

• Reduce our Emissions;

• Reduce Fuel consumption;

• Reduce Noise levels;

• Reduce Tyre wear;

• Reduce wear & tear to Road Surfaces;

• Reduce Accident levels;

• Reduce mechanical wear & tear to Vehicles;

• Increase the capacity of the Road system (based on one Vehicle length for every ten mph;)

• Make only a small and acceptable difference to most travel times.

— whereas Mr Hammond's proposal would have the opposite effect.

Re: Alternative carbon reduction strategies 9 months, 1 week ago #12

An alternative carbon reduction strategy - energy usage reduction. If you don't need the energy, producers don't have to deal with the byproduct of energy production that is carbon dioxide. Oh, and the user doesn't need to pay for the energy...so it helps them in their pocket.

The big problem with this alternative strategy is twofold: firstly, all UK consumers are used to having immediate, cheap (yes, cheap) power and heat when they want it; secondly, there is little money in educating the consumers to switch off/conserve.

Therefore, a culture change in society is needed which has to be led by government, either through inspiration, education, legislation or taxation (or a combination). Anyone else old enough to remember the failed campaigns of the 1970s to exhort us to switch off lights etc when leaving a room???
Last Edit: 9 months, 1 week ago by Kauser Aslam.
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