Why the UK needs fracking for our future: Yorkshire Post Letters

Third Energy's planned fracking operation in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale.
Third Energy's planned fracking operation in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale.
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From: Andy Jones, Costa Way, Pickering.

I MUST respond to Councillor Paul Andrews’ letter ‘The lights will not go out if we don’t frack’.

Opinions are split in many places over fracking.

Opinions are split in many places over fracking.

Coun Andrews states ‘less than three per cent of (gas) imports come from Russia’.

Only taking into account liquefied natural gas (LNG) and ignoring the potential Russian pipeline imports, Russian LNG imports increased by almost 2000 per cent from 2017 to 2018, representing five per cent of last year’s gas imports. This energy was imported at cost of over £1m per day.

Read more: Fracking fears reignited for Yorkshire village as US firm buys shale gas company Third Energy
As gas reserves from the UK and its close neighbours decline, it is a certainty the UK will import more LNG and long distance pipeline gas without we increase domestic production.

Read more: Inside a planned Yorkshire fracking site
Coun Andrews claims that leaving the EU will not stop supplies from Norway, Holland and Belgium.

That is laughable as Belgium reported gas production of zero metres cubed last year, so it can hardly be referred to as a reliable source of energy! He then quotes a Government report from 2017 except he omits that the report categorically states there can be energy security “if consumers are willing to pay for it”. Similarly, LNG can typically take two weeks to arrive at the UK from Qatar, hardly a ‘reliable’ energy source in times of need.

Coun Andrews excels himself when he confuses electricity and energy. He boldly claims ‘Energy produced by non-fossil fuels already exceeds the energy produced by fossil fuels’. The data from this year shows that UK electricity is less than 20 per cent of UK energy demand. 75 per cent of UK energy was provided by fossil fuels, compared to 3.2 per cent from wind and solar power.

As a councillor he should be campaigning in favour of UK industries and not some far off economy.

From: Mary Andrew, Kirkbymoorside, York.

Councillor Paul Andrews continues his relentless protestations that shale gas well pads will industrialise the countryside. A shale gas pad can very readily produce in excess of 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas, around 10 Twh of chemical energy. If you wanted to produce the same amount of energy from a solar farm, or wind development, you would need to industrialise the land scape on a far greater scale.

To give people some context, to produce the same amount of energy from a five-acre wellsite in Kirby Misperton, you would need to develop a solar farm three times the size of Flamingoland which would be 1,125 acres or a wind farm the size of Kirby Misperton civil parish at 7,000 acres.

Coun Andrews says: “I was taught hydrogen can be produced from electrolysis. Fracked gas is not essential for this.” First of all where do you get the electricity from to electrolyse the water? Reforming of natural gas with Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage is forecast to be significantly cheaper than electrolysis.

In the Climate Change Committee net zero report they state, “the cost of electricity would have to be less than £10/MWh for electrolysis to be the same cost as we expect for gas reforming with Carbon Capture and Storage in the UK”. Given that the transmission costs of power alone are forecast to be as high as £40/mwh – this is an example of Councillor Andrews ignoring the consumer.

The UK has a choice – it can continue to import more carbon intensive and costlier imports, or it can fuel a net zero economy with lower carbon indigenous methane production.