There is no energy shortage. What we have is a shortage of energy that we are ALLOWED to be used.
The list of energies we are allowed to use just keeps getting shorter. Techno-politico elitists are busily crossing out everything on the list, like coal, nuclear, all petroleum products, wood, and biofuels. The latest to join that list is the hope of the future: natural gas, this according to the The Hill blogsite here.
Recently there has been a flurry of reports of huge natural gas reserves in shale formations that are abundant enough to supply the world’s energy needs for decades, read here.
The Hill has posted a draft of a new study from scientists at Cornell University that concludes that natural gas mined by using hydraulic fracturing is even more dangerous than burning coal due to high fugitive methane emissions. The study will appear in the “Climatic Change Letters“.
Natural gas-fired power plants were once viewed as the ideal supplement to balance out the irregular supply of wind and solar energy. Coal and nuclear power plants are unable to react quickly enough to fluctuations in supply and demand. The Hill has posted the entire paper – here’s the abstract:
We evaluate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas obtained by high-volume hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, focusing on methane emissions. Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured — as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids — and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. Methane contributes substantially to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas on shorter time scales, dominating it on a 20-year time horizon. The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”
No problem, let’s just set up more windmills, enviro-nutjobs and kooks may say. But these plants, aside from their technical problems, are now facing grassroots opposition as well.
This is where we stand today. We are literally standing on huge reserves of cheap natural energies, just waiting to be taken, yet some zealot, power-mad earth-nannies, armed with nothing more than climate change wive tales, are telling us we have to go without.