By Paul Homewood
h/t Robin Guenier
Well, at least we know where we stand now!
Ed Miliband has made it totally clear that Labour has no interest in the UK’s energy security or getting energy bills down. Instead, they are doubling down on their obsession with renewable energy.
In his interview, Miliband makes three points:
1) Fracking won’t reduce gas prices, because these are set on the international market.
It is the same tired old argument against oil and gas exploration. But it is also wrong-headed.
There is no reason at all why the licences needed for distributing shale gas into the gas grid should not be conditional on some form of Contracts for Difference, just as offshore wind is.
Even if the gas is sold at international prices, the government will still be able to earn billions in tax revenue from shale, just as it has done for years from the North Sea.
Obviously the effect on retail prices will depend on how much shale gas is produced. Many anti-frackers argue that very little gas will be produced anyway. This may be true, but by the same argument the climate change and other environmental impacts will be negligible too.
2) Fracking is not safe
The newly published British Geological Survey report makes clear that they have very little data on which to estimate the risk of earth tremors, particularly since the geology of the Bowland Basin is complex.
But when did we ever ban something because we could not accurately measure the risk? The only way forward is to drill some more wells to get that data.
There will still of course be all of the existing safeguards in place, with seismicity being constantly measured. The current threshold of 0.5 on the Richter scale will quite rightly be reviewed, and we will hopefully get something much more practical, in line with all other industrial processes.
But Miliband is not interested in anything practical. Instead he quite disgracefully talks of “a charter for earthquakes” and “a dangerous experiment”. Both claims are utterly without foundation, and will simply serve to deceive the public, who are entitled to the facts and not hyperbole.
As the Royal Society review of fracking in 2012 pointed out, the seismic incidents measured from fracking are not “earthquakes” but “tremors”, so small as to be not even noticeable.
The highest measurement from a fracking operation was 2.9, and most have been much smaller. Bear in mind that the Richter scale is logarithmic.
It is highly irresponsible of Miliband to try to alarm the public in this way.
As for his claim that this is all a dangerous experiment, he apparently does not realise that fracking has been widely used in the UK for decades, without any of the problems he alludes to. Again, according to the Royal Society:
3) Renewables are the answer
According to Miliband:
“You cannot escape a fossil fuel crisis by doubling down on fossil fuels. Renewables are today nine times cheaper than natural gas”
This is an absurd argument. The energy crisis is solely due to an imbalance in supply demand. And the answer to that is to increase supply, not reduce it.
Comparing the price of renewable electricity and gas is a meaningless exercise, as you cannot simply replace the latter with the former.
All of the official projections clearly state that the UK will need plenty of natural gas for many years to come, despite big increases in renewable capacity.
He is also misleading by comparing the current international price of gas. What is relevant is the cost of extracting shale gas.
Companies like Cuadrilla and INEOS have been keen spend billions on fracking, even when prices were much lower than now. Just eighteen months ago, for instance, wholesale gas prices were a tenth of what they are now. Under Miliband’s own argument, shale gas should be cost competitive.
The Unions Don’t Agree!
It is highly significant that Labour’s Trades Union bosses don’t agree with Miliband, slamming his policies as “bourgeois environmentalism”:
Labour must back fracking, hydrogen and new nuclear power plants to solve the energy crisis rather than bowing to the “bourgeois environmental lobby”, the head of one of the UK’s most powerful trade unions has said.
Ahead of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool this weekend, Gary Smith, the general secretary of the GMB, denounced the party’s pro-green agenda, declaring that a “sprint for renewables just doesn’t cut it”.
In an interview with the New Statesman, Smith accused Labour of a “lack of honesty” and of “not facing reality” over the scale of energy development needed to guarantee the UK’s energy supply, the fragility of which has been shown up by the war in Ukraine. Smith said it was “demonstrable” that fracking could be done safely. “We import a huge amount of fracked gas and we import methane from America, which is basically fracked gas,” he said.
“Now we have a choice: we are either going to import gas that has been fracked somewhere else in the world and put on diesel-bombing ships or we take responsibility for our own carbon. If it can be done safely, and that is demonstrable, then it’s time that we took responsibility for our own carbon emissions.
“We should not get caught up in a bourgeois environmental debate driven by the bourgeois environmental lobby …The debate on the left needs to seriously talk about climate change, but it needs to be focused on jobs. And the renewables industry, and many of those who espouse it in politics, have no interest in jobs for working class communities. And we should stop pretending that we’re in an alliance with them. The big winners from renewables have been the wealthy and big corporate interests. Invariably the only jobs that are created when wind farms get put up, particularly onshore wind, have been jobs in public relations and jobs for lawyers.”
Gary Smith is spot on.
Miliband’s obsession with wind and solar power is a dangerous illusion, a naive fantasy. It will put our energy security at risk, cost jobs and cripple the UK economy.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
September 23, 2022