What’s this shale gas gig?

shale rock

Shale gas will save us. It has no nasty emissions like coal does, its modest wellheads sit in our landscapes much gentler than great, ugly, noisy wind turbines, it’s more abundant than oil, it’s easy to extract (with a clever new technique), it’s far cheaper than any “renewable” energy, including nuclear, it could last the world for 250 years and it beats wind and solar handsomely when the wind stops and the sun sets. What’s not to like? Here I’ve somewhat shortened Ridley’s superb summary, but his laconic style is available in full at The Rational Optimist. H/T Bob Carter.

Which would you rather have in the view from your house? A thing about the size of a domestic garage, or eight towers twice the height of Nelson’s column with blades noisily thrumming the air. Over ten years, eight wind turbines of 2.5 megawatts (working at roughly 25% capacity) roughly equal the output of an average Pennsylvania shale gas well (converted to electricity at 50% efficiency).

Let’s make the choice easier. The gas well can be hidden behind a hedge. The eight wind turbines must be on hilltops, where the wind blows. New pylons are needed; the gas well is connected by an underground pipe.

Newspapers

This is an adopted article.

Unpersuaded? Wind turbines kill thousands of birds of prey every year. And bats: the pressure wave from the passing blade just implodes the little creatures’ lungs. You and I can go to jail for harming bats or eagles; wind companies are immune.

Still can’t make up your mind? The wind farm requires eight tonnes of an element called neodymium, which is produced only in Inner Mongolia, by boiling ores in acid leaving lakes of radioactive tailings so toxic no creature goes near them. Continue Reading →

Gas or coal? The quandary, the indecision!

coal protest

It’s hard to know what to say about Tom Wigley’s new paper on the climatic repercussions of replacing coal with natural gas: he says gas and coal are both good, and they’re both bad, but the truly remarkable thing is that, where for years the greens have been telling us to hate coal and everyone who uses it, now it’s hard to choose between coal and gas.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe mankind is warming the planet dangerously or not, Wigley tells us that it makes hardly any difference to the warming whether you use gas or coal. So why switch to gas? There’s no advantage in it. Continue Reading →