Fracking Week in Parliament: :17-21 October 2016


In this Fracking Week in Parliament:

  • Lord Vinson on shale gas and energy self-sufficiency
  • Alex Cunningham on carbon capture and storage for coal and gas
  • Carolyn Harris on tidal lagoons instead of fracking
  • Baroness Featherstone on shale gas versus tackling climate change

Thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com for the transcripts


17 October 2016

Written question on energy self-sufficiency

lord-vinsonQuestion by Lord Vinson, Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support the development of smaller reactors and the use of fracking for gas in order to strengthen the UK’s self-sufficiency in energy.

baroness-neville-rolfeReply by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister

The Government is committed to ensuring the UK has a secure and resilient energy system while meeting our climate change obligations and keeping bills as low as possible. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and shale gas have the potential to play a part in achieving this.

The Government has committed to investing at least £250 million over the next five years in nuclear research and development, which will include support for SMRs. In March 2016, the Government launched the first phase of a competition to identify the best value SMR for the UK, as well as allocating up to £30m over the next 5 years for an SMR-enabling advanced manufacturing programme to develop skills capacity.

The Government supports the exploration of our shale gas resources in a safe and sustainable way. The shale gas resources beneath Britain have the potential to bolster our energy security and lead to jobs and economic growth. UK geology is promising but we make no assumptions about production levels. We need exploration to determine the potential.

The Government has been clear that shale development must be safe and environmentally sound.

18 October 2016

Written question on carbon sequestration

Alex CunninghamQuestion by Alex Cunningham, Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department’s policy is on carbon capture and storage for coal and gas; and if he will make a statement.

jesse-norman-mpReply by Jesse Norman, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister, Conservative, Hereford and South Herefordshire

We will continue to work with industry going forward and will set out our future approach to carbon capture and storage in due course.

19 October 2016

House of Commons Welsh questions

carolyn-harrisQuestion by Carolyn Harris, Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Labour, Swansea East

Having taken a bloody nose for Hinkley and a black eye for fracking, is it not about time that this Government took an energy decision that enjoys the full support of this House and of the population at large? Why hold up any further the British-made, British-owned tidal lagoon projects that could change the fortunes not only of Wales, but of manufacturing businesses across the country?

alun-cairnsReply by Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, Conservative, Vale of Glamorgan

The hon. Lady and I agree that we would like something like that to be developed and to go ahead for the prospects and opportunities it will provide, but we have an obligation to the taxpayer: we have to ensure that it provides value for money. Only in recent weeks, the hon. Lady and her colleagues have complained about the cost of energy for Tata and other energy intensive industries. It is important that we generate energy in a cost-effective way that suits consumers as well as taxpayers.

20 October 2016

House of Lords debate on Brexit environment and climate change policy

Baroness FeatherstoneExtract of statement by Baroness Featherstone, Liberal Democrat

The Government need to move swiftly and certainly to guarantee our commitment to the environmental, energy and climate change agenda—not just with words, but with actions. New nuclear, enabling and encouraging more fossil fuels like shale gas or ignoring the differentials relating to good or bad biogas are not going to lead to the sort of thriving, go-ahead atmosphere for energy supplies in future, let alone an economic miracle. HMG seem determined to ignore that.

10 replies »

  1. Excuse me for bending the thread topic somewhat but perhaps the most interesting energy news this week has been the news of the closure of another 5 French nuclear plants for checks and maintenance, at least untill Christmas. At the risk of introducing some boring facts into this debate its worth having a look at Figure 5 of the document “winter report 2016/17” from the National Grid. The lazy scribblers have only reported the headline NG statement but Figure 5 shows the effect of different levels of inteconnector imports. The orange line is peak demand based on previous years, presumably during a very cold snap. NG’s lowest assumption is a net 0.5 GW of imports but since the report was written French nuclear outages have increased. Currently this morning (22nd October) we are exporting power rather than importing presumably based on some price differential. So the graph needs a new lower line with an additional assumption of zero or even nagative continental supply, which would show how risky the situation is. No doubt the NG will manage the situation with demand side management and lower voltage but the competition between France and the UK for power could result in much higher prices which will be passed on to industry and the consumer. This not meant to be scaremongering, as I say NG will manage but it does show the need for the UK energy supply/usage to be addressed whatever your shade of green.

    • You are not excused. Keep it for the I Gas propaganda blog.

      On topic:
      New words from the Cons.
      POTENTIAL – not ‘all out for’
      ‘The Government is committed to ensuring the UK has a secure and resilient energy system while meeting our climate change obligations and keeping bills as low as possible. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and shale gas have the potential to play a part in achieving this’.

      ‘EXPLORATION’ and’ SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE’ – in the SAME sentence
      ‘The Government supports the exploration of our shale gas resources in a safe and sustainable way.’

      ‘UK geology is promising but we make no assumptions about production levels’.

      Are the Conservatives having second thoughts?

  2. Good to see you support open debate. If the government decides to go ahead with suppport for fracking, will you accept the result?

    • In case you have not been keeping up, the Government’s stance in still in support, so there is no ‘result’. That scenario would occur if we all had a vote as in the referendum on Europe. Current surveys show that the majority of people asked do not support fracking (by this or any other name) and prefer clean energy generation (this also applies to most businesses).

      I would hope for the Conservative’s sake that they review their current stance, and I suspect by the answer from Baroness Neville-Rolfe, there is a pause for thought. The areas currently under threat from Shale Gas exploration are mainly Conservative voters. many affected will either refrain or abstain or even defect to parties that do not support fracking. It could become a political thorn in May’s side.

      • I think you’re right that public opinion is against fracking but the Tories were voted in with support fro shale exploration as part of their declared aims. I do hope that the government will have the courage to lead rather than follow public opinion in this case. Luckily with no viable alternative government at the moment the Tories have a space where they can take a longer term view in the national interest.

        • Mark.

          ‘Only 37% of voters lent their support to the Tories on Thursday. 63% opted for other parties.

          When you take into account the fact many people didn’t vote at all, the numbers get even more extreme. Only 24% of those eligible to vote actually put a cross next to a Tory candidate on their ballot paper.

          That leaves a massive 76% of people we have no reason to believe support the Conservative government.’

          That figure does NOT represent the people of the UK.

          If I asked many of the Tory voters did they read the manifesto right through, what do you think the answer would be?
          From the number of Tory voters who are now being affected by fracking in their area and who are now protesting, I think we know the answer.

          And for those who did; not everyone agrees with everything in a manifesto. Most people cherry pick those policies that will apply favorably to them.

  3. Yes this should be the future but at what cost and over what timescale? The first house in the article looks like a self managed building project by an architect for £240K, so how long would it take, and how much would it cost to bring a significant proportion of the UK housing stock up to that standard. In the meantime what do we do? Unavoidably it’s compromises around the energy trilemma, affordable, secure and climate friendly. In the words of Nick Grealy, the answer to our energy needs is “all of the above”.

    • Well definitely NOT do shale. If we are talking property and valuations, then ask the resident whos house has devalued from £750,000 to nothing.

      As I said, it is for the future; hopefully the near future. If all new builds were made to this standard then we would create a big dint in demand for energy. Yes they will be more expensive initially, like solar panels, but yes the reduced bills will more than make up the difference on a mortgage. It’s a win win situation.

      As for older houses, I get it. It will take time and a labour of love in some cases. I believe the government should provide loans for people to complete these works. Use some of the money levied on petrol for this fund? If people can borrow money to go to college, whey can’t we have a similar loan system for people to green up their homes? Fair and investing in the future, just like a student loan 🙂

  4. The CEO of Exxon promoted the shale gas industry as ‘clean and safe’ then took out an injunction against a company to stop them fracking anywhere near his horse ranch. Jim Ratcliff, head of INEOS, recently claimed (on UK radio 4) that ‘there had been no related safety or environmental issues’ in the USA. As heads of very large companies promoting the shale gas fracking industry these people are taking a very large gamble with public trust and confidence. What if what they say simply isn’t true?

    The obscuring of health, safety and environmental impacts (of shale gas fracking and related emissions from drilling, extraction, storage and distribution) is a deception that is being practiced on an industrial scale in the United States, This is a call for diligent investigation of all areas of public concern before the same strategies take root and create precedents here in the UK. There is clear evidence of a history of obscuring or withholding information and presenting ‘cooked’ or misleading evaluations (on impacts) and not presenting clear explanations of how the industry progressively expands any works after initial sign offs (of well site networks, pipes, plant, roads haulage etc,). All these things can be reviewed and evaluated by way of overseas examples nowadays and should be studied intensively by anyone responsible for decisions.

    Why governments/authorities are led to invest so much in the shale gas revolution and why the misinformation and accountability issues that arise have proved so elusive, is expertly handled in (particularly the latter part of) this documentary: https://vimeo.com/60999259

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