Legal

Breaking: Judge gives go-ahead for Third Energy’s North Yorkshire fracking site

royal-courts-of-justice

In the past few minutes a High Court judge has backed plans by Third Energy to frack for shale gas at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

Mrs Justice Lang rejected a legal challenge to the decision by North Yorkshire County Council to grant planning permission in May this year.

The ruling could mean Kirby Misperton will see the first use of high volume hydraulic fracturing in the UK since 2011.

Friends of the Earth and the campaign group, Frack Free Ryedale, had argued that the council had acted unlawfully because it failed to take account of climate change impacts or protect the area from long-term damage.

During a two-day hearing last month (22-23 November), the two groups said the council had underestimated greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the project.

Gas from well is to be burned at the nearby Knapton power station to generate electricity.  Barrister for the claimants, David Wolfe QC, argued that the council should have taken account of emissions from the power station, as well as from the well operations.

He also argued that the council had misdirected itself in law by concluding that it could not require Third Energy to pay a financial bond to cover the costs of site restoration or damage.

But in her judgement given this morning Justice Lang rejected the grounds for the judicial review.

She supported the county council’s argument that bonds should be required only in exceptional circumstances and that the development did not include emissions from the power station.

The council’s barrister, Sasha White QC had argued that emissions from the power station were controlled by other permissions and regulatory regimes.

Justice Lang said in her judgement:

“In my view, the terms of the conditions [of the planning permission] afford a considerable degree of protection to residents. Despite the Claimants’ submission that the protection we too short-lived, it was apparent that the conditions extend beyond mere restoration to a programme of after care, in accordance with the PPG [planning practice guidance]”

Costs of £10,000 were awarded against Friends of the Earth and £5,000 jointly against Rev Jackie Cray and David Davis, of Frack Free Ryedale.

Campaigners’ reaction

kmjr2

Rev Jackie Cray and David Davis, of Frack Free Ryedale, joint claimants in the judicial review

Third Energy’s plan to frack its existing KM8 well was opposed by Ryedale District Council, every Ryedale town council, 15 parish councils, Flamingo Land, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the Castle Howard estate and more than 4,300 individuals. The county council’s planning committee voted by seven to four in favour of the scheme.

David Davis, one of the claimants for Frack Free Ryedale, said this morning:

“We respect Mrs Justice Lang’s decision whose duty was to carefully interpret the law as it stands today. Our greatest disappointment is with the government, our own MP, and an industry who are conspiring to force fracking on unwilling communities with the threat of overruling any councils who refuse planning permission. 

 “Our own County Council failed to respect residents wishes and those of the District Council, five town councils and 14 parish councils in Ryedale who objected, and did not even have the courage to use the authority’s own draft Minerals and Waste Plan as a basis to throw out this application.

“Third Energy will now press ahead with its plans at Kirby Misperton. Sadly, this decision will open the floodgates to other fracking companies such as INEOS who together have plans for more than 14,000 wells in Ryedale alone. Large areas of Yorkshire, the North and the Midlands are covered by Petroleum Exploration and Development licences for fracking which if exploited will lead to the widespread industrialisation of our countryside.”

Frack Free Ryedale said it drew some comfort from Justice Lang’s comment in her judgement that it was the responsibility of the Council’s planning committee to reach an independent view on whether “energy requirements ought to be met by other, less environmentally damaging means than gas production and a gas-fuelled electricity generating station” Frack Free Ryedale statement

Reverend Jackie Cray, the other claimant for FFR, said:

“I’m obviously disappointed in the verdict but it doesn’t end here. There is no support in North Yorkshire for this risky industry.”

Rev Cray, who lives about a quarter of a mile from the KM8 well, said said local people would not give up their fight.

“We will continue to campaign on behalf of local communities for the sake of our children and their children’s health and well-being, and the long term prosperity of our area. We are not prepared for Ryedale to become a sacrifice zone for the sake of industry greed.”

Donna Hume, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:

“The high court has ruled that fracking can go ahead in beautiful Yorkshire, and we must rise to this latest challenge.

“The judge found that North Yorkshire Councillors had assessed the impacts of climate change. But we know that climate change was barely mentioned at that crucial council meeting where the decision to allow fracking was taken, and more damningly, that councillors didn’t have the information about the total carbon emissions produced from the fracking project.

She added that Third Energy, 97% owned by Barclays, could expect resistance to its plans:

“Residents have said they will continue to do everything they can to peacefully prevent Barclays’ owned Third Energy from fracking, and we will be standing with them.”

North Yorkshire County Council reaction

A statement from the council this morning said:

“North Yorkshire County Council is grateful for the judgement of the High Court, which confirms the planning committee gave proper regard to all material planning considerations before approving the application by Third Energy to undertake fracking for shale gas in the vicinity of Kirby Misperton.

“The County Council has not sought to bring fracking to North Yorkshire. Having received this application, we had a responsibility to determine it and to apply national and local policies. We followed a statutory process, and the High Court has found that we followed it correctly and has rejected the issues raised by Friends of the Earth.

“We have a statutory duty to deal with such issues, and are now focusing on a new draft Minerals and Waste Joint Plan for York and North Yorkshire, which has been produced by the County Council with City of York Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority.

“The plan will put in place robust measures to  balance the interests of the fracking industry with those of residents, businesses and the environment in areas where planning applications may be made.

“It adopts a raft of measures that include an extended buffer zone to protect residential locations as well as environmentally important places, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nature conservation areas and important historic sites.

“We have been encouraging people and organisations to make representations on the draft by tomorrow, 21 December.

“When given final approval, the plan will become a key reference for planning decisions for development for the next 15 years, including hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.”

Third Energy reaction

A statement from Third Energy said:

“Third Energy is pleased that the court has found that North Yorkshire County Council acted properly in granting planning permission for test fracs at the existing KM8 well in Ryedale.  The council set 40 conditions to the grant of planning permission which the company is well on its way to satisfying. It is worth remembering that we are nearly two years into a planning application process for a proposed operation that would take less than three months to complete.”

The company’s chief executive, Rasik Valand, added:

“The permission places a great obligation on Third Energy to prove that we can carry out the test fracs in the same safe, discreet and environmentally sensitive way that we have conducted our gas exploration and energy generation activities over the past two decades.

“We are confident that we will prove to the local community that their elected representatives were right to grant this permission.  We look forward to the results of the test fracs which will help establish whether gas can be produced from deeper and tighter rock formations at the Kirby Misperton site.”

More DrillOrDrop reports

Details on the judicial review ruling

What the judge said about allowing fracking at Kirby Misperton (20/12/2016)

Day 1 of the judicial review

High Court fracking challenge told council “underestimated” climate impact of Third Energy plans

Council defends decision to approve North Yorkshire fracking plans

Day 2 of the judicial review

Judgement reserved in High Court challenge over fracking in North Yorkshire


This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s Rig Watch project. Rig Watch receives funding for travel and accommodation from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

104 replies »

      • But perhaps he does approve? The Reverend Jackie Cray will have to have a few bumper collections at Church this festive season to pay her costs? One would have thought he might of supported a Vicar in their time of need?

        • Is that an quote from the defrocked prophet of Frack The Tax Deductible? Or just the tomb of Goliath The (Formally) High And Mighty, now buried in two unconsecrated graves after being excommunicated after the infamous Tina incident. Not a lot of bounteous harvest there was there?
          I suspect the person you refer to would be more interested in throwing out the money lenders in your temple and would consider the poisonous harvest from fracking as another invasion of the Evil Empire.

    • yes, i can imagine my grand children opening up their present this year and find it is a massive fracking rig in their garden pouring out noise and gas and poison and shaking the earth, and being told its not for them, but to feed the local power station.
      I suppose if you were really kind, you could light it up like a Christmas tree? Or perhaps a wooden cross would be more appropriate? but then when the children get sick and bleeding from every orifice from the pollution produced next year, they would probably ask us to send it back and exchange it for something less poisonous, like a nuclear power station.

      • I expect your grand children use gas central heating like most of us do. And on that cold and windless Xmas morning they will have the lights on – powered by gas, coal and nuclear, because it is still dark, and like any excited kids, they get up early on Xmas morning.

        • A freshly made wood fire, warm and life giving, gas is poisonous and wet, it gives them colds.We always use torches and candles for the older ones to see the tree and the presents, we wrap in warm blankets and give them lots of peace love and joy and happiness and simple things, we have fun, all together in the sheer joy of being alive. The poison and hatred and profiteering of the world stays outside, but you want to bring it inside, you want to introduce your poison to them and us.
          Now do you understand?

          • You should move to Cuba or Venezuela where the Government hate companies or business people that make monetary profits. And they burn wood for energy as they export all their oil and gas. Trust me their view of the world is exactly like yours. You can leave all of us profiteering earth destroying fools behind here in England to leave us alone to deserve our fates to suffer in poisoned environment ourself. But we won’t blame you or hold grudge for you to leave us stranded in the world you just described. Really we dont. We even help you pack.

          • It’s an interesting topic risk perception….candles …..cause of dozens of fires every year- but of course you can trust your children to act responsibly and I’m sure you supervise them and have sensible rules to avoid accidents. A bit like fracking really.
            While I’m on a roll it’s easy to think (risk perception again) of wood stoves as some wonderful “natural” source of energy but, in areas with little electricity or gas supply, the WHO recognise fumes from woodfires as being a major source of death especially for women and children.

            • We don’t need vague unenforceable underfunded government regulation bodies to take six months to shut the door long after the house has burned down if that’s what you mean. There seems to be a lot of uncured green ham on your roll and not enough humble pie to go with it?
              I don’t recommend candles as a fracking aid however, or a wood fire, or indeed any combustion within several miles, have you told the local residents that they cant make so much as a spark in their own homes?
              Have you never heard of a re circulation flue? It re re cycles the smoke and heat and re ignites it, it does so several times, conserves heat and reduces emissions to less than gas.
              Still on a roll? Hope its edible, maybe its frackwurst?, geddit? Frack wurst? No? Never mind, stoney ground as usual.

            • “I don’t recommend candles as a fracking aid however, or a wood fire, or indeed any combustion within several miles, have you told the local residents that they cant make so much as a spark in their own homes?”

              Phil, you were trying very hard to convince us all you understand the process and the issues but you fail miserably with comments like this.

            • Keep trying Paul, your the only one who knows the truth, right? Just because you troll out the same old “no one understands but me! you are all ignorant fools, only i know the truth, i try so hard, but no-one listens!” Doesn’t make it true, its just the only put down line you can come up with. It doesn’t wash.
              Besides, haven’t you got better things to do on Christmas eve? I only came across this because i was texting my family, and i considered not even bothering it was such a weak post, but then i thought “what the heck, why not make Pauls day and wish him the very best of Yuletide Cheer, i know he will appreciate my good wishes!
              So, have a Great Christmas and a wonderful New Year and be peaceful and relaxed and enjoy yourself.
              Speak to ya when i get back, you have the stage all to yourself, and no audience, knock yourself out! You can have a field day spreading all that good cheer you have been holding back this whole year.

  1. These should be prosecuted for wasting court time if they try to fight the matter further…
    Just because the “locals” dont like the idea of living near a fracking site..
    You think i like living near MacDonald’s??
    You think mr bloggs likes living near a school??
    No… But that dosent mean we can take them to court because where not happy…

    All this nonsense only slows down the process leading to re renewables!

    • Most self defeating argument I’ve ever seen. Imagining living near a McDonald’s or a school to be anything like being near a fracking site. Jeez… no homework whatsoever!

      • Would you not agree that fast food is responsible more deaths than shale gas Philip? And a greater burden on the health system in the US?

          • Your missing the point philip…
            Jst because you dont like the business next door you cant jst stamp your feet n say ‘i dont want it’ especially when it means so much to our stability…

            • Do those next door businesses you give for comparison give you nose bleeds, make your hair fall out or toxify your drinking water?

            • Working on oil and gas rigs / production sites / platforms / fracking wells doesn’t give you nose bleeds or make your hair fall out. Why should this happen when living near onshore sites if it doesn’t happen to you when you live on the site half your working life?

            • You said yourself you haven’t visited a gas field (of the high volume type we’ll be talking about here), in fact there haven’t been any of the kind we’ll be seeing practiced in the UK yet. So Paul, you deceive people, and now you’re admitting, or pretending to not have viewed the examples I’ve already posted as evidence of the above.

            • Philip – not sure what you mean. I worked for several years on Leman and Indefatigable gas fields in the southern north sea. Combined production was somewhere around 3 billion cubic feet per day – huge percentage of UK’s gas production at that time. Individual wells on Indie flowed at rates up to 100mmscfd – about 5 times the rate from the best shale gas wells. No nose bleeds or health problems. The wells were not fracked, no need, fantastic PI. But why are fracked wells different?

            • Do you not know the differences withe fracking operations? How many millions of gallons of water and 100s of 1000s of gallons of frack fluid were you dealing with per well Paul? How many private residences were within 1km of your rigs? How tall were the rigs – to compare venting impacts etc.
              I’d like to know if there’s any real comparison .

            • Did you Google Leman and Indefatigable? The nearest residences were on the accommodation platforms on top of the fields in the middle of the gas processing equipment. No nose bleeds etc. The nearest private residences would be around 25km from Leman and 40km from Indie.

              Drilling rigs all have a derrick which is genearlly 3 singles high plus a crown block plus a top drive plus a substructure, around 160ft. Then add on legs, air gap etc. for offshore.

              The comparison is that people lived on top of the gas drilling and production operations without ill effect. We used to cold vent wells flowing at 100mmscfd to test them. A very, very good shale gas well will be 20mmscfd. We also produced condensate with the gas, separated it out and spiked it back into the dried gas downstream of the compressors to get it onshore (the stuff they will be using to cook on at the KM protector camp). The only nasty I recall we had to be careful with was methanol which was used for hydrate inhibition although if the TEG driers were working this was not needed. And liquid nitrogen, we had to be careful that this was not spilled on bare steel as it fractured the steel.

              I am not deceiving anyone, just stating my experience. I don’t read many of the links out of the US, in my opinion they are generally made by people with an axe to grind, are over hyped, not relevant, misleading or just untrue.

              By the way, offshore fracking is considerably easier, you use 99% seawater and return it to where it came from after checking the acid is spent if it contains acid. And no arm chair experts……

  2. Seems once the integrity cloak slips, it vanishes without trace!

    For those who can not be kept warm by the glow of self righteousness this Christmas, I trust your gas fired (majority) heating does the job. Enjoy your Christmas.

    • Hmmm, an integrity cloaking device? Is that how you do it? i thought it was just marsh gas? Do you also have boney protrusions in your foreheads and do you also speak in a guttural tone filled with curses?

      Well we in the freedom from fracking federation have only one thing to say to you.

      yIlegh, Daj qa’ ghaH. ‘oH ghaH ghobe’ Daq ghaH, ‘ach QaQtaHghach DichDaq yIn Daj HartaHghach.

      “QISmaS DatIvjaj QI’yaH”

  3. I think, in general, people seem to have very little real understanding of what it would take to get rid of gas in the UK energy mix given its prevalence in industry and home heating. It’s a massive challenge, and a renewable energy solution is absolutely not just around the corner “with the right political will” as is often suggested.

    It’s a topic we examine in our latest blog here http://www.remsol.co.uk/100-renewable-energy-and-zero-emissions-can-we-do-it/

    Can anyone honestly imagine a scenario in which the amount of additional wind and solar power capacity could be added to make this a reality? Truly, I can’t.

    If we’re going to carry on using large amounts of gas, it just makes so much more sense for it to be ours rather than imported gas and certainly whilst we continue to build alternatives, whatever they turn out to be.

    • You have been lied to, free energy was discovered by Nicola Tesla more than 100 years ago. Nicola Tesla developed AC electricity and built a tower which drew energy from the atmosphere and the earth. Tesla was stopped by JPMorgan and his invention was destroyed and all records stolen by US government.
      Look it up.
      We have not needed fossil fuel for anything other than lubrication and manufacturing the many other things we don’t need for 100 years, so why do we still rely upon and pay through the nose for it?
      Bah humbug, because the big conglomerates cannot make profit out of free energy.
      You could turn every drilling rig into a Tesla generator in a month, free energy for all, no poverty, no exorbitant bills, no vast profits, just peace and freedom for all.
      So why don’t you do it? I gave a clue above.
      Hows that for alternative?

    • ‘Can anyone honestly imagine a scenario in which the amount of additional wind and solar power capacity could be added to make this a reality? Truly, I can’t.’

      The Offshore Valuation Group, comprising of Government and Industry Organisations looking at the UK’s offshore renewable energy potential.

      http://www.ppaenergy.co.uk/web-resources/resources/467ac5b8919.pdf

      Then add on onshore wind and solar

      It appears companies like remsol have no technical understanding of the reality of the power of renewable energy.

      I agree the UK will still be using home grown North sea gas for some time. The good news is out put is up over last 2 years and prices have dropped.

      As more renewables come on line our import requirements will reduce.

      Fracked gas has not materialised in the UK after nearly 7 years.

      Climate change has global centre stage and it’s effects are happening now.

      It is time for our Government to act and pull out the stops on renewable energy, meet our climate change targets, create employment, and take a leading role in combating the biggest threat to humanity.

      • “It appears companies like remsol have no technical understanding of the reality of the power of renewable energy.”

        Really John?

        Our analysis shows that to eradicate fossil fuels in all sectors but aviation, road freight and bus transport, you could only do so by replacing it with electricity but it would quadruple consumption. To supply this with minimal CO2 emissions to try and halt the progression of climate change, if you’re doing it with renewables, they’d have to be limited to non-combustion technologies like hydro, wind and solar. We’d need to build an additional 340 GW of capacity to satisfy this.

        Let’s assume they scale in the same proportions they are now, we’d need to build:

        28.73 GW hydro

        219.87 GW wind

        59.05 GW solar

        I can’t imagine us ever being able to build that much additional hydro, can you?

        Then look at wind, which is currently split 65% onshore, 35% offshore. Can you seriously see 142.91 GW of onshore wind capacity getting built? Even using the biggest 8 MW turbines that Dong has just installed at Burbo Bank in the Mersey estuary, you’d need over 17,500 of them – if they were the far more common 2.5 MW turbines, you can make that 57,164. Where would we put them all? And wouldn’t the communities that have to host them pay a massive price in terms of landscape impact?

        Do you really think we could build 10 times more solar PV capacity?

        The late Prof Mackay didn’t seem to think it would be possible to live off just renewables (see the very instructive http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c18/page_103.shtml). Just before he died this year, he said it was an “appalling delusion.”

        So, in what way is Remsol not understanding the opportunities and limitations of renewables? What are we missing?

        And another question: if the goal is to prevent climate change, why renewables and not nuclear? In fact, why be technology specific at all? Shouldn’t we just choose the most cost effective solutions with the least overall negative impact?

        • Tesla died alone reclusive in his New York apartment in the 1930’s surrounded by the neon lights that were powered by AC generated electricity he invented and was stolen from him. During his last years he must have pondered how his Wharfencliff tower might have similarly transformed the human race. But it was not to be.
          2000 years earlier another man tried to revolutionise religion saying god was for everyone, not just for priests and the elite, not just for Hebrews nut every single human being. But the establishments rice bowl was the subjugation and ignorance of the people, they did not let that go and we know the rest.
          Tesla found the same, as did many before and since. The simple truth is that the human race does not want solutions, its bad for business. Better to keep everyone ignorant and keep arguing the toss about what safe profit making approved alternative is allowed. Far better to keep division high and destroy solutions, solutions get in the way of profit and power bases. So here we are close to an anniversary of the birth (actually not, but that is another story). Of one person who tried to break the mold and in memory of another who died without fulfilling his amazing genius, we find ourselves still arguing the toss.
          Merry Christmas

            • Having looked it up rather than relying upon my memory, i thought i had better get Nikola Tesla’s name and day birth and death right.

              These are some predictions he made for the 21st century, make of them what you will, some things we have achieved, but clearly we are not there yet on any form of sensible natural resources management, i fact i would say we are regressing in the issue of burning fuel in this present time.

              “Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.
              The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.
              The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.”

              “Long before the next century dawns, systematic reforestation and the scientific management of natural resources will have made an end of all devastating droughts, forest fires, and floods. The universal utilization of water power and its long-distance transmission will supply every household with cheap power and will dispense with the necessity of burning fuel. The struggle for existence being lessened, there should be development along ideal rather than material lines.”

              Nikola Tesla :
              Born: July 10, 1856, Smiljan, Croatia
              Died: January 7, 1943, Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York City, New York, United States

        • I will presume you and your team? can understand the technical content of the offshore valuation group report

          http://www.ppaenergy.co.uk/web-resources/resources/467ac5b8919.pdf

          This is what they suggest could be achieved.

          ‘Our analysis shows that the UK’s offshore resource, if developed to its maximum
          potential, could generate over 2,100 terawatt hours (TWh), equal to six times UK
          electricity consumption in 2009.’

          What do the Remsol team? think of this suggestion and what is your view of the Government and Industry report.

          We live on an Island you know. Waves, tides. Fairly regular occurrences.

          Electricity is not hard to produce. Turn a shaft and you have it.

          The question is how to turn the shaft.

          I think it would be sensible to use the wind and the ocean (both are free and contain infinite amounts of power) and maximise their potential and back that up with the cleanest fossil fuel.

          Others want to expand the fossil fuel industry by industrialising the countryside, disrupting rural communities, inflicting health issues, to produce a fuel that when burnt can produce the turning of the same shafts that could be turned by free sourced wind and water.

          The people in Germany were asked if they wanted to go down a renewable future and to start their reduction on burning coal. They were told it would cost more. They agreed. Democracy in action. Next year the subsidies are coming down.

          Nuclear

          I worked at Sellafield for 5 years 20 years ago. Things were not good then.

          Is it OK now?

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-02/fukushima-radiation-has-contaminated-entire-pacific-ocean-and-its-going-get-worse

          Now confirm you have no problem with living with the ones you love above this lot. The 3 minute video should be enough.

          https://www.gov.uk/government/news/geological-disposal-understanding-our-work.

        • ‘Do you really think we could build 10 times more solar PV capacity?’

          Absolutely! You know environmentor it’s easy to throw up figures in a ‘what if’ scenario, but you are not actually looking at the reality. The future has to move into renewables, smart use and insulation. No one advocates at the moment 100% renewables as our systems and people’s expectations are not ready; although the scenario is possible with political will, attitude and changes to infrastructure with the shortfall being easily be made up by our current reserves.

          Getting back on track we don’t need another source of fossil fuel, particularly shale gas as it is a dirty fuel. Our energies should be being spent on education into use, maximising renewables and stretching out our current fossil fuel reserves. All domestic dwellings and commercial properties should have solar roof panels where possible. These are not intrusive. All new homes and as many older homes should be better insulated. This should be compulsory with loans available similar to student finance.

          You can never do 100% of anything, but you can maximise the positive and minimise the negative. Whilst our ruling systems are still profit orientated and anti-human we are fighting an uphill battle. Let’s hope in the next twenty years there are changes. I have a hope when talking to the next generations that they will soon take control and move us back to a community based culture. At that point all big business will come under scrutiny and the Roman Empire may yet fall again 🙂

          Regarding the judgement, Mrs Lang has done what she was able to do, review the objection and make a judgement within the planning guidelines which are currently stacked up against issues of climate change and community intervention. I know this is changing within local councils with new local plans, so in the future she may be able to come to a different conclusion? But for now we must respect her judgement.

          • Or “throwing up figures in a ‘what if’ scenario” Sherwulfe, trying to have a meaningful debate about our energy future and that starts with being realistic about the challenges and solutions available to us.

            You say nobody advocates for 100% RE, but that’s not true, it’s a growing movement:

            http://www.re100.org/

            http://100percent.org.au/

            http://www.go100re.net

            And my personal favourite http://www.go100percent.org/cms/ that boldly states “100% renewable energy is not a fantasy for someday, but a reality today.”

            There was even a conference about it in October http://www.100re-conference.org

            As for building a further 45 GW of solar capacity, nobody believes that’s possible – 26 GW appears to be the realistic maximum (from p215 here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42562/216-2050-pathways-analysis-report.pdf) and this has been used by the UK Committee on Climate Change when modelling future scenarios for the setting of carbon budgets etc.

            As I said right at the start, we need to be honest about what can and can’t be achieved and I’d advocate we do it incrementally, starting with the easier to achieve changes

            • ‘You say nobody advocates for 100% RE, but that’s not true, it’s a growing movement:’

              I did not say this; the actual line is:
              ‘No one advocates at the moment 100% renewables as our systems and people’s expectations are not ready’. – It’s a whole different meaning environmentor.

              I am pleased it is a growing movement. It will happen one day. Change comes slowly, I just hope it’s not too late when it does.

              ‘As for building a further 45 GW of solar capacity, nobody believes that’s possible’ – bit of a contradiction. You state yourself about the movement growing. And just for the record I believe. I am not nobody 🙂

              ‘As I said right at the start, we need to be honest about what can and can’t be achieved and I’d advocate we do it incrementally, starting with the easier to achieve changes’

              A good start. Just bear in mind we don’t need dirty shale. The numbers are out there.

            • ’26 GW appears to be the realistic maximum’

              Extracted from a 2010 report referencing data from 2009. While solar was in it’s infancy.

              Well hello Remsol renewable team. It’s 2016.

              ‘As for building a further 45 GW of solar capacity, nobody believes that’s possible’

              I presume your razor sharp team have heard of a country called ‘Germany’

              They already have 40GW of solar capacity.

              Their aim is to have 200GW of solar capacity by 2050.

              https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/publications/veroeffentlichungen-pdf-dateien-en/studien-und-konzeptpapiere/recent-facts-about-photovoltaics-in-germany.pdf

              Do the Germans pay a subsidy for this. Yes.

              Have the majority of the German population agreed to pay the extra to get the system running.Yes.

              Are the costs dropping year on year.Yes.

              Is there a significant difference between Germany and UK daylight hours. No.

              Is the population, therefore roof space, similar between the two countries. Yes.

              Does our Government keep cutting subsidies on solar thus restricting development.Yes.

              Does the UK tax payer have to pay £6 Billion a year to subsidise the UK fossil fuel industry.Yes.

              Germany has proven wind and solar will command demand destruction of fossil fuels.

              Referencing the fact that Germany uses coal at present is irrelevant to the proving of renewables.

              The fact it costs more to set up is irrelevant if the democratic vote is to pursue that path.

              The occasions when the grid gets problems are negligible and will be overcome in time.

              To be honest renewables definitely could, and shale gas definitely could not, meet our base fuel needs.

              So why is the UK not following the obvious route?

              I think we all know that answer.

            • An expert such as yourself, John, will probably know that the success of solar PV isn’t just about daylight hours (although that is a major factor) but also solar irradiation – the intensity of the sun’s energy as it falls on a perpendicular surface – which is lower at more northerly latitudes owing to the tilt of the planet which makes the land further away from the sun. These maps show why Germany is better placed than the UK when it comes to making solar work http://solargis.com/products/maps-and-gis-data/free/download/europe but I guess you just forgot to mention this when you were suggesting that, because Germany has 40 GW of installed solar PV capacity, we can match it…

            • I did look at it and found reference to little significant difference.

              https://cambridgesolar.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/germany-vs-uk-in-solar-energy/

              Hence I put

              ‘Is there a significant difference between Germany and UK daylight hours. No’

              Happy to concede Germany is slightly better for solar

              That pales into insignificance when you compare UK wind speeds to Germany. .

              http://www.wind-energy-the-facts.org/wind-atlases.html

              What are your thoughts on this comprehensive Government and Industry report on offshore renewable potential?

              http://www.ppaenergy.co.uk/web-resources/resources/467ac5b8919.pdf

              I presume you are happy to live 200 metres from a £330,000,000 fracking site but you have not confirmed you are happy to have a high level radioactive repository 200 metres under your house. I am interested from feedback from all your team on this as this is a local community issue as well as a National one.

              If you do not support nuclear energy going forward please state.

              https://www.gov.uk/government/news/geological-disposal-understanding-our-work.

            • Yes, I would be happy to live near a shale gas site, provided that it could comply with relevant planning conditions and all the necessary environmental permits. The same can be said of landfills, waste recycling facilities, anaerobic digestion plants producing biomethane and energy-from-waste incinerators.

              I can also confirm that I personally think new nuclear has an important role to play in securing access to large quantities of reliable and, crucially, low carbon electricity.

              Would I be content to live above an engineered repository? Yes, I would have no problem with that at all if the geology was proven to be suitable – I already live within 6 miles of the Springfield nuclear fuel plant, and can’t imagine that a GDF would be any worse.

              Ultimately, for me, it comes down to how risks are identified, minimised, proactively managed and mitigated for. If it’s done well, with adequate safeguards, proximity shouldn’t matter. That’s the same with any industrial process, including chemicals manufacture.

            • Lots of rules and regulations went into this. Clipboards, hard hats, and rigger boots galore. Risk assessments, and method statements by the tens of thousands. Safe working practices and standard operating procedures by the millions.

              http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-02/fukushima-radiation-has-contaminated-entire-pacific-ocean-and-its-going-get-worse

              Nice clean environmentally nuclear.

              Don’t think an ‘oops’ will clean up the pacific or repair the dead and dying.

              However well regulated accidents will happen.

              That is not acceptable for an industry where failure causes such devastation

              Nuclear going forward. Complete madness.

            • Well said John,
              ‘Ooops’ may be the human races epitaph. Fukushima has all the hallmarks of an E.L.E. in slow motion, certainly it has destroyed unknown amounts of the wildlife in the Pacific, boats travelling to America used to be surrounded by whales and dolphins, shoals of fish and birds in abundance the air, now just a few very sick whales are seen and almost no other wildlife, the Pacific is dead and fish calls and whale calls on sonar are absent.
              This radiation has only to spread to all our other ‘oopses’ across the world known and unknown, and we may find ourselves in one big ‘OOOPS’.
              Perhaps if as much money effort was put into cleaning up the Pacific, as is being squandered on fracking, there would perhaps be some hope of surviving this horror. but maybe they need a lot of gas to run their generator turbines in their D.U.M.B.S.
              But the human race does not want to face up to it, better to make short term profit and run to the Pacific tax havens with all that lovely lovely money. Spend it quickly, maybe on a place in a bunker with all the other wasters, deep in the antarctic where us useless eaters are not allowed to go.

            • John, “how ever well regulated accidents will happen”. Yes of course, do you ever get in a car, use a sharp knife, light a candle. I know there’s a difference of scale but the pronciple the same, look at the cost/benefit analysis and control and regulate the industry accordingly. If you are worried about the risks of nuclear and have any sense that fossil fuels will play any part in our energy future then surely you should be supporting gas as the safest and least polluting of the fossil fuels.

              Of course a nuclear accident is the disaster risk everyone wants to guard against, I just wanted to note however the statement by the National Grid that electricity supply this winter was “tight but manageable”. I take from that that an “oops moment” of reduced voltage, industrial closures or even peak time blackouts are possible. Obviously not in the same league as a nuclear accident but harmful nevertheless.

            • But John, Fukushima doesn’t prove that nuclear is inherently unsafe, just that it shouldn’t have been built where it was in a very seismically active location known for very strong earthquakes.

            • ‘But John, Fukushima doesn’t prove that nuclear is inherently unsafe, just that it shouldn’t have been built where it was in a very seismically active location known for very strong earthquakes.’
              Bit like Sellafield…all that nuclear waste sitting on a fault by the sea; happy days.

            • Wow John you really are going for it, no nuclear as well as a massive reduction in fossil fuel use. Honestly that feels like a return to the dark ages, huge increases in death rates from cold and damp related illnesses, massive reduction in the general standard of living, 60 million people scavenging for wood to burn and polluting the atmosphere by burning it.

              By the way I’d be happy to live near a fracking site, as much as I’d want to live near any other light industrial site. There would be disruption for about a year but after that just a Christmas tree outlet for the gas and occasional maintenance. Most people don’t seem to realise that fracking is not a continuous process. The sand in the fractures essentially act as tiny supports which open the way for the natural pressure at depth to expel the gas fromon until it is exhausted.

              By the way can I just moan on about the double standards in the way energy is reported. Woke up early the other morning to hear a program about wind farms in Scotland; the landowner was saying how marvellous it was because the tracks that had been laid over the peat bog enabled his travel around his land more easily, marvellous, now that’s not “industrialisation of the lanscape” or “rape of precious wetland habitat ” , no it’s just passed over as a necessary part of the process. So hypocritical.

              Similarly an item recently about a massive new anaerobic digestor which will process 60’000 tons of grass. How will the grass get there was the question? Don’t worry came the reply, it’ll mostly come on the back of tractor and trailors from local farms (a tractor is so much more “natural” than a lorry isn’t it). Absolutely no comeback about the overall benefits of the energy produced versus the fuel use and carbon emissions from probably over 6000 tractor journeys or the traffic probelems. Again compare with the concern raised about traffic to one fracking site.

            • Sorry John can we just come back to the inconvenient truth that solar and wind will provide very little power on a still early evening in January when UK demand will be something like 50GW.

              Logically you’re either going to have to massively reduce demand or have a back-up source to make up the shortfall. What are the choices, batteries, nuclear, coal, gas, wood chips. You decide.

              Personally my choice would be “all of the above” with the mix based on a mature debate regading how to balance the energy trilemma of energy sources needing to be firstly, climate friendly, secondly affordable and thirdly, secure.

            • In 2015 the UK exported more gas than we imported in LNG.

              All those pro frackers who are worried about lights going out and pensioners freezing might want to suggest to the Government to keep the gas for the UK.

              The difference in 2015 between Germany and UK in combined wind and solar is 122TWh for Germany against 48TWh for the UK.

              If we matched Germany we would cut our reliance on LNG down to half of what we currently import.

              Another fact on UK energy and renewable potential.

              Easy to find Government figures.

              Strange how pro frackers talk about renewable energy being the long term answer but cannot explain why we fall miles behind Germany.

              I suggest we export half of the gas we normally export and match German renewables. Then no more LNG would be needed.

              This would be the same outcome as what the fracking industry is trying to promote in it’s last desperate attempt at justification

    • Yes, one of the chief managers from the National Grid spoke to a House of Lords committee recently and noted that the gas system, on average, contains three times the energy of the electricity system and on a cold day, something like five times the energy. What that tells you is is that replacement of gas in heating and cooking would require an absolutely massive increase in generation and given that gas generates half our electricity anyway the task of doing that without fossil fuels is mind-bogglingly huge.

      • Flame retardant, methylmercury and several persistent organic pollutants including high levels of DDT and PCBs. But the blue whale died because it was hit by a ship? Toxic algal blooms from rising ocean temperatures. Oil industry seismic is mentioned – but then this is not new – seismic has been shot for 40 years. Does not explain the huge increase in deaths? What is not mentioned is military sonar. But this has also been around for a long time too. I agree that the deaths of these cetaceans – and the sharks – needs to be stopped. But don’t blame it on one industry.

        Some more reading for you if you wish:

        https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/how-does-toxic-mercury-get-into-fish

        • Aren’t those oil products? I wasn’t blaming the deaths on just the oil industry, and all sorts of industry pour their toxic waste into the oceans, but of course we want our steel radials and plastics too don’t we?
          I don’t think you will get much joy out of the military if you ask them if their deep sonar kills whales or not? I have no doubt myself however. Tuna has high levels of mercury, not an oil product. Fish have high levels of pesticides and hormones, birds gullets are often choked with indigestible plastics, micro beads and so on.
          What gets me, is the oil and gas industry want to fill our land with the same processes. Why doesn’t the industries and governments of the world clean up the oceans first before imposing their industries on us on land? Then maybe we might just relent, but I doubt it because no one has shown much effort in cleaning the oceans, unless massive fines were threatened, it is hardly likely they will do so on land.

  4. Just to say that their clearly needs to be a major effort to keep pollutants below toxic levels. But please don’t put all this at the door of the O&G industry or blame climate change. By the way it’s worth noting that one consequence of possibly rising sea temperatures is the massive regeneration of cod stocks in the northern oceans as the populations move north.

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