Over the past couple of years you will have heard about Shale energy, whether you are an expert on the subject or simply come across it in the news, it is an increasingly important topic within the energy industry, one that gathers momentum each day. But for many the question remains, what is Shale energy?
There are a lot of conflicting sources out there, many depending on their own thoughts regarding Shale Energy. Regardless of the side you are on when it comes to the topic, it is important that there is a foundation of evidenced base information to help people understand this type of energy source further. When it comes to discussing Shale energy, SEA are primarily focussed on providing an informed space for debate and knowledge sharing for all sides.
To help those understand the debate behind Shale energy, here are the main areas to consider:
So what is Shale Energy?
In the UK approximately 80% of people are using gas to heat their home, this fossil fuel is obtained in many different ways. Shale energy is simply shale gas, it is the exact same as the gas obtained from the North sea in the way that it is a natural gas which can be used to heat our homes. It is called Shale gas due to its source, forming within shale rock formations, usually found 1 to 5km underground.
Why is this coming up now?
Scotland is a nation that is renowned for its rich sources of energy, particularly when it comes to renewable potential. As we wait for these sources to mature and take on the full energy demand, industry analysts believe that we will be importing over half of our natural gas demand by 2020 from countries in Europe and the Middle East. The topic of Shale energy has been raised as it is seen as a possible solution for generating this finite resource from home while we further develop our renewable sources.
Why the controversy?
The main reason is fracking. This term has been featured frequently within the media and is a main point of contention for those opposing Shale energy plans. To obtain Shale gas, energy sourcing companies need to go through a fracking process. This is the process which involves drilling a narrow well into the ground, around 1 to 5km deep. Once complete a fluid is injected into the rock thousands of feet below, which creates small 1 to 5mm fractures – it is from these fractures that the Shake gas is obtained.
With Shale energy this is the main cause of concern, with fears on the effects fracking will have on local communities, housing and the environment. Those who debate in favour of Shale energy will however dispute this and highlight how many countries have and still practice this to obtain their gas, with minimum disruption to communities.
There is also the economic argument, with many industry experts predicting that the introduction of Shale energy could lead to the creation of over 60,000 jobs in the UK – generating billions for the economy.
Why the urgency?
The subject of Shale energy and what the countries’ plans are for it is incredibly important. How we source our energy to keep up with demand is essential, having an informed debate on all the issues around Shale energy, both for and against is important.
The UK Shale Energy Conference will provide both sides with the platform they need to have an informed and fair debate on what is one of the most reported issues within the energy industry today. To join us please visit here or get involved by tweeting your thoughts using the official hashtag #UKSEC15