Speaking on the issue, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the extraction of the UK’s shale energy reserves was unlikely to have the same impact on energy prices as it has in the USA.
He added that only a Europe-wide boost in shale gas extraction might lower prices but added that this was unlikely. Particularly as several European nations have banned the practice.
Davey also drew a parallel with gas extraction in Scotland: “North Sea gas didn’t significantly move UK prices – so we can’t expect UK shale production alone to have any effect.”
Cameron: ‘bills can go down’ when ‘energy supply goes up’
Davey’s statements contradict those made just last month by Prime Minister David Cameron, when he told the Telegraph that the technique could see Brits charged less for energy. Cameron drew a direct parallel with the USA and said that “gas and electric bills can go down when our home-grown energy supply goes up.”
“Just look at the United States: they’ve got more than 10,000 fracking wells opening up each year and their gas prices are three-and-a-half times lower than here. Even if we only see a fraction of the impact shale gas has had in America, we can expect to see lower energy prices in this country,” he added.
Fracking can usher in ‘green future’
In a speech delivered at the Royal Society in London yesterday, Davey said Britain needed to see shale energy as neither the solution to all energy woes, neither “a great evil”.
“Gas, as the cleanest fossil fuel, is part of the answer to climate change, as a bridge in our transition to a green future, especially in our move away from coal. With the right safeguards in place the net effect on national emission from UK shale gas production will be relatively small when compared to the use of other sources of gas,” he said.
Greenhouse emissions and shale gas extraction
A government report has revealed that extracting shale energy deposits in the UK would produce roughly the same level of emissions as the gas currently imported from Qatar.
Commenting on the use of fracking in the UK, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “It will have a very small effect on the UK’s [climate] targets,” adding “we think it’s credible were shale gas produced in the UK it would displace [gas] imports.”