Westminster said that the results of a new study showed the exciting potential of fracking, showcasing how it can help source power for the future.
At the moment, there are near-constant fears over power supply, with the National Grid warning that the closing of coal-fired power stations, without adequate replacements, could prove to be disastrous and lead to a shortage of electricity in a particularly bad winter.
Shale could provide 25% of power
As a part of the new report published by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), called the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and undertaken by consultancy AMEC, it was found that by the mid-2020s, shale could account for 25% of all gas needs in the UK.
On top of this, it is believed that the extraction of the gas through the controversial fracking procedure could create a number of employment opportunities across the country – separate reports estimate that half of the country would be available for fracking.
The DECC report stated that between 16,000 and 32,000 jobs would be supported by a shale gas industry in the UK.
Energy minister Michael Fallon hailed the latest report as showing the massive economic potential that is on offer to the UK through fracking.
“There could be large amounts of shale gas available in the UK, but we won’t know for sure the scale of this prize until further exploration takes place,” he said in a statement.
“Today marks the next step in unlocking the potential of shale gas in our energy mix. It is an exciting prospect, which could bring growth, jobs and energy security.”
Report admits ‘local negatives’
As well as the economic positives, however, the DECC’s report also said that there are possible negatives that could be experienced.
Although it said that there are likely to be no real setbacks on a national level, there could be local negatives that affect communities on a smaller scale, an admission that anti-fracking campaigners were quick to zone in on.
Greenpeace energy campaigner Anna Jones said the government was desperate to put a positive spin on a report that showed there are potential problems with extracting shale gas from the ground.
She said: “Enough waste water to fill 40,000 Olympic sized swimming pools could be created, and tiny villages could experience up to 50 truck movements per day.
“Fallon has also ignored the report’s lower jobs estimate, which is just 2,500. There’s no public mandate for this industrialisation of the English countryside and for digging up new forms of fossil fuels.
“With even the fracking companies admitting UK shale won’t bring down bills, and the community sweeteners being described as “crumbs off the table” by MPs in affected areas, you can understand why opposition is growing across the country.”