Saturday, October 26, 2013
Energy From Shale Can Grow Immensely Whenever Allowed
This graph shows how the shale gas industry is taking off in the USA
OK these are North Dakotan and Texan fields but they account for 75% of US growth.
Note that this rise started in 2010m the year our "supporting shale" coalition government came to power. This is a nearly 10 fold growth rate in shale over the period. Does anybody doubt that we could have done the same if the Tories had supported it, or that we would have achieved growth if that had happened. Or indeed that Grangemouth would have been booming if it had had access to shale, though to be fair to the Tories, Scotland has its own government and the SNP say “In Scotland, with our renewable potential, we don’t need the hassle” - less active in saying they were actively avoiding the hassle of having people employed in Grangemouth but clearly they are.
I did report a previous graph which showed the then, by previous standards, spectacular growth from 2007-10, which now looks pretty ordinary (but exceeded the growth rate they expected to continue).
Another sign of how progress rates tend to be underestimated, even by me.
And this article reported by GWPF proves my point. It comes from somebody who I am sure thinks himself a technological progressive but who I think is being overly restrained in his vision.
“If we have the courage to do big things, all of humanity has a fine future. Everything is possible with energy.”
.... says Lawrence M. Cathles, Cornell professor of earth and atmospheric sciences.
“In spite of our apparent environmental problems, we stand a remarkable chance of achieving solutions,” he says. “Societies all around the world are living longer. We have more access to food, clean water and energy… and we’ve never been more healthy.”
Cathles outlines his optimism about the world’s prospects for sustaining the human population in an environmentally responsible way in his article, “Future Rx: Optimism, Preparation, Acceptance of Risk,” in a special publication of The Journal of the Geological Society, released Oct. 24.
“If we have the courage to do big things, all of humanity has a fine future,” says Cathles in the article, which addresses food sustainability, natural resources and energy levels, and what he calls the “Grand Challenge” of the next century for everyone to achieve a European standard of living. In his paper, Cathles proposes a path to achieving that standard.
Today the world hosts 7.13 billion people, and Cathles says that while humans are living longer, the world population will peak at 10.5 billion about 100 years from now. The most essential resource is energy, and today most of the world uses less than 2 kilowatts of power per person (for heat, lighting, transportation and manufacturing), while those at the European standard of living (the average French or German citizen, for example) use 3.5 times more. The world currently consumes energy at the rate of 15 trillion watts (15 terawatts), with 86 percent from hydrocarbon sources.
Meeting the Grand Challenge would require energy production of 50 terawatts today and 75 terawatts 100 years from now, ideally all from zero carbon energy sources, says Cathles. Growing from 15 to 75 terawatts over a century requires a growth rate of 1.6 percent per year, which is modest, he says, compared with the U.S. growth rate of 2.6 percent over the past 50 years and China’s recent 12 percent growth rate and their planned growth over the next 10 years of 7 percent annually.
The lion’s share of the power expansion could be met by wind, solar power produced in deserts or nuclear; but by far the least environmentally intrusive, feasible and realistic option is nuclear, he says. The oceans have enough dissolved uranium to sustain 10.5 billion people at a European standard for more than 100 centuries, and the extraction footprint would be tiny.
“Everything is possible with energy, nothing is possible without it,” says Cathles.
A growth rate in energy use far in excess of 1.6% is easily possible as he effectively admits by mentioning China. The mention of wind and solar is merely arse covering - nuclear is it, with a side order of shale (though improvements in solar efficiency means it is not as useless as it seems.
But the important thing is that he acknowledges the obvious last line. Obvious to intelligent people, but not to the ruling class of the western world.