|A fracking installation in the U.S.A.|
What Lessons We Can Learn About Fracking?
The members and friends of Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group started 2016 by watching the film 'Gasland'. This dealt with hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, which is a drilling technique used for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground. It showed the impact this process had had in the USA.
Although there are differences with the UK many problems are common. In the USA the landowners own the mineral rights underneath their property. This has led to landowners receiving large payments from the oil and gas companies. In this country landowners have no rights over mineral reserves under their land so only receive payment for access to land.
During the initial drilling process and throughout its lifetime large quantities of water are required. This has various chemicals added to aid the drilling and extraction process. In America they have been found to include many highly toxic ones and companies have been reluctant give details. In the UK the operators must show to the Environment Agency that they are non-hazardous. Approximately half the water used is returned to the surface, held in storage tanks and transported away for treatment.
In the areas of drilling in the USA many farms have their own wells which have been used for domestic purposes over decades. Gasland showed the many cases of water being contaminated by gas and water being set on fire. There are also many cases of chemicals in the water supply leading to various cases of ill health. In the UK most properties are connected to mains water and therefore would not suffer the same problem. However many farmers drill wells for their livestock and are concerned.
In December 2015 the Government handed out 159 licences for onshore oil and gas exploration. In Wales there will be no new licences issued until the introduction of the new Wales Bill. Currently the Welsh Government has introduced a 'moratorium' on fracking after a vote in February 2015 by Assembly Members.
A thoughtful debate followed the showing of the film. In America fracking was able to proceed because George W Bush removed many of the Environmental Protection laws – particularly in regard to water. The USA is a large country and distance from ports meant fracked oil and gas could only by available to the internal market – hence the rapid reduction in price. Here in the UK we are a much more densely populated country and many people will be affected by drill 'pads' close to them and the promised reduction in prices will not be seen as we will be trading gas through the inter-connectors to Europe – as we currently do – at market price.
The current low costs of oil and gas will impact on any investment in the short term.
Janet Roberts brought the meeting to a close with the thought that at the recent UN Climate Change Talks in Paris all the world leaders had made fine speeches about the need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. They had then gone back to their countries with the aim of fulfilling their promises. However President Barack Obama had had to accept a Bill which enables America to export oil and gas for the first time, and in Australia the go ahead for the expansion of Abbott Point coal terminal port has been given. This is accessed through the Great Barrier Reef and gives access to vast coal reserves.
In the words of David Attenborough: 'I look at my grand-children and think "What are they going to have to deal with?". Of course I do. How can you not'.
|27th November 2015||Resilient Communities in an Emergency: A talk by Pauline Louchart, Emergency Planning Officer, PCC|
|25th September 2015||Cyd Cymru (Wales Together) collective energy switching scheme: A talk prepared by Lisa Davies, PCC|
|24th July 2015||Skomer Marine Reserve - and much more: An illustrated talk by Blaise Bullimore|
|26th June 2015||A visit to Stackpole Walled Garden: with Ian Wilshaw, Treasurer, Mencap Pembs, and Mike Evans, SDF Project Manager|
|29th May 2015||Protecting Pembrokeshire's Coastline: A talk by Emyr Williams, PCC Coast Protection Engineer|
|10th April 2015||Your Parliamentary Candidates' Answers to the PSEEG Questionnaire|
|3rd April 2015||A visit to the RWE Pembroke Power Station, arranged by Marten Lewis from the Darwin Centre|
|27th March 2015||Present and Future Flood Risks Explained: A talk by Richard Wicks & Phill Pickersgill from NRW|
|23rd January 2015||Our Home Planet: The showing of the film 'Home' by Yann Arthus-Bertrand|
|28th November 2014||Marine Energy in Pembrokeshire: A talk by Louise Rigby, co-ordinator for Marine Energy Pembrokeshire (MEP)|
|24th October 2014||Extreme Weather Events: A talk on changing weather patterns by Janet Roberts, secretary of PSEEG|
|26th September 2014||Renew Wales - Supporting Groups Across Wales: A talk on the work of this important organisation|
|25th July 2014||How Green is our Wales?: A talk by Rhodri Asby, Deputy Director for Climate Change and Natural Resource Policy|
|27th June 2014||Ty Solar at Rhosygilwen: A visit by members and friends of PSEEG|
|23rd May 2014||Global Warming & Climate Change: A talk by Janet Roberts, secretary, PSEEG|
|28th March 2014||The Swansea Bay Tidal Energy Lagoon: A talk by Owain Morris, Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc|
|24th January 2014||P.C.N.P. supports Sustainable Development: A talk by Emma Taylor, SDF Administrator|
|29th November 2013||To Frack or Not to Frack: A talk by John Childs from Safe Energy Wales|
|11th October 2013||Quiet Revolution at Pembroke Dock: A visit with Marten Lewis to the Quiet Revolution factory|
|27th September 2013||Keeping the lights and heating on: A talk by Graham Goodeve|
|28th June 2013||Pembroke 21C Community Association: A talk by Elizabeth Gossage, Pembroke 21C Development Officer|
|24th May 2013||Life beneath the waves; the beauties and the beasts: A talk by Blaise Bullimore, European Marine Site Officer|
|29th March 2013||The National Trust in Wales - Energy Neutral by 2015: A talk by Paul Southall, NT Environment Advisor|
|1st March 2013||Climate Change and a Sustainable Future: A talk by Peter Davies, Sustainable Futures Commissioner for Wales|
|25th January 2013||Waste Not Want Not: A talk by Hywel Gibbs, Pembrokeshire County Council Waste Awareness Officer|
|30th November 2012||Array of Hope: A talk by Paul Carter & Kim Daye from RWE Renewables on The Atlantic Array|
|26th October 2012||The Green Deal: A talk by William Silverstone of Silverstone Green Energy|
|28th September 2012||A Fair Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy on PSEEG's renewable energy project|
|14th September 2012||Not a Waste of Time: a visit to Withyhedges Landfill and recycling centre|
|29th June 2012||The Need for a More Sustainable Future: A talk by Geraldine Leach of Transition Narberth|
|1st June 2012||Know your Flood Risk: A talk by Andy Irving, Flood Risk Management Team Leader|
|11th May 2012||The Power of the Sun: A visit to the Solar Farm at Rhosygilwen|
|23rd March 2012||Planting Green Thoughts: A talk by Jo Horsley, Environment Wales Development Officer|
|24th February 2012||The Atlantic Array offshore wind farm: A talk by Robert Thornhill, Development Manager|
|2nd December 2011||Pathfinder Progress: A talk by Peter Willis from the Welsh Government's Pathfinder Programme|
|4th November 2011||The DeltaStream project: A talk by Chris Williams, Development Director of Tidal Energy Ltd.|
|30th September 2011||How Green is my Valley?: A talk by Grenville Ham, Manager of The Green Valleys Project|
|23rd September 2011||PSEEG's visit to Carew Mill with Marten Lewis of the Darwin Centre|
|5th August 2011||The Manner of the Message: A talk by Neil Sefton on communication skills|
|24th June 2011||The Work of the Darwin Centre: A talk by Marten Lewis, manager of the Darwin Centre|
|27th May 2011||Electric Cars – The Road Ahead?: The talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles|
|13th May 2011||Are electric cars the way forward?: A talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles|
|22nd April 2011||Sustainability in Action: A visit to the Science & Technology Park (Technium) in Pembroke Dock|
|1st April 2011||A Revolution in Wind Energy?: A talk by Vaughan Griffiths from Quietrevolution, Pembroke Dock|
|25th February 2011||Preparing for Floods: A talk by Richard Wickes of the Environment Agency|
|14th January 2011||The Way Forward for Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy|
|12th November 2010||How Green is your Castle?: The National Trust & Global Warming|
|15th October 2010||Challenge of the Rising Sea: The effects on the Pembrokeshire coastline|
|10th August 2010||The beautiful Welsh coastline: Response to possible rising sea levels|
|18th June 2010||Visit to Costain at Canaston Bridge: Not Costing the Earth|
|16th April 2010||Feed in Tariffs: Power to the People|
|12th March 2010||Heat Pumps & Photo Voltaic Panels: Prepare for the Goodlife|
|12th February 2010||Parliamentary Candiates at Green Question Time in Saundersfoot|
|15th January 2010||Weather & Climate: A Question of Energy|
|4th December 2009||Sustainable Community Ventures: Regeneration in Pembrokeshire|
|13th November 2009||Community Initiatives: Sustainable Wales leads by example|
|16th October 2009||Climate Change Challenge for Candidates & Micro-generation with wind turbines|
|2nd October 2009||A Visit to Castle Pill Wind Farm: Quiet blows the wind|
|11th September 2009||Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire|
|10th July 2009||A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential|
|12th June 2009||St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability|
|24th April 2009||Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire|
|13th March 2009||Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun|
|13th February 2009||Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?|
|14th November 2008||Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG|
|17th October 2008||PSEEG to become a Registered Charity|