Greens Lose Battle As Germany Prepares To Lift Ban On Fracking – WUWT

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From the GWPF: How Fracking Helps America Beat German Industry

Germany is set to lift its ban on fracking as early as next year, after caving in to business demands that it should reduce its dependency on Russian energy and boost competitiveness with US manufacturers. Fracking has been the subject of a fierce debate in Germany’s ruling coalition, with some politicians keen to reduce reliance on Russian energy imports, while others fear the impact of fracking chemicals on a densely populated country.

–Jeevan Vasagar, Financial Times, 5 June 2014

 

 

1) Greens Lose Battle As Germany Prepares To Lift Ban On Fracking – Financial Times, 5 June 2014

2) And Here’s Why: How Fracking Helps America Beat German Industry – Reuters, 2 June 2014

3) U.K. Government Proposes Law to Make Shale-Gas Drilling Easier – Bloomberg, 4 June 2014

4) 50 British Scientists Call On Government To Fast-Track Fracking – The Guardian, 5 June 2014

5) Europe Cooling: EU Omitting Climate Change From Agenda In Energy Security Push, Prescott Warns – Bloomberg News, 4 June 2014

The green mantra is a European obsession. It’s a quasi-religious belief system that is very difficult to shift, very entrenched, in some countries more than others, and it is holding back development. My feeling is, given Europe’s economic crisis and the potential economic benefit of shale, it’s only a question of time that the Continent will also exploit its resources. It might take one country to lead, but once the shale gas is coming out of the ground in big enough volumes and countries start benefiting from it, others will follow – it’s inevitable. –Benny Peiser, Europe Will Come Around, Natural Gas Europe, 21 February 2013

Thanks in large part to Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power and push into green energy, companies there now pay some of the highest prices in the world for power. In the United States, electricity prices are falling thanks to natural gas derived from fracking. Peter Huntsman, chief executive of the family firm, calls the United States the new global standard for low-cost manufacturing. Huntsman is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to expand in the United States, and rapidly closing plants in Europe. That’s a dramatic change from just a few years ago, when Germany was held up as a model of manufacturing prowess. –Christoph Steitz and Ernest Scheyder, Reuters, 2 June 2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s energy policies – designed to sharply boost the share of renewables in Germany’s energy mix, tackle climate change and cut Germany’s dependency on foreign gas and oil – are a rising source of concern for the country’s industry, particularly energy-intensive companies like Wacker. According to Germany’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, half of the country’s industrial companies believe their global competitiveness is threatened by Germany’s energy policy, and a quarter of them are either shifting production abroad or considering doing so. –Christoph Steitz and Ernest Scheyder, Reuters, 2 June 2014

The U.K. government will introduce a law to make exploring for shale oil and gas easier. In a speech setting out the government’s legislative plans for the next year, Queen Elizabeth II said a bill would be proposed to “enhance the U.K.’s energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites.” David Cameron’s government wants the development of shale reserves to replace aging North Sea fields and cut energy costs. The U.K. estimates areas in northern England may hold 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to meet demand for 50 years at an extraction rate similar to U.S. fields. –Nidaa Bakhsh, Bloomberg, 4 June 2014

A group of 50 academics from some of the UK’s leading universities today call on politicians to fast-track a UK shale gas industry, the latest salvo in an increasingly polarised debate around fracking. In a letter to the Guardian on Thursday, the scientists argue there are “undeniable economic, environmental and national security benefits” from shale being produced in the north-west of the country. –Terry Macalister, Damian Carrington and Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 5 June 2014

1) Greens Lose Battle As Germany Prepares To Lift Ban On Fracking

Financial Times, 5 June 2014 – Jeevan Vasagar

Germany is set to lift its ban on fracking as early as next year, after caving in to business demands that it should reduce its dependency on Russian energy and boost competitiveness with US manufacturers.

Applications to carry out the controversial process for extracting the country’s estimated 2.3tn cubic metres shale gas reserves will be subject to an environmental impact assessment under new legislation to be discussed by the cabinet before the summer recess.

Fracking has been the subject of a fierce debate in Germany’s ruling coalition, with some politicians keen to reduce reliance on Russian energy imports, while others fear the impact of fracking chemicals on a densely populated country.

German manufacturers have been strong advocates of the new technology, which they believe has provided cheap shale gas energy to their US competitors while Germany grapples with a costly switch to subsidised renewables.

Details of the new regulations emerged in a letter from Sigmar Gabriel, German economy minister, to the head of the Bundestag’s budget committee. In the letter, Mr Gabriel wrote that permission to carry out fracking would be subject to approval from regional water authorities and that “further requirements for the fracking permit process are still being considered”. […]

The EU’s energy commissioner Günther Oettinger has urged European governments to allow fracking “demonstration projects” to diversify the continent’s sources of energy.

Full story (subscription required)

2) And Here’s Why: How Fracking Helps America Beat German Industry

Reuters, 2 June 2014  –  -Christoph Steitz and Ernest Scheyder

Nestled in the green hills of southern Germany, chemical giant Wacker Chemie churns out a wide range of product, from an ingredient for chewing gum to the polysilicon crystals in solar cells.

The electricity to produce all that – enough power for more than 700,000 households annually – has become more costly at Wacker’s main factory in Burghausen. It has played a big part in pushing up the firm’s total energy bill by 70 percent over the last five years, to nearly half a billion euros.

It’s a different story across the Atlantic in the U.S. state of Louisiana. There, chemicals maker Huntsman Corp pays 22 percent less for its power than it did just seven years ago.

The tale of those numbers underlines a profound shift underway in two of the world’s biggest industrial powers. Thanks in large part to Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power and push into green energy, companies there now pay some of the highest prices in the world for power. On average, German industrial companies with large power appetites paid about 0.15 euros ($0.21) per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity last year, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency.

In the United States, electricity prices are falling thanks to natural gas derived from fracking – the hydraulic fracturing of rock. Louisiana now boasts industrial electricity prices of just $0.055 per kWh, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
Peter Huntsman, chief executive of the family firm, calls the United States the new global standard for low-cost manufacturing. Huntsman is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to expand in the United States, and rapidly closing plants in Europe. The company estimates that a large, modern petrochemical plant in the United States is $125 million cheaper to run per year than in Europe. That sum includes cheaper power, waste disposal and myriad other factors, and Huntsman said the contrast is similar for Asian plants.

That’s a dramatic change from just a few years ago, when Germany was held up as a model of manufacturing prowess. As recently as 2011, politicians in Washington were openly discussing how to copy Germany’s success.

“We need to be more like Germany,” General Electric Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said in an interview that year with Reuters.

Now things are heading the other way. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s energy policies – designed to sharply boost the share of renewables in Germany’s energy mix, tackle climate change and cut Germany’s dependency on foreign gas and oil – are a rising source of concern for the country’s industry, particularly energy-intensive companies like Wacker. According to Germany’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, half of the country’s industrial companies believe their global competitiveness is threatened by Germany’s energy policy, and a quarter of them are either shifting production abroad or considering doing so. The United States is among the top destinations.

In March, BMW, the world’s largest luxury carmaker, said it would invest $1 billion to expand its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, making it the German group’s biggest production facility by 2016. In all, German companies invested more than 800 billion euros in U.S. expansions between 2008 and 2012, according to the most recent Bundesbank statistics. Germany’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry reckons that investments could reach 200 billion euros in 2014, an all-time high.

Full story

3) U.K. Government Proposes Law to Make Shale-Gas Drilling Easier

Bloomberg, 4 June 2014  –  Nidaa Bakhsh

The U.K. government will introduce a law to make exploring for shale oil and gas easier.
In a speech setting out the government’s legislative plans for the next year, Queen Elizabeth II said a bill would be proposed to “enhance the U.K.’s energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites.”

Today, companies planning to drill onshore need to obtain consent from every landowner whose property a well may pass under. The new law will remove the need for this permission, the government said. Drilling for shale often involves horizontal wells that run for hundreds of meters, so can pass under several different properties.

David Cameron’s government wants the development of shale reserves to replace aging North Sea fields and cut energy costs. The U.K. estimates areas in northern England may hold 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to meet demand for 50 years at an extraction rate similar to U.S. fields.
The proposed legislation will bring the sector in line with the mining industry and have “no noticeable effect on the lives of home and property owners,” the U.K. Onshore Operators Group, an industry body, said in a statement.
Full story

4) 50 British Scientists Call On Government To Fast-Track Fracking

The Guardian, 5 June 2014  –  Terry Macalister, Damian Carrington and Patrick Wintour

A group of 50 academics from some of the UK’s leading universities today call on politicians to fast-track a UK shale gas industry, the latest salvo in an increasingly polarised debate around fracking.

In a letter to the Guardian on Thursday, the scientists argue there are “undeniable economic, environmental and national security benefits” from shale being produced in the north-west of the country. The move comes just days after Sir Paul McCartney and 150 other celebrities called on the government to immediately halt all drilling operations on the grounds that they could damage the environment. New measures were included in the Queen’s speech to allow shale companies to drill more easily under people’s homes. The government, aware of the risk of a backbench rebellion and the threat of legal actions, stressed any proposals to reform the trespass laws were “entirely dependent on the outcome of a government consultation”.

Cameron assured MPs that the measures would not impact on anyone’s garden, with his officials saying any digging would take place at a minimum of 300m underground with compensation provided to local communities.

[The letter] says: “As geoscientists and petroleum engineers from Britain’s leading academic institutions, we call on all political and decision-makers at all levels to put aside their political differences and focus on the undeniable economic, environmental and national security benefits on offer to the UK from the responsible development of natural gas from Lancashire’s shale.”
Full story

5) Europe Cooling: EU Omitting Climate Change From Agenda In Energy Security Push, Prescott Warns

Bloomberg News, 4 June 2014  –  Alex Morales and Ewa Krukowska

The European Union risks losing ground in the fight against climate change as it tries to shore up energy security in response to concerns about dependence on Russian gas, said John Prescott, the bloc’s lead negotiator for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The annexation of Crimea by Russia has pushed the issue of energy security to the top of the European political agenda as the 28-nation bloc devises plans to cut reliance on natural gas imports from Russia’s OAO Gazprom. That risks overshadowing the debate about cutting greenhouse gases, according to Prescott, former deputy prime minister of the U.K.

“The great danger is it’s all becoming energy security,” Prescott said. The meetings will aim to isolate Russia, and “will have nothing to say on climate change.”
The EU’s energy dependency rate is set to rise to 80 percent by 2035 from 60 percent, according to the International Energy Agency. Russian gas met about 30 percent of EU consumption last year, according to Gazprom. The European Commission on May 28 presented a draft energy security strategy that EU heads of state will discuss during two days of meeting starting June 26 in Brussels.

Juergen Lefevere, a negotiator for the European Commission at the latest round of UN climate talks that began yesterday in Bonn, said the EU has set out a clear timeline to decide on new climate goals.

Striking Balance

“I haven’t seen that risk materialize in any of the EU discussions that I’ve been aware of so far,” Lefevere said in an interview. “There is a balance between energy security concerns and climate concerns, and that balance is very carefully kept.”

The bloc in October aims to decide on an energy and climate-change package laying out targets through 2030. The commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, in January proposed cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, up from a 2020 target of 20 percent.

At the same time, a bloc of eastern and central European nations, led by coal-reliant Poland, say they won’t support those targets without a “fair” distribution of the effort.
Full story

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Related: 

EU Is Omitting Climate in Energy Security Push: Prescott 

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Obama’s New EPA Coal Plant Regulations: “Obamacare for the Atmosphere”

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I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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One Response to Greens Lose Battle As Germany Prepares To Lift Ban On Fracking – WUWT

  1. Pingback: The Wrap at Ask Marion 6.01.14 Thru 6.08.14 | askmarion

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