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Shale gas should play a role in low-carbon future, say MPs



A report from the energy and climate committee has said that shale gas should play in role in the UK’s low-carbon future. They add that the next government must address “misguided” anti-fracking and onshore wind campaigners.

The interactive report looks at the committee’s work over the last five years, focusing on three areas – electricity market reform, competition in the energy market and shale gas. It concludes that a secure, efficient and low-carbon energy market in the UK is possible by 2030 but there are still challenges ahead that will need to be overcome after the general election in May if the UK is to meet long-term climate and energy goals.

The committee sets out a vision for the UK’s energy system that is highly decarbonised with a diverse mix of energy sources, with renewables and nuclear playing an integral role. However, it notes that the ‘energy trilemma’ of maintaining supply, keeping cost affordable, and creating a cleaner energy system will be a challenge over the next 15 years.

Shale gas has proved a controversial issue in the UK, with supporters arguing it can act as a transition fuel and improve energy security. However, those against the energy source point to studies linking the practice to methane leaks, earthquakes and negative health effects.

The energy and climate committee is in favour of fracking. The report argues that shale gas could reduce the UK’s dependence on imports and be an important energy source in the short- and medium-term. The committee notes that community and environmental concerns need to be addressed.

Chair of the committee, Tim Yeo MP, said, “With the right policies in place, we can have a low-carbon, high-competition, super-efficient and much more secure energy system by 2030. But to get there the next government must stand its ground in the centre.

“It must face down the misguided campaigners who oppose any form of fracking and all onshore wind. Instead, it must allow business to find the lowest cost low-carbon solutions. It must continue to lead on climate change, support emissions trading, maintain investor confidence with long-term targets and stable policy, and ensure that electricity market reforms encourage innovation.”

Photo: UKBERRI.NET Uribe Kosta eta… via Flickr

Further reading:

Report: achieving renewable energy targets could address water challenges

Plummeting renewable costs present ‘historic opportunity’ to build clean energy systems

Global renewable energy investment on the rise

The Guide to Sustainable Clean Energy 2014

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