Tremors are least of fracking worries

York Press: Tremors are least of fracking worries Tremors are least of fracking worries

DENNIS BARTON is right to be worried about fracking, but earth tremors are unlikely to be an issue in York (Letters, February 10).

Firstly, the small earthquakes he mentions in Texas have been caused by injection wells, not fracking. Injection wells are old oil and gas wells used to dispose of the millions of gallons of toxic water which results from fracking.

In the UK, we don’t have many easily accessible old wells. However, what do we do with millions of gallons of water contaminated with fracking chemicals, salt and radioactivity?

Some of the waste from the Blackpool tests was driven to Manchester and put through a sewage works – and there are now worries that the radioactivity could contaminate the Manchester Ship Canal.

We should be concerned about the numbers of lorry movements, the industrialisation of our countryside, the potential for our aquifers and groundwater to be polluted, and the powerful greenhouse gases which leak from the sites and are emitted when the gas is burnt.

These will add to climate chaos, helping to exacerbate powerful storms and flooding.

If anyone wants to find out more, there’s a public meeting on Monday, February 17 at the Priory St Centre, at 7pm with a film and panel debate.

John Cossham, Frack-Free York, Our Clean Energy Future, Hull Road, York.


• KEITH ANDERSON says that scare stories on fracking don’t add up (Letters, February 12), presumably because of his personal experience of fracking near to his home. I doubt if this happened in Dunnington.

If the first fracking extraction took place close to the home of our Prime Minister or his Energy Secretary and it was successful with no adverse effects, then we would all know that this system is safe.

Is it likely that anyone in government will ever lead by example?

Wilf Arnott, Hobmoor Terrace, York.


• READING Dennis Barton’s letter of February 10 – “Fracking blamed for earthquakes” – I wonder what would happen in an area that had the mining industry from the late 16th century or early 1700s until the 1960s to 1980s, when the mines were eventually closed. The underground is riddled with coal-mined tunnels.

The area I am thinking about is my birthplace in Co Durham, where there were pitheads everywhere.

Could fracking cause tunnel collapse and more earth movement than would be if left to nature? It would be interesting to know.

Maureen Robinson, Broadway, York.

Comments (8)

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12:37pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Mulgrave says...

A typical gas boiler in a UK home, and there are millions of them, is now a band A (around 95% efficient) condensing combi. For a 3 bed home it will be typically rated at 25 to 30 kiloWatts, although to be fair will not run at that rate continually. A typical solar (PV) set up on a domestic roof will be 4kW, and that will only be achieved in summer on a south facing roof on a fine day - exactly the opposite time to the biggest domestic use of fuel by far - heating - is required. Millions of others use gas for domestic cooking, and then there are numerous commercial and industrial users who burn gas directly.

Whilst we moan at the big rises in both gas and electricity prices - gas is still around a third of the price of daytime electricity, and night storage heating is not a popular option.

Could John Cossham or anyone else explain what level of renewables and at what cost it would incur to not only replace the existing high CO2 electricity production as is already in progress, but also all the aforementioned gas applications - and give a realistic time scale.

Nobody seems willing to address this point, and many - although perhaps not J C - will be compiling long lists of negatives about fracking, and why we should give up before we have even got started, whilst the Worcester or Baxi is quietly doing its job RELATIVELY cheaply and efficiently in the corner, with less CO2 per kW than oil or coal.
A typical gas boiler in a UK home, and there are millions of them, is now a band A (around 95% efficient) condensing combi. For a 3 bed home it will be typically rated at 25 to 30 kiloWatts, although to be fair will not run at that rate continually. A typical solar (PV) set up on a domestic roof will be 4kW, and that will only be achieved in summer on a south facing roof on a fine day - exactly the opposite time to the biggest domestic use of fuel by far - heating - is required. Millions of others use gas for domestic cooking, and then there are numerous commercial and industrial users who burn gas directly. Whilst we moan at the big rises in both gas and electricity prices - gas is still around a third of the price of daytime electricity, and night storage heating is not a popular option. Could John Cossham or anyone else explain what level of renewables and at what cost it would incur to not only replace the existing high CO2 electricity production as is already in progress, but also all the aforementioned gas applications - and give a realistic time scale. Nobody seems willing to address this point, and many - although perhaps not J C - will be compiling long lists of negatives about fracking, and why we should give up before we have even got started, whilst the Worcester or Baxi is quietly doing its job RELATIVELY cheaply and efficiently in the corner, with less CO2 per kW than oil or coal. Mulgrave
  • Score: -12

1:19pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Jonthan says...

What is the problem with daytime solar generation? excess daytime generation can be stored as hot water. Many more innovative methods of storage are in the pipeline. Industry can adjust peak production hours to coincide with with the available energy. New technologies call for new approaches.

One thing is certain, all fossil fuels, including fracking, are a finite resource and are speeding global warming (despite the ravings of the climate change deniers who will be posting here later), so the increasing use of renewables is inevitable, and indeed has scarcely been tapped yet.
What is the problem with daytime solar generation? excess daytime generation can be stored as hot water. Many more innovative methods of storage are in the pipeline. Industry can adjust peak production hours to coincide with with the available energy. New technologies call for new approaches. One thing is certain, all fossil fuels, including fracking, are a finite resource and are speeding global warming (despite the ravings of the climate change deniers who will be posting here later), so the increasing use of renewables is inevitable, and indeed has scarcely been tapped yet. Jonthan
  • Score: 18

2:13pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Mulgrave says...

Jonthan wrote:
What is the problem with daytime solar generation? excess daytime generation can be stored as hot water. Many more innovative methods of storage are in the pipeline. Industry can adjust peak production hours to coincide with with the available energy. New technologies call for new approaches.

One thing is certain, all fossil fuels, including fracking, are a finite resource and are speeding global warming (despite the ravings of the climate change deniers who will be posting here later), so the increasing use of renewables is inevitable, and indeed has scarcely been tapped yet.
Is there any daytime "excess" from solar PV generation? - surely ALL such electricity supplied into the grid is already "accounted" for in the switch from coal fired etc to renewables, isn't it counting it twice as available to offset domestic gas consumption? Of course there are direct solar water heating systems, obviously best in summer - but on a day such as today, if a home with a gas combi uses £3 of gas a day at say 5p per kWh that is 60 kWh, and I expect solar of either variety would be lucky to provide 2kWh - there will be virtually nothing to store anyway.

You are absolutely right about fossil fuels in general, and I recall doing projects as part of further education back in the 1970s including hybrid cars, tidal and geothermal energy as it was predicted at that time we would be there by now.

However much you are for one thing or against the other though, you have to quantify what is involved, and asking what is wrong with something I wasn't even suggesting was a "problem" isn't answering the question I was posing. There also seems to be a general presumption that fracking and persuing innovative technologies and alternative methods are mutually exclusive, I don't think they are - the former is with us now and would replace imported gas (I am not suggesting a free for all) whilst the latter isn't any where near the level needed to push gas into the background.
[quote][p][bold]Jonthan[/bold] wrote: What is the problem with daytime solar generation? excess daytime generation can be stored as hot water. Many more innovative methods of storage are in the pipeline. Industry can adjust peak production hours to coincide with with the available energy. New technologies call for new approaches. One thing is certain, all fossil fuels, including fracking, are a finite resource and are speeding global warming (despite the ravings of the climate change deniers who will be posting here later), so the increasing use of renewables is inevitable, and indeed has scarcely been tapped yet.[/p][/quote]Is there any daytime "excess" from solar PV generation? - surely ALL such electricity supplied into the grid is already "accounted" for in the switch from coal fired etc to renewables, isn't it counting it twice as available to offset domestic gas consumption? Of course there are direct solar water heating systems, obviously best in summer - but on a day such as today, if a home with a gas combi uses £3 of gas a day at say 5p per kWh that is 60 kWh, and I expect solar of either variety would be lucky to provide 2kWh - there will be virtually nothing to store anyway. You are absolutely right about fossil fuels in general, and I recall doing projects as part of further education back in the 1970s including hybrid cars, tidal and geothermal energy as it was predicted at that time we would be there by now. However much you are for one thing or against the other though, you have to quantify what is involved, and asking what is wrong with something I wasn't even suggesting was a "problem" isn't answering the question I was posing. There also seems to be a general presumption that fracking and persuing innovative technologies and alternative methods are mutually exclusive, I don't think they are - the former is with us now and would replace imported gas (I am not suggesting a free for all) whilst the latter isn't any where near the level needed to push gas into the background. Mulgrave
  • Score: -14

3:14pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Jonthan says...

Mulgrave said. " A typical solar (PV) set up on a domestic roof will be 4kW, and that will only be achieved in summer on a south facing roof on a fine day - exactly the opposite time to the biggest domestic use"

My point was that daytime energy need not be "exactly the opposite" of peak use. Since you were asking about domestic solar panels, I do not understand why you refer to the grid, which only comes into play with unused capacity from domestic panels.
The final sentence of your last para is convoluted and needs some unpacking before I could offer a response.

Interesting discussion though, and you are well informed. It is a discussion the whole world needs to have.
Mulgrave said. " A typical solar (PV) set up on a domestic roof will be 4kW, and that will only be achieved in summer on a south facing roof on a fine day - exactly the opposite time to the biggest domestic use" My point was that daytime energy need not be "exactly the opposite" of peak use. Since you were asking about domestic solar panels, I do not understand why you refer to the grid, which only comes into play with unused capacity from domestic panels. The final sentence of your last para is convoluted and needs some unpacking before I could offer a response. Interesting discussion though, and you are well informed. It is a discussion the whole world needs to have. Jonthan
  • Score: 17

4:05pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Mulgrave says...

Jonthan wrote:
Mulgrave said. " A typical solar (PV) set up on a domestic roof will be 4kW, and that will only be achieved in summer on a south facing roof on a fine day - exactly the opposite time to the biggest domestic use"

My point was that daytime energy need not be "exactly the opposite" of peak use. Since you were asking about domestic solar panels, I do not understand why you refer to the grid, which only comes into play with unused capacity from domestic panels.
The final sentence of your last para is convoluted and needs some unpacking before I could offer a response.

Interesting discussion though, and you are well informed. It is a discussion the whole world needs to have.
I am referring to winter vs summer, not day vs night Jonthan, and was mainly trying to give an indication of the relative powers, perhaps someone who has had panels for a while has tracked the seasonal output and could post, but it will be very much lower in winter - when demand is highest, and in winds like we have had lately wind power is offline. This is what you have to contend with, a domestic property will easily demand the example I gave of £3 of gas ie 60kWh per day - mainly for heating - in the winter, that is truly lot of power to provide times millions of homes in ADDITION to existing electricity demands, of course you can reduce it slightly by upgraded insulation, but that is the sort of load gas is providing for and which would need to be provided for by sources that are as reliable and there on demand in the winter irrespective of weather conditions.

Solar PV has been heavily subsidised as you will know and it is, along with wind, the reason we are able to switch off the dirtiest marginal generators, it is not additional capacity as such (although far more use could be made of industrial roads, sides of motorways etc) and is of course part of the progress you refer to. It is somewhat of a technical/semantic point you make regarding the grid - prior to micro generation all domestic consumption for the last half century or so has come via the grid, so if a property consumed 10 kWh in a day that is where it came from. If solar PV was installed at the property and it generated 20 kWh, 10 would be used "on site" and 10 exported, on a dull day that only generated 5, another 5 would come from the supply via the grid. The grid is nothing more than everything being connected on one nationwide circuit, the easiest way of thinking about it is all generation from Drax to a domestic solar PV installation feeds in and all use (load) draws out.
[quote][p][bold]Jonthan[/bold] wrote: Mulgrave said. " A typical solar (PV) set up on a domestic roof will be 4kW, and that will only be achieved in summer on a south facing roof on a fine day - exactly the opposite time to the biggest domestic use" My point was that daytime energy need not be "exactly the opposite" of peak use. Since you were asking about domestic solar panels, I do not understand why you refer to the grid, which only comes into play with unused capacity from domestic panels. The final sentence of your last para is convoluted and needs some unpacking before I could offer a response. Interesting discussion though, and you are well informed. It is a discussion the whole world needs to have.[/p][/quote]I am referring to winter vs summer, not day vs night Jonthan, and was mainly trying to give an indication of the relative powers, perhaps someone who has had panels for a while has tracked the seasonal output and could post, but it will be very much lower in winter - when demand is highest, and in winds like we have had lately wind power is offline. This is what you have to contend with, a domestic property will easily demand the example I gave of £3 of gas ie 60kWh per day - mainly for heating - in the winter, that is truly lot of power to provide times millions of homes in ADDITION to existing electricity demands, of course you can reduce it slightly by upgraded insulation, but that is the sort of load gas is providing for and which would need to be provided for by sources that are as reliable and there on demand in the winter irrespective of weather conditions. Solar PV has been heavily subsidised as you will know and it is, along with wind, the reason we are able to switch off the dirtiest marginal generators, it is not additional capacity as such (although far more use could be made of industrial roads, sides of motorways etc) and is of course part of the progress you refer to. It is somewhat of a technical/semantic point you make regarding the grid - prior to micro generation all domestic consumption for the last half century or so has come via the grid, so if a property consumed 10 kWh in a day that is where it came from. If solar PV was installed at the property and it generated 20 kWh, 10 would be used "on site" and 10 exported, on a dull day that only generated 5, another 5 would come from the supply via the grid. The grid is nothing more than everything being connected on one nationwide circuit, the easiest way of thinking about it is all generation from Drax to a domestic solar PV installation feeds in and all use (load) draws out. Mulgrave
  • Score: -15

4:07pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Mulgrave says...

^* industrial roofs
^* industrial roofs Mulgrave
  • Score: -15

5:00pm Fri 14 Feb 14

ColdAsChristmas says...

Just a couple of points: 1) John C is concerned about the number of lorry movements. Well so am I. Due to its hygropscopic nature, the ethanol that has been added to your petrol by stealth has to be tankered to the refinery or depot. (You can't pipe it) How about stopping this?
2) John C suggests with regard to burning gas: 'These will add to climate chaos, helping to exacerbate powerful storms and flooding.'
Flooding seems to be the flavour of the moment but tell us John, how can around 18-20 parts per million CO2 shift the jet stream and cause this wet and stormy weather? Even the Met Office can't put those two together.
There is as much chance of changing nature through your carbon phobia as achieving the same result by cycling through York naked. How about wearing a headless chicken outfit this time?
Just a couple of points: 1) John C is concerned about the number of lorry movements. Well so am I. Due to its hygropscopic nature, the ethanol that has been added to your petrol by stealth has to be tankered to the refinery or depot. (You can't pipe it) How about stopping this? 2) John C suggests with regard to burning gas: 'These will add to climate chaos, helping to exacerbate powerful storms and flooding.' Flooding seems to be the flavour of the moment but tell us John, how can around 18-20 parts per million CO2 shift the jet stream and cause this wet and stormy weather? Even the Met Office can't put those two together. There is as much chance of changing nature through your carbon phobia as achieving the same result by cycling through York naked. How about wearing a headless chicken outfit this time? ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: -10

6:20pm Sun 16 Feb 14

wallman says...

jonthan can you explain why grapes were grown in the Newcastle area in the 1/2 century before all you climate changers appeared?
jonthan can you explain why grapes were grown in the Newcastle area in the 1/2 century before all you climate changers appeared? wallman
  • Score: 0

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