9 Reasons the UK Needs To Abandon Natural Gas
Posted in: Good Energy news
Posted on: 01.03.2017
At Good Energy we see natural gas as being a transitional fuel towards the ultimate goal of a 100% renewable future. Many people believe that the biggest issue we face at the moment is fracking, but the problem is our heavy reliance on natural gas for generating electricity, heating and cooking.
There is a lot of work that needs to be put into removing natural gas from the UK’s fuel mix – some of which everyone can do at home, others which rely on suppliers like Good Energy and the smaller generators we support.
Our Green Gas is different to standard natural gas for a few reasons:
- It contains at least 6% bio-methane which is chemically identical to natural gas but can be created and used with less impact on the environment
- Through supporting carefully selected carbon reduction projects in Vietnam, Nepal and Malawi, we balance the carbon emissions from our customer gas use.
- These projects bring real and tangible economic, social and health benefits to the local communities.
Here are nine reasons why we believe the UK’s reliance on natural gas needs to end:
#1 It doesn’t create a low carbon system
Natural gas isn’t a clean, sustainable form of energy. Burning it creates carbon dioxide which is the largest contributor towards climate change (regardless of what Donald Trump might say, it does exist). In order to truly tackle climate change we need to move away from burning natural gas altogether and move to a 100% renewable future.
#2 We don’t want to be locked into long-term reliance on a finite fuel
The thing about fossil fuels is that they won’t be around forever. We can make the choice now to ensure that new pipelines and power stations can use alternative fuels and leave the fossil fuels in the ground, or we could leave it until later and be forced to look for new solutions yet again. We need to consider carefully whether our current plans are compatible with the UK’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
#3 The transition needs to start now
We believe that the government should invest in more ways to encourage a transition away from natural gas. This could be with stricter building standards that ensure new homes are more efficient and use renewable heat technology or it could be re-purposing the existing gas network to carry bio-methane or hydrogen. The technology exists, but Government must provide and set the right direction
#4 We need flexible energy systems that are compatible with a renewable future
At Good Energy we’ve always said that renewables should be a major source of electricity generation in the UK. Thanks to their advantages over other technologies and the UK’s unique geography, they are an ideal fit.
But renewables work best when paired with flexible technologies like battery storage and demand side response, not relatively inflexible gas power stations which are difficult to turn up and down.
#5 There are huge issues with fracking
While they may be fracking in America, we should not be following their lead. The UK is small and densely populated with greater geological complexity than the US. There are massive implications for carrying out fracking safely because of the potential escape of chemicals being used and the possibility of contamination of water supplies.
#6 Fracking gas in the UK won’t make gas cheaper
That’s right, just because we create more gas in the UK, the rate we pay for it won’t go down. This is because the price of gas is controlled by global and European markets (regardless of whether we’re in the EU or not). The amount of shale gas we can extract here in the UK will not have a noticeable impact on prices at all.
#7 Fracking damages the environment
Shale gas is largely methane – a very strong greenhouse gas that’s worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. Not only would fracking cause direct damage to the landscape through drilling and extraction, but the gasses released from venting, flaring and leaks would also be bad for the environment.
#8 Fracking undermines local democracy and ignores public concerns
In a recent government survey, public support for fracking came in at an all time low of just 19% in 2016 – compared to the 79% who support renewables. Ignoring concerns over health and climate change by overriding local planning decisions and authorising fracking sites against the local community’s wishes is undemocratic.
#9 Fracking will not give the UK energy independence
Having a secure source of energy is important in the transition to a low carbon system but there isn’t enough shale gas in the UK to gain this security through fracking. In fact, if we want to maximise the economic value of energy in the UK, the best plan would be to focus on a more ambitious approach to energy efficiency.
In a study by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, retrofitting more of the UK’s homes to improve their energy efficiency could open up as much as £73 billion in investment, while creating 86,000 jobs a year!
Want to make a real difference?
Switching to Good Energy’s 100% renewable electricity and Green Gas, works on reducing your own personal gas consumption, and can send a huge message to the energy industry and government policies.
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