The U.K. may take a step towards hydraulic fracking to extract shale gas, given the high economic cost of subsidizing renewable energy, say experts.
The U.K.'s new energy and environment ministers say they are against renewable energy, and favor hydraulic fracking for extracting shale gas instead. On July 4 EU's Energy Commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, called on Germany to lift the ban on fracking. These developments opened the debate on whether the EU will see shale gas as an alternative to Russian gas to curb its dependence.
London based Facts Global Energy (FGE) expert Cuneyt Kazokoglu told an Anadolu Agency correspondent that it does not necessarily mean that a European policy will follow the British ministers' view.
He explained the change in the U.K. and said, "The new cabinet is more inclined to the right. Energy Minister Matthew Hancock is especially against the subsidies given to wind farms and the new Environment Minister Elizabeth Truss, who is an ex-Shell worker, is pro nuclear, fossil fuels and fracking."
The U.K.'s National Audit Office's June report says the country gave £16.6 billion worth of subsidies for five offshore wind farms and three biomass plants, which are to become operational between 2015 and 2019.
The National Grid's July 2014 report suggests the current wholesale electric price is below £50 per megawatt per hour but could soar to over £100 by 2035. It also says since 2009, electricity prices surged by 20 percent - the main reason being the subsidies given to wind farms.
Kazokoglu said the reason behind Oettinger's positive position on fracking was also because of his political standing coming from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Angela Merkel. The CDU believe in creating an EU-wide energy internal market, and favor the EU's Energy 2020 Strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy. They believe the current carbon scheme must be overhauled with new policies.
Kazokoglu stated the general atmosphere in the EU is not supportive to fracking activities, and said, "the new EU commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker is also against fracking. To illustrate, Germany's shale potential is only sufficient for 10 years of consumption. Therefore, the U.K. can take a step towards hydraulic fracking for shale gas, but it will be limited to the U.K. only and will not be extended EU-wide."
- Economic costs disfavors renewables
London-based Global Resources Corporation President Mehmet Ogutcu said it is the high economic cost of renewable energy that moves European countries away.
In the U.K., particularly the operation of offshore wind farms are too costly and consequently, they are considering fracking, he added.