David Brooks—The Shale Gas Revolution

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Daniel Yergin writes in “The Quest,” his gripping history of energy innovation, [George] Mitchell fought through waves of skepticism and opposition to extract natural gas from shale. The method he and his team used to release the trapped gas, called fracking, has paid off in the most immense way. In 2000, shale gas represented just 1 percent of American natural gas supplies. Today, it is 30 percent and rising.

John Rowe, the chief executive of the utility Exelon, which derives almost all its power from nuclear plants, says that shale gas is one of the most important energy revolutions of his lifetime. It’s a cliché word, Yergin told me, but the fracking innovation is game-changing. It transforms the energy marketplace.

The U.S. now seems to possess a 100-year supply of natural gas, which is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. This cleaner, cheaper energy source is already replacing dirtier coal-fired plants. It could serve as the ideal bridge, Amy Jaffe of Rice University says, until renewable sources like wind and solar mature.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General

Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/39510/

1. Ian+ wrote:

Can’t access the article.

November 6, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Corrected link


November 6, 9:52 pm | [comment link]
3. Emerson Champion wrote:

Quoting the article:

[F]racking has its dangers. The process involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground. If done right, this should not contaminate freshwater supplies, but .... there have been instances of contamination.

I would normally be in favor of this sort of thing, but I have seen reports of problems with fracking causing contaminated ground water in northeastern Pennsylvania, along with Natural Gas leaking into the ground water system, such that folks can set on fire the water coming from the tap. By the very nature of fracking, the fissures run a long way, and contaminated water can seep much further than intended. Once the ground water is contaminated, what’s the remedy? It is not easily or inexpensively undone.

November 7, 8:18 am | [comment link]
4. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I’m no scientist or expert on these technical matters, but the stakes do appear to be very high, both for good and for ill.  With the enormous potential this new technology represents, I sure hope the bugs get worked out sooner rather than later. 

On the whole, though, the optimism of David Brooks seems warranted.  We desperately need some new energy solution like this.  Shale gas looks like the best bet.

David Handy+

November 7, 9:57 am | [comment link]

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