Shale Gas: Catalyst for Solar Panels?

Natural Gas. Naturally?

Natural Gas. Naturally?

Shale Gas. Love it, or hate it. There is not much room in between. With documentaries like Gasland from Josh Fox fueling the anti-Shale Gas lobby, there are those that praise the economic benefits from having our own gas supply locally again and either want to start drilling, or at least have the effects of fracking looked into with studies.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of Shale Gas, but I really think this discussion on wether or not to pursue Shale Gas is a good one nonetheless. I think it might even play the role of a catalyst to boost people's desire to go for solar power instead; turning their backs on utilities. Are the days of large energy suppliers as we know them numbered?

The Fracking Process in more detail

The Fracking Process in more detail

Shale Basics

In short, getting shale gas involves a process that is often referred to as 'fracking', or 'hydraulic facturing' in full. It is a process that drills into the layer of rock where gas is trapped in small pockets. After the drilling, a liquid (water with a range of chemicals) is being pumped into the well at high pressure. The high pressure causes the stone layer to crack up and fracture, releasing the gas which can then be captured above ground.

Gas contaminated water well is, well... not good!

Gas contaminated water well is, well... not good!

Shale Image

The image of Shale Gas is not too good; there is a lot of concern if this cheap, locally found gas is safe and clean. With the stories of heavy pollution, earthquakes and faucets on fire, who can blame them? The parties in favour of shale gas are currently promoting to investigate the effects of shale gas. With the study they hope to demonstrate fracking for shale gas is safe and sound.

Ever seen a solar energy spill? We call it "a nice day"

Ever seen a solar energy spill? We call it "a nice day"

Self Sufficient / Bottom Up

With all this negative image building surrounding shale gas, the discussion could motivate people to choose solar/wind power instead. Wether or not the pollution from shale gas is truly from shale gas or some other natural occurance, the first 'solar spill' still has to get headline. This will make the people self sufficient and less dependant on the larger energy corporations. Effectively this could then become the start of a bottom up approach.

I'm in favour of the research and discussion on shale gas, but I sure hope shale gas will not become a reality here in the Netherlands. These discussions in my opinion will hopefully spark the interest of people to install solar panels and wind power instead.

Any thoughts you'd like to share, please do so below.