Come and join in a Solidarity March or Cycle Ride to the Horse Hill drilling site, on 20 February.
It will be a colourful, upbeat, positive event, to demonstrate our strength of feeling on the need to honour climate commitments and leave oil in the ground.
- Climate campaigners will cycle from London, Brighton, and points in between, meeting at 10:30am at the Massetts Road/Victoria Road car park, Horley, RH6 7DQ
- Walkers will meet at 12 noon at The Black Horse, at the junction of Reigate Road and Horse Hill, Hookwood, RH6 0HU
- Together we will all process up Horse Hill to the site to take a stand against fossil fuel extraction and call for clean energy.
You can sign up at the Facebook event pages:
- March: https://www.facebook.com/events/1677017459212990/
- Cyclists from London: https://www.facebook.com/events/1758255201060003/
Horse Hill Developments Limited has begun ‘flow testing’ at the site, to establish whether there are significant reserves of oil there. If they find oil in the Kimmeridge (shale) layers, this would require fracking or other unconventional methods to extract it, with attendant risks to air and water and the local environment.
Scientists say that to avoid hitting a catastrophic climate tipping point, we need to keep 80% of all known fossil fuels in the ground. There is no justification for seeking to drag the last dregs of dinosaur fuel out of the ground. Now is the time to switch investment into renewable energy.
The cycling events are organised by Time To Cycle, which mobilises cyclists to take direct action on climate change.
Why on earth are you protesting about fracking at Horse Hill? There isn’t going to be any fracking taking place. Read the following commnet from Stephen Sanderson, executive chief chairman of UKOG and Horse Hill developments,
“Whether or not we feel we could develop this as a development we have to submit a new planning permission, it could take up to two years.”
“It’s not fracking at all, we have no permission to do that,” Mr Sanderson continued.
“We are not looking at shale oil we are looking at sand stone, conventional sandstone and limestone.
“There is no fracking at all for this well or any time in the future, this is not a fracking well.”
You need to ease up on the mis-informed alarmism
Hi David, Thank you for your comment.
We have never said that fracking is certain to take place at Horse Hill – but have highlighted the potential for unconventional extraction methods. This is something Stephen Sanderson frequently talks about too – Horse Hill is touted as a promising mixture of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons.
We understand that in this case it is likely to be acid stimulation rather than high volume hydraulic fracturing. This is still likely to involve cluster drilling and multi-well pads with long laterals; radioactive flaring; radioactive waste; fluid containment issues; compressor stations; noise of drilling flaring and pumping and heavy industrialisation.
Whatever method of extraction used, it will require new planning permissions.
But we aren’t concerned only about the extraction method. The scientific consensus is that in order to avert catastrophic climate change, we need to leave large reserves of oil in the ground.
In this case, there is no justification in seeking new reserves. It’s time to shift energy and investment into energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Thanks again for your interest.
If you agree that no fracking is to take place at Horse Hill you might want to have a word with your rather misguided protestors:
They all seem rather convinced that fracking is going to take place.
Catastrophic climate change? Show me the empirical evidence – not a bunch of predictions from computer generated models. You need to remember that CAGW is just a rather shaky hypothesis, it’s not even a theory.
As for renewables, perhaps you should consider the real pollution that has occurred during the mining for rare earth metals that are needed in wind turbines and solar panels:
Oh dear, I’m not doing too well this morning. Real link about rare earth metals:
“Together we will all process up Horse Hill to the site to take a stand against fossil fuel extraction and call for clean energy.”
You can call for “clean energy” all you like, but it doesn’t exist so calling for it is not going to help much. You greens keep shouting “wind mills” and “solar panels”, but you have no clue. A modern developed economy vannot be run on wind mills and solar panels. You need dispatchable power producers which can deliver the exact amount of power being consumed, 24-7, 365.
Please ake up from this delusion and put your energy (pun intended) into genuine environmental problems.
Fossil fuels have been THE greatest contributor to welfare and health in the history of the human race. Recognize that and stop demonizing the thing that brought us all that prosperity.
Thanks for your comment.
I don’t know whether you consider Germany to be a “modern developed economy”, but in 2015 they produced about a third of their energy needs from renewable sources (http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/13/almost-33-german-electricity-came-renewables-2015/). The German Energiewende (energy transition) is well on track to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (which is very disappointing for all the fossil fuel funded naysayers who keep trying to tell us how badly it’s going). The UK should be following suit, but for the moment the big political party contributions of the fossil fuel lobby are proving too persuasive for our leaders.
Fossil fuels have indeed been a great contributor to wealth and welfare over the last century (I’m not so sure about health – swings and roundabouts there I think), but their time is over. We have to leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding runaway climate change, so there really is no point in exploring for more at Horse Hill or anywhere else, whether with conventional or unconventional techniques such as fracking. If there is a delusion here, it’s yours I’m afraid!
Thank you for your reply.
First off let me say that just like you I care a great deal for this planet we live on. I care for my young daughter, for me and for you. I would like nothing better than for the human race to be able to provide in their energy needs in a sustainable way.
Your standpoint regarding fossil fuels is (I think?) that we should use none of it. I will gladly stand corrected if that assumption is not true. So that means nothing for energy needs and nothing for plastics, right? I think that is an unrealistic standpoint. Noble and with good intentions, but unrealistic nonetheless. I would like to try to explain why I think that. And I want to focus on the energy side if I may.
I truly wish that solar and wind power were the solutions. However when I evaluate these solutions as objectively as I can, using my professional experience (I am a mechanical engineer), I am sorry to say that I think it does not and will not work. It would be simply to expensive. Unless we invent a way to store huge amounts of energy, much much more than the current chemical battery technology can achieve. Without the large scale storage of energy (or without idling conventional power plants) as backup, wind and solar will not be able to provide the continuous electrical energy supply that the modern western economies currently completely rely on. The energy storage systems currently proposed, namely water reservoirs and chemical batteries, are simply insufficient.
If however we invent a way (hopefully soon) to store sufficient amounts of energy cost effectively, then the story changes and then I will absolutely support intermittent power generation like wind and solar. But not before.
To answer your question, yes I do consider Germany a modern economy. Furthermore, nobody objective, and especially not me, is going to deny that fact you mentioned, that “33% of their [the German] energy needs came from renewable energy”. That is true. No question. But it is an irrelevant fact for a power grid even if it was 80 percent, or 90.
The problem with a power grid is that if, at any moment in time, the amount of power consumed from it by society is higher than the amount of power put into it by the power generators, the grid collapses and all generators shut down (black out) and it won’t provide any power for days or weeks, with all the misery that entails. We cannot store energy in sufficient amounts to prevent this.
Since wind and solar are intermittent generators (they will not generate continuously nor on demand) they can never fullfill the role of constantly supplying exactly the amount of power needed to sustain the grid. Backups are needed to continuously fill the gap between what you get from wind and solar and what society takes. These backups need to be either dispatchable power generators (such as fossil or nuclear or hydro, etc.) or energy storage systems which release power into the grid to fill the gap if there is one.
And this gap can be large. For solar it is obviously 100% (at night ;-). Research shows that for wind this gap can also be very large.
“During the study period, wind generation was:
* below 20% of capacity more than half the time;
* below 10% of capacity over one third of the time;
* below 2.5% capacity for the equivalent of one day in twelve;
* below 1.25% capacity for the equivalent of just under one day a month.
So the fact that renewables provided 33% percent of all the German energy needs is irrelevant. Even if they would have provided 99,9% percent of the energy it would still be irrelevant. You would still need backup.
I am not saying that, scientists from the university of Delaware and Denmark are saying that.
Look at their figure 3. They did a study and performed extensive simulations to see what would be needed to replace a 72 gigawatt fossil-nuclear power grid (the north west of the United States) with renewable power generators, taking into acount real weather data from that region over three years. They concluded with the need to install 260 gigawatt of renewable power generators (wind, solar, hydro) plus a large amount of current technology storage (batteries etc.). This can provide all the needed energy 99,9% of the time without any fossil/nuclear. But then still 28,3 gigawatts (39%) of the fossil-nuclear generators would be needed 0,1% of the time to prevent a total blackout 5 times every 3 years (the 5 spikes in the bottom graph of figure 3). In other words, 4 of every 10 conventional power plants running today would have to be standby in warm idling mode continuously during those three years, producing no power but otherwise staffed and operational as normal, and only swing into action once or twice a year for a day or so.
That is what would be needed for 100% renewable at this time with the current technology.
Well, 99,9% of the time renewable, 0,1% of the time we still need 40% of current power plants.
I asume that you are in favour of that conclusion. It would cut back on CO2 emissions drastically. No doubt about it.
But here is why I find it unrealistic. The cost. It sucks, I know. 😉
But the cost is something you cannot exclude from this equation. The costs for that type of energy system and the impact from those costs on especially the poor people in our society would be huge. It would mean an immense reduction in living standard for most of the population, but especially for the poorer members of society, since energy is a basic essential need everybody needs.
So I say let’s put all our efforts into research! Research into energy storage systems and new forms of power generation. And when we have the solutions, let’s then use all of our resources and finances to revolutionize the energy supply. It is too soon to spend billions/trillions on it. Let’s wait and do it right! Let’s spend all that money now on helping solve other problems, like poverty and hunger and other polution.
If you are interested, I found this article interesting, which also looks at this problem.
One more thing I want to add to that is this.
The only reason Germany has been able to utilize so much intermittent renewable power generators like wind and solar is because they are only a small part of a huge interconnected power grid spanning many european countries. This huge power grid has sufficient dispachable power generators (fossil/nuclear) to cope with the supply gaps as mentioned above. Germany is exporting power when their renewables produce too much and importing power when renewables produce too little. If all of Europe would do what Germany did and also additionally shut down all their dispatchable generators (which Germany definitely has NOT done, they even started up older brown coal power stations to be able to fill the gaps) the situation would be very different indeed. Then this whole region would have to install approx. four times the amount of conventional generation in renewables plus huge amouns of chemical battery storage (as the study above shows) and the still they would need to keep 1/3 of their conventional generators in tip-top shape online to cope with the blackout risks as mentioned in the study. Totally unrealistic.
Thank you for getting back to me, particularly with such a long and informative reply! (I haven’t had time to read through all your references yet, but I will.)
My standpoint towards fossil fuels is not that we should use none of them, but that we need to transition towards using much, much less of them. And we need to start now (some countries already have done so of course).
Solar and wind (and wave and geo-thermal etc) may well not be complete solutions, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be moving towards them (and away from fossil fuels) as quickly as possible, while at the same time searching for and researching other options. Climate change is happening now, and isn’t going to wait around while we look for other solutions if we continue to burn carbon at the same unsustainable rate. We can’t research first, and only then decide to make the transition, we have to do both together. Whatever it costs, we will have to pay.
It is well-established that we need to leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding runaway climate change, which is why it seems like an advanced form of madness to be searching for new supplies (fracking or not is pretty irrelevant) in Horse Hill or anywhere else.
By the way, my comment that the Germans are now producing 33% of their energy needs from renewable energy was just a response to yours saying there is no such thing as clean energy. The Germans still have a long way to go to wean themselves off fossil fuels too, but at least they are making a serious attempt, unlike the UK, which is currently moving in the other direction.
You also say “Let’s spend all that money now on helping solve other problems, like poverty and hunger and other pollution”. We have to do those too of course. A massive reduction in fossil fuel use would help a lot with pollution, and poverty and hunger are intrinsically linked to the power and financial imbalances that are part of the way we currently run our economies, and a transition to less centralised forms of energy production will help with those as well (but that’s probably a topic for another website and another time!)
Yet the Energiewende is encountering serious obstacles. The system of feed-in payments becomes inherently more costly as renewable capacities are added. Sigmar Gabriel, federal minister for economic affairs and energy, has acknowledged that “we have reached the limit of what we can ask of our economy”. Unless the energy transition can be made affordable, “no one in the world will follow us”.
Our electricity is twice as expensive as in UK…massive dependence on filzjy polluting lignite (Braunkohle) to provide reliable base-load….and massive fuel poverty…
Thanks for your comment. I don’t think anyone expected the energiewende to be easy, and there have of course been obstacles, but it (or something very like it) needs to be done worldwide, and Germany has had the foresight to attempt it first. The levels of lignite use are indeed high, which probably means that Germany will miss its ambitious greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020, but it is still doing better than the EU emissions reduction target.
I’m not sure where you have got your numbers for comparative electricity prices and fuel poverty though:
The latest figures I have seen show Germany’s domestic electricity prices to be slightly more expensive than the UK, but nothing like twice as expensive (http://www.statista.com/statistics/263492/electricity-prices-in-selected-countries/). Industrial electricity prices are much cheaper in Germany than in the UK in fact (http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/newswire/uk-industry-crippled-by-electricity-costs-twice-as-high-as-in-germany/).
And as for levels of fuel poverty, Germany’s is a little higher than the European average, but nowhere near as high as the UK’s (http://www.ukace.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ACE-and-EBR-fact-file-2013-03-Cold-man-of-Europe.pdf). Fuel poverty, as with all poverty, is caused by a whole range of factors and government policies, not simply energy prices.
Great to see such informed comments. Its a limestone reservoir so maybe acid stimulation would be used but so what? Its been used countless times. And even if fracking takes place, so what? It has a history of causing ZERO aquifer pollution incidents in 2.5 million jobs. Its a well researched and established technology.
If people are so committed to renewables consider that there is no storage of any energy produced, so we need a back up. Solar produces about 0.2% of UK energy usage and produces nothing in winter. Wind is about 2% and that is of course really unreliable.
Please stop driving cars, take no holidays, and do not use plastics/ modern products or anything else that is derived from fossil fuels.
Thanks for dropping by.
“Solar produces about 0.2% of UK energy usage” – yes, that’s probably about right. Isn’t it a shame we aren’t producing 33% of our energy with renewables like the Germans, as I noted in a reply to an earlier commenter above. Sadly our government is too spineless to do anything that might upset their fossil fuel funders.
Interesting that you should mention energy storage, as it’s this year’s big thing: storage prices are plummeting – Deutsche Bank expect the cost of lithium-ion batteries to fall by 20 to 30 percent a year – and there are a number of major storage projects getting set to launch in the UK this year (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/04/from-liquid-air-to-supercapacitators-energy-storage-is-finally-poised-for-a-breakthrough).
When you say fracking is “a well researched and established technology”, are you talking about the well-established practice of fracking that began in the 1940’s, or the high-volume (also known as “massive”) fracking that is a much more recent technique? Your mention of “2.5 million jobs” suggests you mean the nice old-fashioned version, which probably has done no-one any harm. The jury is still very much out on high-volume fracking as I’m sure you are aware, with research on-going. I’m sure you know that New York state banned the practice last year on the basis of a 7 year study that concluded ” fracking’s effects on water, air and soil are inconsistent, incomplete and raise too many red flags”. So I think it’s OK for little old Horse Hill to be a bit concerned.
You are right though – we all need to drive and fly less, and there is far too much pointless plastic around for my liking too.
[…] Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, has sent a message of support to those gathering at Horse Hill today for the solidarity walk and cycle ride. […]