Sunday, February 17, 2013
Cheap Power In A Year-18 Months
Which shows that we are about 10 years behind the US in shale gas production, but also how fast the tap can be turned on - - basically from under 1 to over 7 trillion cubic feet in 4 years.
Remember also that this was not done with the US pulling out all the stops but with Obama in charge, a man publicly committed to opposing the development of the energy industry (except for the state subsidised windmill industry). It is simply that in the US government, particularly central government, has less power and individual states have chosen to allow market freedom.
Natural gas based electricity generators have regularly been built in 18 months so that is a maximum. I would suspect that iff the paperwork were cut (or excluded\) and incentives provided for speedy building we could have new megawatt generators up in a year.
And that we could have serious amounts of shale gas being delivered in the same time.
If this industry could have grown twice as fast without Obama and the bureaucracy's "help" in America and if our government were to actively promote it and take advantage of the fact that the learning how to do it has already been done, then we could grow 4 times faster than the US industry has and catch up in 3 years.
How to do it.
First and most important get government out of the way - let gas mining outside built up areas and anywhere sufficiently un-beautiful that a windmill has been considered within 20 miles start tomorrow. Let building of new gas power generators start next week - they also don't infringe on senic beauty remotely as much as the "environmentalists" windmills do.
Second - active promotion. Put up an assorted few £10s of millions in prizes: £5 million to the first well to extract 1 million cubic feet, 10 million; 100,000; first online gas generator of 600 MW or more; half that for the 2nd prize, half again for 3rd.
Third - a major disincentive we could get rid of at any time would be, as Bishop Hill points out, that potential generating comapnies are told they will have to switch off their generators any time the windmillers are actually able to provide something because they have to get the chance to seel their expensive electricity to us in first prefernce to the cheap, reliable, power shale gas can provide.
That would do it.
Total - about £40 million - when our government is saying we have to spend £200 billion on windmills.
Set a target of 23% growth in electricity supply per year for the immediate future and until it has been surpassed keep the regulations as light and the prizes coming.
With gas prices dropping by 3/4as as they have in the US and thus the price of gas made electricity dropping at least half and gas already being about 40% of the cost of the basket of generation we use (ie everything else costs 40% and wind then takes billions extra) we should expect electricity costs to drop to not more than 20% of current - and if economists know anything, demand and thus the economy to keep growing well beyond four fold.