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Delphin has commented 161 times (12 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?
    on 17 April 2014 at 10:45 am

    We have a very poor standard of heath care administration in NI. This is not an argument to close hospitals but to get rid of Pootsie. Likewise poor environmental regulation is an argument to improve that, not to stop fracking. Secondly when God gave us the gift of shale gas the border did not exist, so much of the potential gas extraction will be regulated by the Irish EPA. They, I believe, have a reasonable reputation.
    Ireland currently generates a significant proportion of electricity from coal, replacing this with gas will reduce the island’s carbon footprint.
    How else does Ireland reduce it’s reliance on fossil carbon? Wind turbines are everywhere and have the potential to generate green electricity – when the wind blows. Tidal power generation is also planned – a lot more predictable than the wind, but stops generating twice a day when the tide turns.Photovoltaics only work during the day – surprisingly!
    These renewables can only be part of a long term low carbon economy and in the meantime fossil carbon will needed.

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  2. Comment on Come on BBC NI give us the bad news on our beaches…?
    on 16 April 2014 at 4:46 pm

    CG, the position in the UK is that the local water company is responsible for sewage related issues impacting bathing waters, the responsibility for bathing water quality lies with the regulator ie The Environment Agency in England and Wales, SEPA in Scotland and the NIEA in N. Ireland, so it has been a SDLP responsibility this last while.
    How do you know the problems with the beaches are not down to agriculture?

    Below is a link to bathing water quality in NI
    http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/bw_comp98-13.pdf

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  3. Comment on Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?
    on 16 April 2014 at 11:32 am

    Very interesting Ross. But are you in a position to say that exploiting the shale gas in Fermanagh/ Sligo will result in unacceptable emissions of methane?
    For example it is suggested in the news article that the cause of the methane emissions was drilling through coal deposits with the borehole at lower than atmospheric pressure. Will this be the case in Ireland?
    As I said before fugitive methane emissions have been identified as a major cause for concern by the European environmental regulatory community, and given their well known risk averse nature, fracking will not proceed unless these concerns are fully addressed.

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  4. Comment on Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?
    on 16 April 2014 at 10:37 am

    A combined cycle gas fired power plant has a efficiency of ~62%. Coal fired plant is ~33%. Therefore to replace coal with gas will reduce the carbon footprint of Ireland.
    Fugitive emissions are notoriously difficult to measure so any figure is going to be subject to significant uncertainty. That aside you seem to think that fugitive methane emissions are unchangeable, but as I have said before, with appropriate regulation, these can be controlled. Below is a link to this
    http://www.epa.gov/methane/gasstar/basic-information/index.html‎

    To me fracking is just another way to produce gas and oil and with appropriate regulation it should go ahead. As I see it it will have distinct advantages
    (1) Carbon footprint. Being local, no energy is wasted in pumping or shipping and gas fired power stations are the most efficient by a long chalk.
    (2) Energy costs. While fracking is not likely to reduce oil and gas prices to the extent it has in the US, it must help stabilise and reduce energy costs
    (3) Energy security. Given the current situation in Russia an alternative gas supply will be very welcome.

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  5. Comment on Come on BBC NI give us the bad news on our beaches…?
    on 15 April 2014 at 4:19 pm

    It’s hardly a secret Mick. The quality data is on the MCS and NIEA websites.
    Bathing water quality is not only affected by sewage but by agricultural run-off and poorly maintained private septic tanks.

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  6. Comment on Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?
    on 15 April 2014 at 3:41 pm

    The extraction of natural gas from shale in Fermanagh/Sligo and generating electricity in a combined cycle gas fired power plant would significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the island of Ireland. Fact.
    The argument about fugitive methane emission is spurious because:
    Uses American data -is this relevant to Europe?
    Best estimates would indicate these releases are ~ 3%, same as coal and bio-gas. Should bio-gas plants be stopped because of their methane emissions?
    Fossil carbon will need to be burnt for some time to come. This is widely accepted even by the Green Party. His collective buying of home heating oil to help reduce costs to the consumer is a major part of Ross Brown’s election campaign. Fair play, but it’s a bit like being a vegetarian butcher!

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  7. Comment on John Barry: “We need legislators, not negotiators…”
    on 11 April 2014 at 8:09 pm

    DB, you forgot to mention the inability of Stormont to agree a recovery plan for the Strangford Lough mussel beds.
    I don’t think having an ‘independent’ Environment Agency would make that much difference. The basic problem is that the politically active in N. Ireland are obsessed with tribal politics and really don’t care about the environment. If squirrels were orange and green rather than red and grey, things might be different.

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  8. Comment on John Barry: “We need legislators, not negotiators…”
    on 11 April 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Ross,
    The débâcle at Campsie is down to the regulator not being fit for purpose. Another example of incompetence at Stormont. I wouldn’t want to decide energy policy for Europe on the performance of our local politicians.

    To be clear the jury is still out in Europe on whether fracking will proceed. Fugitive methane emissions have been flagged up as a major concern. This will need to be addressed if fracking is to proceed.

    Germany’s renewable energy sector is to be reformed.

    The reform is necessary to curb a rise in the cost of electricity driven by the rapid expansion of green power under the country’s Energiewende policy.

    The reform will slow the expansion of green energy, which accounts for 25 percent of Germany’s electricity and force new investors in green power to take some risk.

    So Germany as had to pull back at 25% for economic reasons. It may be possible to have 100% renewables now but this would be economically and politically impossible.

    To me the science is unequivocal. The way forward technically is becoming clear – renewables plus nuclear (especially fusion). The big problems with combating climate change are economic and political.

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  9. Comment on John Barry: “We need legislators, not negotiators…”
    on 11 April 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Jenny, Ross,
    Europe has the most stringent environmental laws on the planet, so fracking will not be permitted to ‘destroy the countryside’ any more so than quarrying or intensive agriculture.
    As you probably know the jury is still out on fracking in Europe, with unintentional (fugitive) release of methane being identified as a major concern. One would presume that again fracking will not be permitted until this is addressed.

    The best engineers in the world – the Germans – have been unable to meet stringent renewable energy targets and rising prices and potential power cuts have resulted in new coal fired power stations being planned. So like it or not the burning of fossil carbon will be necessary of at least another generation and to reject fracking out of hand is to me foolish.

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  10. Comment on John Barry: “We need legislators, not negotiators…”
    on 11 April 2014 at 8:45 am

    Hi Ross, have you any comment on IJP’s comment on fracking
    “I’m not sure ruling out fracking completely, given instability to our energy supply growing in the east, is all that wise either. (It is quite reasonable to oppose it until its safety has been demonstrated clearly, but not to oppose it outright to appease the NIMBYs.)”
    I would tend to agree with this. Also the carbon footprint for burning fracked gas would be lower than for burning Russian gas.
    Local gas for local people, I say!

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