MYTH #8: “Fracking requires no government subsidies so it’s better than renewables.”
FACT: According to a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, fossil fuel companies in the UK will receive more than £26 billion in subsidies in 2015 – more than £400 per head of population. In contrast, the cost of supporting all renewable energy technologies in 2014/15 was just £3.5 billion (or £54 per person), according to DECC figures. A recent report by the IMF says the subsidies received by the fossil fuel industry worldwide will be a massive $5.3 trillion in 2015 – or $10 million per minute. (IMF Survey – Counting the Cost of Energy Subsidies).
How does the UK government subsidise fracking?
Fracking companies will only have to pay 30% tax on profits – less than half the amount paid by conventional oil and gas producers. The British taxpayer is also paying £60-80m to drill hundreds of fracking monitoring boreholes and £5m to produce ‘educational information’ for the public on the benefits of shale gas. Meanwhile, the government has cut feed-in tariffs for domestic solar panels by 60%, threatening thousands of jobs but only reducing bills by 50p a year.
MYTH #12: “Fracking can be done discreetly.”
While a conventional gas well, once drilled, can be fairly discreet, the same cannot be said of the fracking industry. A ten- or twenty-well pad can be up to five acres in size, and requires tens of thousands of HGV movements to bring water, sand and chemicals to the site, and to remove tens of thousands of gallons of contaminated waste water – often through villages and along narrow country roads. As well as the drilling of the well (which can take up to 100 days, day and night), the fracking process itself is also very noisy. Also, as fracking wells have such a short life-span (only 1-3 years), wells need to . In Pennsylvania, for example, there are about 10,000 fracking wells, and the industry says that they have only drilled 10% of the total number of wells it requires.
Another key issue is for the gas industry to function effectively, they also need gas processing plants, compressor stations, dehydration plants, chemical storage facilities, new pipelines, new roads to accommodate the thousands of HGV trucks … . In short, the fracking industry is anything but discreet, and will lead to the irreversible industrialisation of the countryside.