Actually, the Conservative Party in Great Britain has committed itself to stopping fracking. But now test drilling should be allowed. Meanwhile, France is relying on more wind power – but not only.
The new British government is lifting a fracking moratorium because of the rapidly increasing energy prices. “In the face of (Kremlin leader Vladimir) Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the weaponization of energy, strengthening our energy security is a top priority,” Economy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said. This should also ensure that the UK becomes a net energy exporter by 2040.
“To do that, we need to explore all the opportunities available to us through solar, wind, oil and gas,” said Rees-Mogg. The lifting of the moratorium allows to search for sources of domestic gas. The minister is seen as an opponent of green energies and has repeatedly questioned the causes of climate change. The Scottish regional government emphasized that the fracking ban would remain in place in the northernmost part of the UK.
Fracking uses pressure and chemicals to extract gas or oil from rock layers, which poses environmental hazards. The method is forbidden in Germany. A moratorium was imposed in Great Britain in 2019. The Conservative Party had committed to stopping fracking in its election manifesto.
Now the new party leader and Prime Minister Liz Truss defended the repeal. “Fracking is part of the energy mix, we should examine all options,” Truss said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. “No option should be off the table to improve our energy security because that is the main problem we face.”
A study by the British Geological Survey found that there was only a “limited understanding of UK geology and onshore shale gas reserves”. The Ministry of Economic Affairs now emphasized that this is precisely why more test drilling should now be permitted, applications would only be considered “where there is local support”, it said.
Macron: Rapid expansion of renewable energies – and new nuclear power plants
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron is aiming for a much faster expansion of renewable energies in his country. “I want renewable projects to be realized twice as fast,” said Macron at the commissioning of France’s first offshore wind farm near Saint-Nazaire. Laws should be adapted and procedures accelerated. “Our neighbors have been much faster than us,” Macron said of his country’s lag in wind energy use.
By 2050, France wants to create around 50 offshore wind farms at sea with a capacity of 40 gigawatts. The first wind farm off the coast of Saint-Nazaire in western France will cover the electricity needs of around 300,000 people with 80 wind turbines and an output of 162 megawatts. According to Macron, onshore wind power, which has so far been concentrated in a few regions of France, is also to be expanded.
At the same time, Macron confirmed his plans to expand nuclear power in France with six to eight planned new power plants. “Only renewables or only nuclear power, that doesn’t work.” Macron first formulated this dual strategy in February during a keynote speech on energy policy in Belfort.