GE Invests Billions in Fracking Industry, Improves Process
General Electric Co has hopped on the shale boom bandwagon—reportedly investing billions of dollars into fracking technology, a controversial method of extracting oil and gas.
By buying up fracking-related companies and opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, the company believes that cutting-edge science and improved technologies will reduce the controversies that have the public so worried, mitigating the potential environmental and health hazards involved.
"We like the oil and gas base because we see the need for resources for a long time to come," Mark Little, a senior vice-president, told CBC news.
Although the company has had little involvement in the oil and gas sector over the last decade, GE has invested more than $15 billion in US natural gas in the last few years. GE doesn't drill the wells or produce oil or gas, but rather manages some of the major risks involved in the process—an effort placating the concerns of some environmentalists.
That includes working to reduce and clean up wastewater, improve fracking methods and reduce air pollution released during drilling. GE has a variety of expertise that will prove beneficial to the industry. Of some of its devices, GE will use technologies that can relay information to people on the surface about exactly what is happening one to two miles below ground.
"It's exciting to see," Michael Shellenberger, one of the founders of Oakland's Breakthrough Institute, told CBS news. "I think it is a positive response to legitimate public concerns about the environmental impacts [of fracking]."
Not only will industry gain more information “than ever before,” but also tools to help improved production and profits.
"There are some real technical issues that these folks at GE might be able to make real progress on," Neil Donahue, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, added.
At the very least, GE's move into the natural gas market is a good sign that industry is working to make a promising energy source as environmentally sustainable as possible in its pursuit.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.