South Africa's Mining Minister Extends Shale Frac Ban
Companies like Shell will have to wait a bit longer to exploit South Africa’s shale natural gas resources. South Africa’s Mining Minister Susan Shabangu has decided to extend the ban on the practice of hydraulic fracturing used to break through shale rock formations underground to tap once inaccessible gas reserves. The moratorium will last another six months, while the nation’s appointed team to investigate the safety of hydraulic ‘fracking’ continues its research.
All new applications to exploit shale gas resources have been frozen by Minister Shabangu. The central Karoo region of South Africa is of particular interest for its presumed shale resources. "I can assure you that when it comes to fracking in the Karoo, we will engage with everybody. We will go to the people," says the Minister.
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"She's putting everything on ice for a further six months so that the task team can complete its work. It has given her an interim report and she has asked them to do further work on that interim report," minerals and resources department spokesman Bheki Khumalo says. "It simply means that South Africa will not take any decision on fracking and finalize this matter in any way until the end of February next year. Also there will be public consultations once she has got the report."
Shell and other major energy producers have claims in the region and were expecting the drilling ban to be lifted; however, the extension will simply put plans on hold until 2012. Several countries and regions with shale resources are implementing similar bans for fears of water contamination. The following year will see several international studies being released as to the safety of the practice, once and for all putting an end to the questions that have pitted energy companies against environmental and social activists ever since the hydraulic fracking technology first got underway.
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.