What does the arrival of fracked shale mean for Scotland?
The very first shipment of shale gas fracked in the USA is scheduled to arrive in Scotland today — amid tensions surrounding the practice on UK shores.
Multinational chemicals company Ineos is importing 27,500 cubic metres of ethane from its American shale fields to its refinery and petrochemical plant in Grangemouth. The company has touted the arrival of the gas as a replacement for waning North Sea oil and gas supplies, but critics of hydraulic fracturing are concerned this could be a first step toward greenlighting the practice in Scotland.
The gas, which was produced in the eastern state of Pennsylvania, has travelled over 3,500 miles via eight separate tankers to reach Grangemouth.
Boon or bane?
"This is a hugely important day for Ineos and the UK. Shale gas can help stop the decline of British manufacturing," said Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos Founder and Chairman.
However, the Scottish government placed a moratorium on fracking last year, with the government saying that it needed to conduct more research into its potential impacts. Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated that ban would remain in place into next year.
The Scottish government said ministers were “unavailable” to attend the arrival of the Ineos shipment.
The role of shale at Grangemouth
At the Grangemouth facility, Ineos will extract ethane from the supplied gas and use it to make plastic pellets for manufacturing use.
The Grangemouth site is home to Scotland’s only crude oil refinery and contributes around three percent of Scotland’s GDP.
Ultimately, proponents will cite the economic benefits of the shale shipments, while some fear the supply forecasts an increased appetite for domestically-fracked gas.
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.