2014 February 7

The Master Resource Report 2014-02-07

Is shale gas still a game changer as promised?

Readers of this report know the “shale boom” story. The US is on a clear road to energy independence and we have enough natural gas to last more than 200 years according to all the expert pundits. Readers also know that the story isn’t that simple and it is much more nuanced than that.

So in the middle of this cold weather and record setting draws on natural gas storage it is worth reconsidering the story. Michael Vickerman who is the program and policy director of RENEW Wisconsin asked the question is it “Time to scrap the shale gas “game changer” myth”. Michael makes a number of good points that are usually unanswered or simply avoid by industry.

2014 may prove to be a pivotal year for US energy policy in terms of unconventional resources like shale gas and tight oil. Cost of production is clearly becoming an issue across the petroleum industry with the industry focusing return on capital. That is not an environment that will result in low prices and abundant supply. In that environment the market may find that the game has changed for the “game changer”.

The world’s most powerful wind turbine

Last month the world’s most powerful wind turbine generated its first power. The Vestas V164 8.0 has rotors with a diameter of 164 meters, ≈64% more than a football (or soccer) field.

The scale of this giant is further illustrated by the mass of the blades which individually tip the scales at about 34 tonnes each. When added to the mass of the nacelle and hub the total head mass at the top of the tower comes in close to 500 tonnes.

The following video is courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems.