Tag Archive for 'water intensive energy'

China Coal-Fired Economy Dying of Thirst as Mines Lack Water

Photo retrieved from: www.bloomberg.com

“At first glance, Daliuta in northern China appears to have a river running through it. A closer look reveals the stretch of water in the center is a pond, dammed at both ends. Beyond the barriers, the Wulanmulun’s bed is dry.

Daliuta in Shaanxi province sits on top of the world’s biggest underground coal mine, which requires millions of liters of water a day for extracting, washing and processing the fuel. The town is the epicenter of a looming collision between China’s increasingly scarce supplies of water and its plan to power economic growth with coal.

“Water shortages will severely limit thermal power capacity additions,” said Charles Yonts, head of sustainable research at brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Hong Kong. “You can’t reconcile targets for coal production in, say, Shanxi province and Inner Mongolia with their water targets.”

Coal industries and power stations use as much as 17 percent of China’s water, and almost all of the collieries are in the vast energy basin in the north that is also one of the country’s driest regions. By 2020 the government plans to boost coal-fired power by twice the total generating capacity of India.”

Read more: Bloomberg



Shale Gas Stirs Ecology Fears In S.Africa’s Karoo

Photo retrieved from: www.rainharvest.co.za

“South Africa’s Karoo, a vast arid wilderness, may contain gas reserves that could solve the country’s energy problems — but only through an extraction process called fracking that has greens seeing red.

The sprawling and ecologically sensitive region, home to rare species such as the mountain zebra and riverine rabbit, may hold vast deposits of natural gas in shale rock deep underground.

Once unobtainable, such reserves can now be exploited with new techniques and could serve as a badly needed energy source for Africa’s largest economy, which is heavily reliant on coal.

Petrochemicals group Sasol (SOLJ.J), Anglo American (AAL.L) and Falcon Oil and Gas (FO.V) are among those eyeing shale gas in the region, although oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) is leading the pack with exploration rights to 90,000 sq km (34,750 sq mile).

But farmers and conservationists are opposed to shale gas development in a parched region famed for its succulent lamb, big skies and rare plant and animal life.

Public concern focuses on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, in which drillers blast millions of litres of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into underground rock to create cracks for gas and oil to escape.”

Read more: Reuters


Just How Dangerous is Fracking? We May Be About to Find Out

Photo retrieved from: www.sheridanmedia.com

“The study, announced in March [3], comes amid rising public concern about the safety of fracking, as ProPublica has been reporting [4] for years. While it remains unclear whether the actual fracturing process has contaminated drinking water, there have been more than 1,000 reports [5] around the country of contamination related to drilling, as we reported in 2008. In September 2010, the EPA warned residents of a Wyoming town [6] not to drink their well water and to use fans while showering to avoid the risk of explosion. Investigators found methane and other chemicals associated with drilling in the water, but they had not determined the cause of the contamination.

Drillers have been fracking wells for decades, but with the rise of horizontal drilling into unconventional formations like shale, they are injecting far more water and chemicals underground than ever before. The EPA proposal notes that 603 rigs were drilling horizontal wells in June 2010, more than twice as many as were operating a year earlier. Horizontal wells can require millions of gallons of water per well, a much greater volume than in conventional wells.

One point of contention is the breadth of the study. Chris Tucker, a spokesman for Energy in Depth, said he understands the need to address any stage of the fracking that might affect drinking water, but he’s skeptical that water withdrawals meet the criteria.”

Read more: AlterNet

For the Freedom of Rolling Rivers

Wang Yongchen on her 10th journey to the Salween River. Photo retrieved from: www.china.org.cn

“In order to gain a better understanding of the Salween River issue, Wang set out on a nine-day expedition with volunteers and media reporters in February 2004. This first trip to the Salween River produced a large number of pictures and written and audio records. When the voyagers returned to Beijing, they financed the “Love Salween River” photography show.

“We just want to introduce the beauty of the Salween River to more people and gather more support from them,” they said. “Even if the power station goes on to be built, we still need to tell the public and later generations what the river was once like.”

According to Wang, there are options available in choosing potential sources of energy, but there is no way to turn the clock back once the natural eco-environment has been destroyed. “A lot of people will be displaced in order to develop hydropower in the government’s poverty relief effort. But will they gain prosperity once removed from their roots? From their traditions? How many generations did it take to form their customs and culture? And it could all be destroyed in the blink of an eye.”

On February 18, 2004, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao wrote in his instruction on the Salween River dam project that: “A scientific decision will be made through cautious discussion on such a large-scale hydropower project that has generated widespread public concern and provokes different opinions from environmental groups.” When the instruction was issued, Wang and her friends were still wandering in the valleys of the river. When she read the news on her cell phone, she couldn’t help but cry aloud.”

Read more: China.org.cn

Reserve Chairman of Israel’s Science and Technology Commission Denounces IEI Oil Shale Plan

Israel Energy Initiatives has received serious opposition to its plan to extract oil from shale rock in the Adullam region. Photo retrieved from: www.greenprophet.com

“One of the main issues is whether it makes sense to conduct oil shale exploration in a region that is so environmentally, historically, and socially sensitive. Also in question is whether IEI has done enough to prove that in-situ oil shale exploration will not harm the region’s groundwater or soil.

Under the draconian National Fuel Law, the Ministry of Infrastructure granted IEI (and a heavyweight oil consortium that has financial backing from Lord Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch) carte blanche.

Under this law, the local community were not consulted, nor was an independent environmental impact assessment required. The Citizens Coalition to Save Adullam, composed of scientists, lawyers, businesspeople and educators, who stand to lose the most if the pilot project goes awry, have questioned the validity of this law half a century later.

Until now, there has been significant political pressure to support the project, on the grounds that it could free Israel from the shackles of Arab oil. Even at the local level.

Head of the Judean Regional Council, Mr. Moshe Dadon provided perhaps the most scathing revelation:

“I’m getting a lot of political pressure from the government offices to endorse this project, prior to any real assessment of its repercussions on the environment, the local tourist economy, and the public health. We would rather reject the company’s financial offers and protect the area’s open space and tourist welcoming character.”

Read more: Green Prophet