Years Active: 2009-2014
The ‘shale gas revolution’ has had profound impacts on the outlook and potential role of natural gas in the future energy system – with many analysts and organisations now viewing natural gas as an attractive ‘bridge’ to a low carbon energy system. This project investigated under what circumstances, in what regions, and to what extent can shale gas be a bridge to a low carbon energy system?
Whether the widespread introduction of shale gas will increase or reduce carbon emissions depends on:
- Whether it adds to existing and projected demand for fossil fuels (e.g. perhaps by lowering the overall price of fossil fuels);
- Substitutes for higher-carbon fossil fuels (e.g. coal or oil); or,
- Substitutes for lower-carbon energy sources (e.g. nuclear or renewables).
The magnitude of the impact it will have on GHG emissions can also be expected to vary between different regions, regional and global emission reduction targets, and the extent to which shale gas has higher associated emissions than other conventional natural gas sources.
This research project explores the carbon implications for the UK and other regions globally, of the ‘profound revolution going on in gas’. The key research questions addressed in this work are therefore: under what circumstances, in what regions, and to what extent can shale gas be a bridge to a low carbon energy system? If gas can act as a bridge, what are the associated carbon, cost and energy security implications?