07 Jun 2023, 11:47
Julian Wettengel

“Very uncertain” to what extent fracking could help German supply security – researchers

Clean Energy Wire

It is unclear whether and to what extent conventional fracking – a controversial gas extraction method currently banned in Germany – could make a contribution to supply security in the country, said researchers from Energy Systems of the Future (ESYS), an initiative of the German Academies of Sciences. In a paper, they argued that domestic gas deposits could in theory cover 6-12 percent of today’s annual consumption, but it would need several years to set up the industry and to negotiate (and possibly abolish) the current ban politically and socially. In addition, climate targets mean that gas consumption will be phased out. Prices on the world market have also decreased since the energy crisis, so that it is unclear whether there is a business case without state support, said ESYS. “In view of the great opposition in society, the limited time period and the uncertain cost and price of development, it is very uncertain what contribution fracking could make in Germany to strengthening security of supply,” said Karen Pittel of the Institute for Economic Research (ifo). She called for an open discussion about its potential and conflicting goals.

The energy crisis has revived the German debate into the controversial gas extraction method known as fracking, as the country looks for alternatives to Russian supply. However, there is large opposition to the technology across the country. Federal and regional governments in key states have made it very unlikely that Germany will allow it even in the current crisis. There has been no fracking to extract natural gas in Germany, and the technology has been banned since 2017. As a result, it would likely take years for fracking gas to make a meaningful contribution to the country’s energy mix; meaning it will be of little help in the current energy crisis.

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