Shale and renewables can form ‘symbiotic’ links

Angela Knight: among high-profile speakers at renewables conference
Angela Knight: among high-profile speakers at renewables conference
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DEVELOPING shale gas will not kill off Scotland’s burgeoning renewable energy industry, a Citigroup analyst will tell a major conference in Edinburgh this week.

Recent research has suggested that the country may be sitting on up to £5 billion of gas reserves, which could be extracted using the controversial technique known as “fracking”.

While the shale gas boom in the United States has unlocked huge deposits of cheap hydrocarbons and led to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, Scotland has chosen the renewables path.

But in key research to be presented at Scottish Renewables’ annual conference, Jason Channell, director of alternative energy at Citi Research, will argue that shale gas and renewables can form a “symbiotic relationship”.

He is set to be joined by a number of other speakers who will debate the costs and benefits of renewables and examine the alternatives.

“Much has been said about the emergence of shale heralding a ‘golden age of gas’, and the demise of renewables,” said Channell.

“However, we believe that the opposite is true; that gas and renewables could in fact be the making of each other in the short term, and that renewables will reach cost parity with conventional fuels, including gas, in many parts of the world in the very near term.”

The conference and annual dinner is a highlight of Scotland’s renewables sector, and is expected to bring together a record 600 delegates this year, on 18 and 19 March, at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Other high-profile speakers include energy secretary Ed Davey and Angela Knight, the former chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association who now heads utilities trade body Energy UK.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “We believe that renewables absolutely stack up at a local, national and European level in terms of the contribution they can make to economic growth, climate change and costs.”