One of the big new energy alternatives is fracking. The name actually refers to the technique which is used to extract some oil and mainly gas from underground. These are then used to fuel power stations. The whole industry has been hugely criticised by members of the public.
As a green solution, fracking is obviously not the perfect solution. Although gas has less emissions than coal when it is burned, if any escapes into the air it can do immediate damage to the ozone layer. This is something which is highly controlled though and is unlikely to be a huge problem. Many people feel that it is not a good enough step towards clean energy and think that money should be being spent on greener solutions than this.
There are also those people who are worried about the risks of fracking on the local environment. There a have been cases in the US which have worried many people. Legislation there does not permit companies that are fracking to publicise what chemicals they are using underground to extract the gas. As these chemicals can include acid and other poisons this is a cause for concern, particularly if the local water supply is breached by the drilling and the chemicals leach into it. This has been a big problem in the US as there is no map of where the old mines and wells are underground and so it makes the drilling process difficult and prone to errors. IN the UK this would not be a problem as things are well mapped out. There are also guidelines and legislations with regards to the chemicals that can be used and they have to be made public. Another case for concern is earthquakes. Drilling under the ground in the manner that fracking does, will cause earth tremors. However, if things are properly controlled and they are not near to built up errors it may not be a problem. Obviously the long term effects cannot be easily measured.
One big advantage of fracking for the UK is energy security. We will be able to produce our own energy which means that we will not have to rely on other countries for it. This should help to keep prices down but also means that if a supply is interrupted form another country then it will not have such a devastating effect. Fracking is also deemed to be cheaper than green alternatives and many people just cannot afford to pay more for their energy.
It is worth trying to ignore all the protests and highly emotive arguments around fracking and look at the facts for yourself. If you feel we should be moving towards completely green solutions, then obviously this is not the best one. However, it does move away from dirtier coal and oil and could be considered to be a step in the right direction. However, if it does go ahead in the UK, it would need to be very carefully monitored to make sure that safety always comes first.