Tag Archives: energy security

Shale gas- Teresa May

Today, 24th December, the book “Survival” can be downloaded free.  Today, you can read, for free, a chapter on shale gas which is a balanced view of what was known at the time, and that things have not changed much. No doubt, today or shortly, there will be howls of anger and disagreement from the anti’s in the groups who purport to stand up for the “environment” and some will post rude comments on Amazon and wherever. Well, they are entitles to deny the facts and be generally bigoted. The truth is that, in isolation, they are partly right; shale gas, if we had the option, would be best left in the ground and we would use “renewable” fuels. Unfortunately, that is only part of the truth.  The Earth is already grossly over-populated and people need food and energy. The UN says that around 10 million (yes, 100,000,000) people in central Africa are on the edge of starving to death. (Not a nice way to die.)  Food production takes energy. Electric cars need electricity.  We need these things now, not at some time a few decades down the line. Shale gas is a transition fuel with a clean burn.  We need to bridge the gap.  We need it to close the national debt before we become another Greece..  We need the jobs.  We need to use shale to re-build an economy which currently is superficially still OK but is actually sliding downwards quite quickly.  We need to use shale gas as a step in generating a genuinely sustainable economy and environment.  We need to all pull in the same direction to do that.  Would that we had leadership that could create that vision and lead us into it.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 24 Dec 17

 grid batteries – farming

Batteries are changing the way we will employ renewable energy sources.

The problem with solar and wind turbines is that they are never 24-7. To make matters worse, the human race tends to use a lot more power first thing in the morning and in early evening (at “peak”) than the rest of the day. Now we have the technology to produce batteries to take in power from the grid at off peak times and feed it back in during the peak demand – economically.

For farmers, as a rough guide, 1 acre = 30MW and typically sites will be 10-49 MW sites. As a very rough guide, 1 MW of battery would earn £2000 pa, index linked, for 20 years. So, if you have from half to one and half acres (allowing for access), give me an e-mail on bill@landresearchonline.com


Land, energy and urban wastes

The USAF cemetry at Maddingly, Cambridge UK. What kind of world are we handing on to our children?

Globally, we are on the edge of a renewable energy revolution. It is not that we did not have the technology, what is different is that the technology, bit by bit, is becoming economic.  This bodes well for the human race.  However, there is a problem in that much of the economically attractive solutions, especially solar panels, need land. There is a problem with land – they have stopped making it. So we need to use alternatives including never making a roof out of tiles or inactive sheet and, instead, making it of solar panels. We need the land to produce food, fibres and timber – but in a different way.  Instead of using mineral Nitrogen which costs at least 21,000 kWh per tonne of N to deliver, we need to feed those crops on urban wastes. It has been done and can be scaled up safely. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H63EQX0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Nest discussion on this blog; Farming off-grid

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, December 17

The real truth about shale gas

You can download a copy for free this Sunday, 8th October,  by clicking below on “Buy at Amazon”.

Solar farm up-date economic


Solar is on the edge of economic without government support. This is potentially an important source of dependable, long term income for landowners.

The cost of solar panels is coming down and “solar farms” are on the edge of becoming economic without government support.I f you are a land owner, you might be offered £750 to £1400 per acre in rent for 25 years, plus an RPI escalator, to cover a hundred acres or so with solar panels.  That is pension fund stuff. However, is it environmentally sustainable and does it matter anyway?

 It is almost certainly true that the energy put into making all the solar panels so far manufactured will not be recovered in the productive life of those panels.  If the energy put into manufacture, packaging, transport by sea (most are made in China), in road transport, in mounting on frameworks, in making the frameworks (all the same actions over again), and maintenance, and decommissioning, …  All of a sudden, it does not seem possible that “PV”, photovoltaics, or just “solar panels”, could possibly be genuinely environmentally sustainable.

There is at least some research which gives a useful guide. Much of that research suggests an energy payback period, on the panels themselves, of 2 to 10 years.  The US Department of Energy quotes in one of its published documents several pieces of research from all over the world where researchers of some academic standing looked at the question and showed a wide range of results but they were all presented by the Department as positive.  The summary of research indicated that crystalline modules were significantly better than a few years ago and their efficiency would improve still more.  The conclusions were also that thin-film technology was currently more efficient than crystalline and would continue to keep its lead over crystallines.  Further, as new technologies develop, this is very likely to increase efficiencies again.  For example, the sun emits a much wider range of energy wavelengths than just the visible spectrum.  New panel technologies will collect infrared and ultra violet and maybe wider.

Nevertheless, reading between the lines, most of the quoted research appeared to be limited to the energy cost of manufacture of the panels themselves. There was limited or no indication that the total energy cost of a working installation had been taken into account. One of the bits of research even admitted that they had not even included the thin frame that surrounds the panel before putting into its packaging. So, there is some doubt about whether the research figures cover all the energy costs, not just of manufacture, but also of packaging, shipping, land transport, installation, site infrastructure, site works, supporting frame construction, commissioning, maintenance, cleaning and failures.


Maybe not.  It depends on where you sit. If it makes money for everyone involved; maybe that is good enough?  Only the taxpayer might not agree.  One thing “renewable” (but not necessarily sustainable) might be seen to deliver is less reliance in future on imported oil, gas and electricity. (Yes, we import significant amounts of electricity from France.)  There is another plus.  Whatever the energy cost, it is paid for at today’s cost.  The energy produced over the life of the installation pays back at tomorrow’s energy values; it is an investment in tomorrow.

What it comes down to is, as usual, money.  If a detailed financial study says it makes cash, then read the small print, cover the “what ifs” over the next 25 years and go ahead.  However, tone down the environmental benefit; you might be on thin film, sorry, ice.



Je suis le Roi de la mairde


A normal pond? Not quire – note the white colouration of the water, This is spent drilling fluid from drilling through chalk to bring cables off the North Sea wind farms.



The attached below link is to the Dutch drilling company, VSH website. The pictures (scroll down a bit) are of the drilling operation bringing cables off the North Sea wind farms to the site at Holt in North Norfolk.  This brings renewable energy to the UK consumers.  What Land Research does is to take the cuttings and spent fluids from such operations and re-use them, usually on agricultural land to replace the 2.5 million tonnes of top soil which the UK loses by wind and rain erosion, down into the sea, every year. Renewable energy with zero waste from such construction operations.


Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 22 June 17


Importing food, doctors and nurses is theft.

George Bernard Shaw had an ageless wisdom which relates to farming food and producing our own shale gas.

George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying; “We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it, than to consume wealth without producing it.”

The same goes for food and, for that matter, doctors, nurses, shale gas and a lot more. Why not?  Simply that it is theft from elsewhere where at least the doctors and nurses may be needed more and if we do not control the supply, there is no security.   We need to swing back to make it in Britain, wherever possible and now.

Land Research    21 March 2017