Polish villages that have long relied on burning coal to generate power are set to move towards shale gas after coming under pressure to reduce carbon emissions, reports the Guardian.
Poland has a large reserve of the natural gas found in shale rock and the country is now looking to exploit an estimated 5.3 trillion cubic meters of this in order to move away from coal and towards “gas security” by 2035.
Though the country has indicated that it would need EU funding to pursue a campaign moving towards shale gas, one positive development would be to remove some dependence on Russia for natural gas in Europe.
The continent is currently reliant on Russia for a significant proportion of its natural gas. The country’s recent Nord gasline, which takes gas under the Baltic Sea, directly to Germany, proved that the country was willing to bypass those who tried to get in its way; Ukraine on this occassion.
After a near-gas-crisis in 2009, any move away from Russia’s grip on the energy supply would be welcomed, and according to the Wall Street Journal, that’s exactly what exploration into shale gas would allow.
However, the move does not come without controversy. To extract the gas, a controversial “fracking process” is used. Toxic substances, along with greenhouse gases can be released by the process.
It has also been suggested that overall, including the extraction process, the gas may be worse for the environment than coal.
However, Polish officials have brushed aside claims that shale gas could pose any danger and have made it clear the country will try to exploit its current resources.
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