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Golden Rules for Shale Gas

Adopting environment- and community-friendly rules is essential if operators don’t want to be shut down by regulation

1 min read
graphic illustration map of U.S.
Illustration: Emily Cooper

Illustration: Emily Cooper
Click on image to enlarge.

The discovery and exploitation of vast shale gas reserves has revolutionized the U.S. energy outlook and may soon do the same in parts of Eurasia and China. But the International Energy Agency (IEA), headquartered in Paris, believes the full potential of these reserves will be realized only if “golden rules” for drilling and operating wells are adopted. Otherwise, the industry is likely to incur the ire of citizens worried about environmental damage and could face crippling restrictions.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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