To explain why we do not need shale is quite a large topic. Here are the basics. Start with gas before moving to renewables.
BP Gas statistics for 2014
Britain produced 3500 thousand cubic feet per day (mmscfd)
Britain consumed 6500 mmscfd
Britain imported 1100 mmscfd in the form of LNG
Britain imported 2200 mmscfd through pipelines
79% from Norway
20% from Netherlands
1% from other sources
We also exported home grown Gas
North Sea Gas still has huge reserves (new seismic surveys the size of Britain underway at present)
North Sea Gas is 26p per therm.The landed price (all duties paid) of LNG last year was 37p per therm. European shale average 66p per therm. Imported pipeline gas is cheaper than LNG.
North Sea Gas is only in decline through the tax system. 60-80% production tax. Shale offered at 30%.
Shale could never replace LNG unless you want to tell the public to pay more. The logical solution is to lower offshore taxes and increase production and get the 40,000 unemployed offshore workers to join the 375,000 workers who make sure one of our greatest Industries remains just that.
Doing that would then see a decrease in import and an increase in export.
We have no issues with Gas supplies.
Current Government Stats
Around 25% renewables
The question is could we produce more, is it cost effective, and could the grid take more.
The answer to all is yes.
Denmark is on track for 50% renewables with much more in the future(mainly wind). The UK has double the wind speed of Denmark so no probs there. Solar is well suited to our climate. Tidal is in its infancy but holds the long term answers.
In the UK onshore wind is the cheapest, gas is next, Offshore wind is the dearest. However DONG Energy (largest wind company in world) have stated they can get Offshore Prices down to match gas prices by 2020. New machines are 8-10 MW, last generation 3MW.
(look up the Hornsea 1 project, Yorkshire Coast, to see numbers and stats. Good You tube Vid on it.
Grid could take 80% (there will always need to be gas back up of a small amount)
Wind is 24 hour predictable and operates an average of 50% of the time. You do need lots of them but at sea or in remote onshore locations.
More renewables means less demand for gas and North Sea needs tax reduction to maximise proven reserves and export more.
Nobodies light’s will be going out any time soon and no, Mr Putin does not have access to a big valve which would plunge the UK into darkness if he shut it.
I worked in construction at Sellafield in the 80s. I worked on the cladding of THORP (thermal oxide reprocessing plant). Still have night tremors thinking about the tape we used to seal joints to stop radiation getting out!
I now work for pepsico at Skelmersdale. We have a 2.5MW wind turbine on site. (unmissable from the M58).
It produced 30% of our electrical needs. We employ 600 people. It saves us money. Wind in Action.
All stats to back this up and lots more finer detail.