PHOTO CAPTION: Homemade parabolic concentrator.

Cracking Makes More 'Cents' Than Fracking

Darwin Long looks at the economics of natural gas fracking compared to using solar energy to crack hydrogen from water.

Published: 03-Jan-2012

Natural gas fracking is a bad idea which should never be considered. As found by the EPA, it pollutes ground water and has also been blamed for earthquakes. In reality, there is no valid reason to even approach this kind of drilling because it’s less expensive to produce green energy and stay away from fossil fuels.

The cost of a producing a natural gas well is $3.9 million as of 2007. Rest assured that those costs went up in the last four years. The payback averages $22 million but it can take up to 50 years to collect. In addition, there are land leases and royalties that must be paid which are a minimum of 12.5% of the production. This leaves only $19.25 million per well for an average annual ROI of $385,000 or 9.8%. Just a bit over 10 years to break even assuming $5 per 1000 cubic feet of gas.

In February 2009, Popular Mechanics reported that solar power dropped to $1 per watt. With fossil fuel power plant construction costs at $1300.00 per kilowatt, this makes green electricity less expensive than fossil fuels in construction alone, but even better, there is no fuel cost for green production.


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