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Where does our energy come from?

Where does our energy come from? What are the major problems around producing and transporting energy? Read on to find out.
© sourced from The Open University under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence
Please read the article by our geographer Simon Gosling in the PDF below. In this article, Simon introduces the sources of our energy and highlights some of the major issues around their production and transport. His article covers the following:

Fossil or ‘stock’ fuels: what are they, how are they produced and exploited, where are they, what is their impact upon the environment and upon human/animal health?

Nuclear power: what contribution is nuclear power making to work energy supplies, how efficiently and safely can it be produced.

Renewable energy sources: what are ‘renewables, are they cost-efficient, what are the constraints upon their use and how can these constraints be reduced.

In exploring all categories of energy, Simon looks at their historic as well as modern and future use, helping us to understand how our patterns of energy use have impacted upon current issues. He also reminds us of the geopolitics of energy, citing the major differences in energy consumption around the world.

Simon argues that in creating a sustainable energy future for humanity during the coming decades, it will be necessary:

  1. to implement greatly improved technologies for harnessing the fossil and nuclear fuels, to ensure that their use, if continued, creates much lower environmental and social impact;

  2. to develop and deploy our renewable energy sources on a much wider scale; and

  3. to make major improvements in the efficiency of energy conversion, distribution and use.

Think about: Are you conscious of how your energy is produced and supplied to you? Are you able to make different choices relating to your energy use? If so, what might you change?

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