Unit 3: Characteristics of Energy Resources

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  • Characteristics of Energy Resources
    • Renewable vs Non-Renewable
    • Energy Density
      • Nuclear and fossil fuels have a high energy density
      • Solar and HEP have a low energy density
      • Fuel with a high energy density needs smaller quantities so is cheaper
    • Intermittency
      • Some renewable resources are not constantly available
      • Intermittent resources cannot usually meet demands
    • Reliability
      • Amount available can be predicted
    • Storage
      • Needed if supply and demand don't match
      • Intermittent supplies may need storage
    • Availability
      • Not always easy to estimate
    • Geographical and Location Factors
      • Affect ability to exploit resources e.g. topography, climate
    • Technological Development
      • Designing technology is a slow process
    • Environmental Impacts
      • Aesthetics
      • Pollution
      • Habitat damage
    • Politics and Trade Issues
      • Governments may have policies
      • Competition for supplies
    • Economic Issues
      • Not easy to assess - some costs aren't measured
      • Resources become cheaper with use
      • Pollution causes unaccounted costs
      • Development costs higher than sale economies = expensive
    • Applicability to Certain Uses
      • Difficult to adapt to energy resources with different characteristics

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