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Geography revision for January exams
Energy Security: access to reliable and affordable sources of energy. Countries with surplus energy (e.
g. Russia) are energy secure whereas those with an energy deficit (e.g. USA) suffer energy insecurity.
Energy Sources
Renewable Energy - Before industrial revolution, most energy sources were renewable such as water
wheels, windmills and wood (biomass). Today, they account for about 4% of the global energy supply.
Energy source is sustainable and regenerates naturally over human time scale. e.g. solar, wind, wave,
tidal, HEP.
CONCERNS/ISSUES: Distribution and availability, expensive compared with fossil fuels, low energy
densities, technology is expensive. Ruin landscape
BENEFITS: Does not release/produce carbon dioxide - doesn't contribute to global warming.
Non-Renewable Energy - Our dependence on fossil fuels only began a few 100 years ago. In 2007, 85%
of global energy consumption was from fossil fuels. E.g. Coal, oil, gas. Energy sources are
unsustainable and there is a finite stock - they will run out.
CONCERNS/ISSUES: Releases large amounts of carbon dioxide - global warming, pollution, expensive to
extract, disposal of radioactive material, geopolitics, peaking, security, safety?…read more

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· BENEFITS: generates a huge amount of energy, easy to find, cost effective, easy
· Recyclable Energy - reprocessed energy. Requires careful management. Today, accounts for
about 10% of the global energy supply. e.g. biomass, biofuels, nuclear power, HEP.
· CONCERNS/ISSUES: Low densities meaning limited potential for large-scale electricity
generation, large scale systems are expensive, using carbon sinks means releases of stored
carbon dioxide, social, political and environmental impacts, may not be economically viable,
disposal of nuclear waste
· BENEFITS: They reabsorb the carbon dioxide that they emit - potentially close to 'carbon
neutral'.…read more

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· Environmental Consequences:
· Coal: heavy & bulky to transport, greenhouse gas emissions.
· Oil & natural gas: New fields in environmentally sensitive areas e.g. Arctic. Large areas of land used, oil spill
dangers, gas leaks, major damage to vegetation and wildlife.
· Nuclear: Safety issues (explosion at Chernobyl & spread of radiation across Europe 1986). Nuclear waste
difficult to process and store.
· Hydro-electric power: Large areas of land flooded behind dams. Vegetation drowned - releases methane
and carbon dioxide. Silt deposits build up. Danger of dam collapse e.g. Sichuan in China
· Geothermal energy: large scale use generally limited to volcanic areas e.g. Iceland. Risks of volcanic
eruptions, earthquakes & sulphuric gases.
· Wind power: Visually unappealing in the landscape. Affect wildlife - particularly birds - can cause noise
pollution for local residents.
· Solar Energy: large areas of land needed to be covered with panels.
· Tidal Power: destroy wildlife habitats, both upstream and downstream.
· Biomass: could release greenhouse gases.
· CHP (combined heat and power): depends on type of fuel used. More efficient method of energy
production.…read more

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· Energy sources are used to generate electricity
· In the UK:
· most domestic and imported supplies of coal and natural gas and all of our nuclear power is
converted into electricity.
· Electricity is largest 'consumer' of primary energies. As a secondary energy - efficient, easy to
transport, clean. Downside - cannot be stored.
· UK total electricity has grown.
· Shift to gas since 1987 and decline in nuclear power since 1997 (due to closure of old power
stations and no replacements).
· Different energy sources used for different parts of economy. TRANSPORT - oil. DOMESTIC AND
INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY - gas and electricity.
· Global energy consumption rising.
· 2050 - demand and consumption expected to double due to population growth, economic
development (particularly industrialisation) and rising standards of living.…read more

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· The energy 'mix' of a country depends on:
· Physical factors - e.g. North Sea natural gas contributed to a 'dash for gas' in early 1990s.
· Public perception - e.g. 1950s & 60s - nuclear power was positive. After Chernobyl disaster in 1986,
public turned against nuclear power.
· Politics - e.g. fears over politics of gas supply from Russia meaning countries are choosing nuclear
power more often.
· Technology - e.g. solar panels energy conversion increased from 5% to 40% between 1970 and 2008
- increased viability.
· Economics - e.g. wind power becoming competitive with fossil fuels.
· Environment - e.g. concerns over global warming - moving towards renewables, UK generating
capacity increase from under 500 MW in 2001 to over 3000 MW by 2008.
· Availability: many parts of the world, modern energy not available or inaccessible due to lack of
necessary infrastructure.
· Affordability: Modern forms of energy may be more expensive than traditional sources & not use
· Cultural Preferences: Tradition slows the adoption of modern energy sources.…read more

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· Physical geography - coal, oil and gas beneath a country is an accident of millions of years of geological
processes. Energy sources are concentrated geographically and energy availability depends on factors
such as geology, physical geography, technology and costs of exploitation. Exhaustion of reserves or
disruption of supply lines by natural hazards e.g. earthquakes.
· Environmental - protests about environmental damage caused by exploitation of energy resources
· Economic - Sudden Rises in the cost of energy, or exhaustion of domestic supplies forcing increased
imports of higher-prices energy
· Geopolitical - Political instability in energy0producing regions, disputes or conflict over ownership of
energy resources, or disputes over energy transmission by pipelines or cables across countries.
· UK - rich reserves of coal, gas and oil. Large tidal ranges of up to 15 metres, some of Europe's strongest
winds and significant renewable resource potential. HOWEVER: low solar power potential.
· Tectonically active areas - high geothermal potential (e.g. Iceland).
· 2005 - 4 countries had 70% of global uranium production (used for nuclear power). Led by - Canada
(28%) and Australia (23%)
· 2025 - 60% of world oil supply will come from Middle East.
· 27% of all proven natural gas reserves are in Russia.…read more

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