Unit 3 - Energy

  • Created by: Tomdell
  • Created on: 05-02-17 20:56

Pros and cons of Biofuel


  • Has the potential to be significantly cheaper than fossil fuels
  • Easily renewable as new crops are grown and waste material is collected
  • Can be produced localy, decreasing national dependency on foreign energy
  • Manufacturing plants provide hunderes if not thousands of jobs
  • Production will increase agricultural demand and economicaly stimulate agricultural economy
  • Biofuel produces less carbon output and fewer toxins


  • Biofuels have a lower energy output than traditional fuels
  • Food shortages may be casued by biofuel useage
  • Refining biofuels and building manufacturing plants requires high initial investment
  • As crop demand grows for biofuel production it could food prices
  • massive quantities of water are required wich could strain local and regional water resources
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Pros and cons of Geothermal


  • The carbon footprint is minimal, development helps fight against global warming
  • Reservoirs come from natural sources and are naturally replenished
  • Geothermal energy is a resource that can sustain its own consumption rate
  • We can predict the power output of a Geothermal power plant with remarkable accuracy
  • Geothermal power plants are excellent for meeting energy demands
  • Actual power output is close to total capacity


  • Greenhouse gas emissions tend to be higher near Geothermal power plants
  • Geothermal power plants are associated with sulphur dioxide and silica
  • Reservoirs can contain traces of toxic heavy metals
  • Construction of Geothermal power plants can affect the stability of land
  • Commercial Geothermal power projects are expensive, Between $2-7 million
  • Most Geothermal resources cannot be utilized in a cost-effectively with current technology
  • Ground source heat pumps cost $3,000-$10,000 with a payback time of 10-20 years
  • Geothermal reservoirs are hard to find
  • Geothermal energy transportation over long distances by hot water results in energy loss
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Pros and cons of Hydroelectric


  • Hydroelectric energy is renewable
  • Generating electricity does not pollute
  • There are very little fluctuations of the electric power produced
  • When consumption is low water is preserved for high consumption periods
  • Hydroelectricity is safe as there is no fuel involved


  • Hydroelectric power plants affect fish as habitats are shaped by factors such as water
  • Draining dams would be devistating to the fish
  • Hydroelectric power plants are expensive
  • Electricity generation and prices are related to the amount of water available
  • There is a limited number of sustainable reservoirs for hydroelectric power plants
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Pros and cons of Solar


  • Practically infinite energy source
  • Does not cause pollution
  • Net metering and feed-in-tariff schemes allow homeowner to "sell" excess electricity
  • US government offers a 30% tax cut to households that have solar pannels
  • Does not require a lot of maintenance
  • Inovations in nanotechnology and quantum physics has the potential to triple electrical output


  •  Intermittent energy source as sunlight is limited at certain times
  • Energy storage systems make solar power more sustainable but is expensive
  • Nitrogen trifluroide and sulphur hexafluride has been traced to the production of solar panels
  • Certain solar cells require materials that are expenive and rare
  • Low watt per square meter (W/m2)
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Pros and cons of Tidal


  • The gravitational fields from the sun, moon and Earth's rotation won't stop soon
  • Does not emit any climate change gases or take up a lot of space
  • High and low tide cycles make it easier to construct the system with the right dimensions
  • Water is 1000 times denser than air, can produce energy at low speeds
  • Tidal power plants have a long life so not as many need to be built so electricity is cheaper


  • Tidal barrages rely on changing water levels and have effects similar to hydroelectric dams
  • Tidal power plants needs to be constructed close to land which takes up space
  • It is projected that tidal power will not be commercially profitable until 2020
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Pros and cons of Wave


  • Harnessing wave energy comes without the emisions of harmful greenhouse gases
  • Energy source comes from the sun so will last for the forseable future
  • Energy density is around 30-40 KW per meter along the shore and 100 KW (20,000)
  • Wave energy plants can be put offshore where there is larger energy potential


  • Power farms onshore may cause conflict with tourism and locals
  • Power plants cannotbe developed without sufficient funding from governments
  • Many parts that are involved in wave power generation require regular maintenence
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Pros and cons of Wind


  • Harnessing wind energy does not pollute as much as fossil fuels, coal and nuclear
  • The potential of wind power is incredible, worldwide potential is over 400 TW
  • The largest wind turbines can supply 600 U.S. homes
  • Wind turbines can`t be placed close to each other but land in-between is useable
  • The capacity is growing at a rate of 25% per year helping to lower costs
  • Prices have decreased 80% since 1980 thanks to technological advancements
  • The operational costs associated with wind power are low
  • Residential turbines yield energy savings and protect homes from power outages


  • Wind is unpredictable and therefore not well suited as a base energy source
  • No cost-effective way of storing wind energy
  • Wind turbines have to be used in tandem with other sources to meet demand
  • Wind turbines rely on financial incentives to give them a chance
  • Noise is a problem and building turbines in urban areas should be avoided
  • Some people don’t like how wind turbines look
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Pros and cons of Oil


  • Large reserves of Oil
  • Cheap in comparison to other fossil fuels and renewables
  • Easy to transport
  • Economies are set up to use oil as an essential part of the infrastructure


  • Carbon emissions
  • Unsustainable long term
  • Oil spills/Accident
  • Resource curse
  • Political influence of energy companies  
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Coal Stats

  • China produces 3,874 million tonnes of coal
  • USA produces 906 million tonnes of coal
  • Australia produces 644 million tonnes of coal
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Threats to energy security

  • Rapid increase in prices
  • Instability form suppliers
  • Manipulation of supplies
  • Attack on infrastructure
  • Competition from expanding economies
  • Environmental legislation adds to the costs
  • Natural disasters
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Improvements to energy security

  • Greater energy efficiency
  • Greater energy self-sufficiency
  • Decentralization of energy production
  • Short term stockpiles (90 days)
  • Alternative energy sources 
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Achieving energy security

  • Control over supplies
  • Control over prices
  • Having a variety of energy sources to call on
  • Political stability in supply and demand regions
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Reasons for increased energy deman

  • BRICS and MINTS are growing in wealth so are reaching high mass consumption
  • Population Rise in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa creates a premium
  • Fossil Fuels decreased in price over the last decade
  • Americanisation promoting the overconsuming American lifestyle
  • Meat consumption is a huge producer of pollution, especially over Christmas
  • Fossil Fuel companies receives subsidies making them cheaper
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Global policies/agreements

Cop 21

  • Aims to have all 195 signee countries achieve 0 carbon emissions by the year 2100. However, there is no ramifications if a country does not achieve this goal

CRC energy efficiency scheme

  • Monitors and reports on a country’s global emissions and comparing this to their cop 21 pledges

 Capital allowances on energy-efficient items

  • You can claim allowances when you buy energy efficient, or low/zero carbon technology for your business. This reduces the amount of tax you pay. 
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Government policy – UK

The department of energy & climate change (DECC) works to make sure the UK has secure, clean, affordable energy supplies and promote international action to mitigate climate change. Its aims are: consultation on ending unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025, have new gas power stations be a priority, commitment to offshore wind support to secure low-carbon, affordable supplies and move towards a smarter energy system.

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Government policy – USA

DOE is committed to energy solutions that make best use of our domestic energy resources and help the nation achieve an approximately 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, and further reductions in the post-2020 period. We will accelerate innovation through development of technologies that make energy cleaner and more efficient. The USA has six key pledges: improve energy productivity by increasing efficiency, advance options for diverse energy resources and conversion devices for power, leverage increased private sector financing for deployment of “all of the above” energy technologies, accelerate development and deployment of new transportation system technologies to diversify fuel sources, increase efficiency and reduce emissions, support environmentally responsible development, delivery and use of domestic petroleum and natural gas and contribute to international efforts to address global climate change

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Government policy – China

China is unrivalled its 13th five-year plan for economic and social development (2016-2020), which contains a set of climate and energy related targets including and energy consumption cap and a 15% goal for the share of non-fossil-based energy in the country’s primary energy mix.

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Key Pipelines

ESPO Pipeline

  • Start: Russia
  • Delivery: China (Japan & South Korea)
  • What will it carry: Oil
  • Completion date: 2014

Keystone Pipeline

  • Start: Alberta, Canada
  • Delivery: Illinois and Oklahoma
  • What it will carry: Oil
  • Completion date: 2009 (extension: 2012)
  • Impacts: Lessens the dependency on Non-American oil

 Trans Adriatic Pipeline

  • Completion date: 2018
  • Impacts: Europe becomes less dependent on Russian oil

 Nord Stream

  • Start: Russia
  • Delivery: Germany
  • Completion date: 2011
  • Impacts: Signifies a growing energy relationship between Germany and Russia
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Key Players + Roles

  • TNCs (Exxon Mobil) - Sell oil to the consumers in order to make a profit for the people tht own them
  • NGOs (Greenpeace) - Promote the usage of renewables
  • NOC (National Oil Company) - Sell oil to make a profit for the countries that own them
  • Suppliers (General electric) - Provide electricity and gas to households for money
  • Media - Powerful in the perception of certain companies or individuals that can affect how consumers spend their money
  • GECF (Gas Exporting Countries Forum) - A collection of countries that discuss and control the price of gas
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