Energy Security

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Definitions

Energy security- is the extent to which a country can achieve an affordable and reliable energy supply in order to meet national energy needs

Energy mix- refers to the different sources of energy that a country uses in meeting its energy needs

Non-renewable (worlds largest supplier of energy)- there is a finite supply which cannot be replaced once used e.g. coal and natural gas. They produce carbon dioxide when burned and contribute to global warming

Renewable- are capable of regeneration on a human timescale e.g. solar, wind, these do not produce carbon dioxide

Recyclable- with careful management can be replaced, poses a threat in regards to disposing of nuclear waste

Primary energy source- energy made from natural resources

Secondary energy source- primary energy which has been converted into a more convenient form

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Players

TNC's e.g. BP and state owned companies e.g. Gazprom are all responsible for the extraction and delivery of oil and gas

OPEC (a cartel) are responsible for a large percentage of the worlds global oil and gas production as well as determining the amount which is produced at one time and the price.

Pressure groups such as greenpeace who influence what the companies do and public opinion

Intergovermental organistions such as WTO who are concerned with the global trade of energy

Consumers include households and anyone else who buys these materials

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Countries

National governments:

Russia- surplus of natural gas (largest reserves in the world) and coal, GAZPROM owns a third of the worlds gas reserves and supplies a number of east-European countries.

Europe- high potential e.g. tidal power in the UK but too costly to pursue. Reliant on imports of fossil fuels from east Europe meaning high insecurity

Middle East- e.g. Saudi Arabia have huge oil reserves

North America- opportunity to exploit sensitive Arctic areas e.g. ANWR as well as fracking which is improving energy secuirty but overall they consume more than they produce within the country. Reliant on NAFTA and canadian oil imports

Africa- energy poverty, exploited

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Demand for energy

The global demand for energy is expected to grow by nearly 50% by 2030.

There are 3 'energy worlds' in which every country lies:

Energy-rich countries e.g. Saudi Arabia who have vast surpluses of fuel

Energy-poor countries e.g. the UK where demand far exceeds internal supplies

Energy-neutral countries e.g. Brazil where demand and supply are balanced

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How to achieve energy security

  • Self-sufficiency - meeting as much of the energy demand through domestic sources, this means stronger control over supplies and decreased geopolitical tension with other countries, recent developments in the USA involving fracking are improving security.
  • Energy mix- a mix of energy sources including renewable and non-renewable improves energy security e.g. California who improved their energy mix and by 2010, 20% of their energy came from in-state sources.FRACKING
  • Reducing demand- the general demand for energy can be easily reduced through a number of energy saving measures
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Why is energy insecurity increasing

Physical factors-

  • Climate change (increase in global warming) can increase energy consumption
  • Availability, geological variations
  • Natural hazards

Human factors-

  • The worlds demand is growing with population increase and is outstripping supplies
  • Disruption of energy pathways- energy pathways are routes along which energy sources are transported from producer to consumer. Can be disrupted through political corruption (Ukraine crisis, cut gas supply to EU by 40%), natural disasters and terrorism. The risk is greatest at choke points e.g. The Persian Gulf where vast amounts of energy go through a small area
  • Political corruption from major players who control energy supply e.g. Edison Energy during the blackouts of California in 2001
  • Exploitation of costly energy resources
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Global energy uncertainties about the future

  • Rate of population growth is increasing and it is hard to predict future energy demand
  • Rising living standards and economic development- BRIC's
  • Growing opposition to the use of fossil fuels
  • Introduction of new energy technologies e.g. nuclear
  • Discovery of new oil and gas reserves e.g. ANWR
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Meeting future energy needs

The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement about the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions,although it doesnt necessarily help meet energy needs it promotes the use of renewable sources.

It is also argued we must continue to use fossil fuels and explore new reserves of oil and gas

5 R's:

Reduce- overall energy consumption and improve energy efficiency in the at home and in the industry e.g. replace petrol and diesel engines with hybrids

Reject- environmentally damaging energy sources

Research- and develop more sustainable and affordable energy sources i.e tidal power, biofuels

Recycle- waste and convert it

Reaffirm- that nuclear power is vital in bridging the gap between demand and supply

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Why energy supply differs

1) Physical:
- Deposits of fossil fuels are only found in a limited number of places
-Solar power needs a large number of days a year with strong sunlight
 -Large power stations require flat land and stable foundations
2) Economic
 -Onshore deposits of oil and gas are cheaper to develop then offshore deposits
 -In poor countries foreign direct investment is essential to develop energy resources
 -Most accessible and low cost deposits of fossil fuels are developed first
3) Political
 -Countries wanting to develop nuclear power need to gain permission from the International Atomic Energy Agency
 International agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol can influence energy decisions

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