the energy situation in the UK

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the energy situation in the UK

- the uk is rapidly running out of reserves of fossil fuels, paticularly oil and gas. 

-in 2005, britain beame a net importer of natural gas and is expected to lose its self suffiency in oil in 2009.

- the coal industry also has considerable decline in recent decades. by 2020 britain will be imporing about three- quarters of its primary energy needs. 

oil and gas

the uk has already taken between half and three-quarters of the oil and gas reserves in its territorial waters. nthe remaining north sea reserves are remote fields and small.

gas imports will rise in he future as it is projected that gas will acount for an increasing sharee of electricty generation. the goverment is tring to encourage development in the north sea in the remaining reserves.

new techniques are being developed to extract more oil than previously possible from the north sea. by injecting carbon dioxide into an oil field from a mainland station it has been estimated that an extra 40 mil barrels of oil could be extracted. an example of this technique being used is the miller field in Scotland.

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the energy situation in the UK

nuclear power 

-until mid-2005 it seemed unlikely that the Uk would consider building a new generation of nuclear power plants.

- however with the falling north-sea energy production and other energy concerns, the goverment is faced with a difficult desicion of either allowing the industry to gradually become run down or to build new plants.

-however a major throwback is that it takes at least ten years to plan and build a nuclear reactor. also enviromental organisation are strong opposed to nuclear power (green peace).

-supporters argue that nuclear power is the only way to avoid electricty shortages and and meet climate change obligations at a reasonable cost. without the construction of new power plants, the share of nuclear generated electricty will decline from 23percent in 2005 to 7percent in 2020.  

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the energy situation in the UK

coal

- at the beggining of the 20th century coal mining was the countrys biggest employer.

-however at the end of march 2005 there were only 42 opencast sites and 8 major deep mines in britain, employing 9300 people. 

- coal has declined because it is the dirtiest an dmost inflexible of the fossil fuels, and virtually all of the accessible coal in britain has already been mined.

- although, the coal oindustry may be on a comeback with the development of 'clean coal technologies'. this new technology has developed forms of coal that burn with greater efficiency and capture coals pollutants before they are admitted into the atmosphere. these new more effecient power stations can operate at effienciency levels 20percent more efficient that regular coal stations. 

-exisiting coal power stations could be upgraded to use clean coal technology to support the growing energy for britian.  

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the energy situation in the UK

hydroeletric power 

-the Uk generates only about 0.8percent of its electricty from HEP. more large scale plants are located in the scottish highlands.  

-there are very few oppurtunites to increase large scake production of HEP in the uk a most commercially attrcative and environmentally acceptable sites are alread in use.#

-however, in july 2005 Scottish ministers approved plans to build ew HEP station underground at the side of the loch ness. the plan will be sufficient to meet the power needs of 37000 homes. 

- it has been estimated that if small scale HEP from all the streams and rivers in the Uk could be tapped, it would be possible to meet juust over 3percent of the total contrys electricity needs. 

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the energy situation in the UK

other renewable forms of energy

-in 2003, biomass used for heat and electricity generation accounted for 87 percent of renweable energy in the UK.

-when discussing other types of renewable energy, wid seems the one most appropriate in any significant quantity. e.g scroby sands case study 

other smaller scale types of renewable energy include

- a small geothermal power plant is in operation in southhampton. it provides heating and cooling systems for a number of domestic and commercial consumers.

-in 2003, the total capacity for for solar photovaltaics in the Uk are both in scotland. the total capacity amounts to 1.25 megawatts.

 

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