Science, Maths & Technology
  • Activity
  • 15 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

Power My Postcode: Compare energy sources in your own backyard

Updated Saturday 31st August 2013

If you put a nuclear power station in your street, would you be able to power your town? How about solar panels? Bring the power debate closer to home.

Launch Power My Postcode Creative commons image Icon The Open University / mapping: Google under Creative-Commons license Launch Power My Postcode

There's a huge debate around how we can maintain our energy-hungry lifestyles - should we go after renewables, build more nuclear capacity, or keep digging up coal?

The trouble with the debate is it can be hard to know just how you can compare the output of a windfarm with a nuclear power station. Even if you know the numbers, it can be challenging to visualise just what they mean in terms of kettles you could boil or holes you could power-drill.

That's where Power My Postcode comes in - choose a power source, choose a neighbourhood, and see how many households you could plug into the generator.

In Power My Postcode, you'll discover:

  • how many households some of the main forms of energy can power;
  • the way energy from the sun, fossil fuels and nuclear is converted into electricity in our homes;
  • if you can put together a grid to keep the lights on for the whole nations
 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Energy resources: Nuclear energy Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Nature & Environment 

Energy resources: Nuclear energy

The transformation of radioactive uranium and, in some instances, thorium isotopes provides vastly more energy per unit mass of fuel than any other energy source, except nuclear fusion, and therein lies its greatest attraction. Energy resources: Nuclear energy is a free course that considers the advantages and limitations of generating this power and the environmental and security issues that the process raises.

Free course
14 hrs
Nuclear power - yes please? Creative commons image Icon JohnGreyTurner under CC-BY-NC-ND licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Nature & Environment 

Nuclear power - yes please?

Are we coming to terms with nuclear power - or is a push for reactors masking a need to reduce consumption?

Article
Environmentally friendly energy Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

Nature & Environment 

Environmentally friendly energy

An article about efficient energy use and environmentally friendly energy resources.

Article
Unclear about nuclear? free course icon Level 1 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Unclear about nuclear?

Young people (18+) who are interested in but unsure about entering the nuclear industry will find assistance in this free course, Unclear about nuclear? It will help develop their understanding of nuclear energy, improve their study and maths skills in a nuclear context and aid them in investigating further training (within and beyond the OU) or employment opportunities in the nuclear industry.

Free course
20 hrs
How can you use sand to store energy? Creative commons image Icon Łukasz Zabierowski under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

How can you use sand to store energy?

A new project is attempting to bring together two things the desert has in abundance - sand and sunshine - to generate power cleanly and efficiently.

Article
Energy resources: An introduction to energy resources Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Nature & Environment 

Energy resources: An introduction to energy resources

Energy resources are essential for any society, be it one dependent on subsistence farming or an industrialised country. There are many different sources of energy, some well-known such as coal or petroleum, others less so, such as tides or the heat inside the Earth. Is nuclear power a salvation or a nightmare? This free course, Energy resources: An introduction to energy resources, provides background information to each, so that you can assess them for yourself.

Free course
8 hrs
Energy resources: Wave energy Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Nature & Environment 

Energy resources: Wave energy

The energy carried by ocean waves derives from a proportion of the wind energy transferred to the ocean surface by frictional drag. So, ultimately it stems from the proportion of incoming solar energy that drives air movement. Just how much energy is carried by a single wave depends on the wind speed and the area of ocean surface that it crosses; wave height, wavelength, and therefore wave energy, are functions of the distance or fetch over which the wind blows. This free course, Energy resources: Wave energy, considers wave power as a source of useable energy and whether or not it can ever make any significant contribution to global energy supplies.

Free course
3 hrs
Energy resources: Tidal energy Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Nature & Environment 

Energy resources: Tidal energy

The rise and fall of ocean tides result from the combined gravitational pull on water by the Moon and, to a lesser extent, the Sun, which exerts a force on water directed towards the two astronomical bodies. These gravitational effects combine with centrifugal forces that result from the Earth and the Moon orbiting each other. All of which makes tidal change a complex process. Energy resources: Tidal energy, is a free course that considers the power of the ocean tides as a potential source of useable energy and whether or not it can ever make any significant contribution to global energy supplies.

Free course
2 hrs
Energy resources: Geothermal energy Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Nature & Environment 

Energy resources: Geothermal energy

Energy from sources other than fossil and nuclear fuels is, to a large extent, free of the concerns about environmental effects and renewability that characterise those two sources. Each alternative source supplies energy continually, whether or not we use it. This free course, Energy resources: Geothermal energy, considers one of these alternative sources, geothermal energy, derived from the interior heat of the Earth, and the potential for this alternative to supplant fossil and nuclear fuel to power social needs fast enough to avoid the likelihood of future global warming and other kinds of pollution.

Free course
4 hrs