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Future energy demand and supply

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When you consider that the global annual consumption of primary energy increased more than ten-fold during the 20th Century, the importance of planning future energy supply becomes clear. Future energy demand and supply is a free course that offers an introduction to how this is being undertaken.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • summarise the difficulties of forecasting energy demand
  • assess the importance of political and economic issues, as well as geological and environmental factors, in determining trends in energy use
  • outline some of the contrasting scenarios for energy supply in the twenty-first century, and discuss evolving technologies that could play a part in future energy systems
  • appreciate the environmental consequences of society’s current energy use, and the challenges of developing sustainable energy supply.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 13 hours
  • Updated Tuesday 22nd March 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Environmental Science
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Future energy demand and supply

Introduction

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Human demand for energy has only quite recently exceeded the relatively modest amounts available locally: wind and water power, wood or dung for heat. Since the mid-19th century, expansion in the large-scale exploitation of cheap, plentiful, concentrated energy sources — the fossil fuels — has outstripped global population growth (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Population growth and global primary energy consumption from 1850 to 2000.

When you consider that the global annual consumption of primary energy increased more than ten-fold during the 20th century, the importance of planning future energy supply becomes clear. This final chapter examines how future global energy consumption might develop from its current level, and summarises the main influences on that development, including economic, environmental and technological factors.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in Science [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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