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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.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The present-day perspective
- 2 Forecasting: energy in the future
- 3 Environmental consequences of fossil fuel combustion
- 4 Prospects and possibilities for the world's energy future
- 5 Managing energy use in the future
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Future energy demand and supply
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).
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
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Environmental Science courses or view the range of currently available OU Environmental Science courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
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