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Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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Week 1: Introducing renewable energy

Introduction

In this first week you will look at the environmental concerns that have caused the rise in interest in renewable energy. You will also explore the wide variety of renewable energy sources, along with some energy concepts and definitions to help you understand the subject.

You will investigate the Sun, which powers most of the renewable energy sources, then move on to discuss energy supply and demand, in the world and the UK, and then look briefly at the problem of climate change.

Current European and UK targets for increasing the share of renewables in coming decades will also be covered.

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By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • explain the concept of sustainability and how this relates to energy systems and primary energy sources
  • understand the key role of the sun as the main source of renewable energy
  • understand the concepts of energy, power, the difference between them and the essential units used to describe them.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.