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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Can renewable energy sources power the world?

4 Energy supply and demand: world and UK

The energy used by a final consumer is usually the result of a series of energy conversions. For example, as you can see from Figure 2, energy from burning coal may be converted in a power station to electricity, which is then distributed to households and used for, say, lighting.

Figure 2 An example of primary, delivered and useful energy

The energy released when the coal is burned is called the primary energy required for that use. The amount of electricity reaching the consumer, after conversion losses in the power station and transmission losses in the electricity grid, is the delivered energy (sometimes called final energy). After some losses in the local wires and light bulb, a quantity called the useful energy emerges as light.

Let’s now have a brief look at the world’s energy supplies.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371