Energy: Trends in Energy Resource Use

Energy Resources

  • There are various types of energy resources including non-renewable resources, like coal and natural oil, and renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and wave energy.
  • Non-renewable energy resources are finite and will eventually run out. They also cause environmental damage, for instance through greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming.
  • Renewable energy resources are infinite and do not run out. They generally cause less environmental damage, but can be less reliable due to their dependence on certain environmental factors (e.g. sunshine for solar power).

Non-Renewable Energy Use

  • Non-renewable resources, particularly fossil fuels, have historically been the most commonly used forms of energy due to their availability and high energy output.
  • As the name suggests, once these fossil fuels are used they cannot be replenished. We cannot sustain the energy demands of the global population with fossil fuels indefinitely.
  • Fossil fuels emit harmful greenhouse gases when burnt, contributing to climate change.

Renewable Energy Use

  • The use of renewable resources has been increasing in recent years as a result of improved technology and increased concern for the environment.
  • Unlike non-renewable resources, these resources can be used indefinitely as they rely on natural processes such as wind, sunlight, and wave currents that do not run out.
  • While these forms of energy are often less polluting, the infrastructure needed for their collection and transformation into electricity (e.g. wind turbines, solar panels) can have significant environmental impact.

Trends in Energy Resource Use

  • There’s a growing trend worldwide towards using more renewable energy resources and reducing reliance on non-renewable resources.
  • This is prompted by concerns over the environmental impact of non-renewable energy use, and the limited availability of these resources.
  • Technological advancement also plays a role, with new technology making renewable energy more efficient and cost-effective.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Energy Resources

  • Each energy resource comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Considering these is important in planning for a sustainable energy future.
  • Non-renewable resources, for example, are reliable and generate a lot of energy, but are finite and contribute to environmental damage.
  • Renewable resources are infinite and typically less damaging to the environment, but are less reliable and can require significant land use.

Energy Conservation and Efficiency

  • Reducing energy use and increasing energy efficiency are essential parts of a sustainable energy plan.
  • This includes steps such as improving insulation in homes to reduce heat loss, adopting energy-efficient appliances, and industrial processes.
  • Energy conservation measures not only help to reduce energy consumption but also help to reduce energy costs.