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Non-nuclear energy

Energy Supply and Demand

Fission and radiation protection
Fusion
   

Energy provides us with heat and electricity daily. It powers our industry, transport and modern way of life.

Why do we need energy?

City at night
We use it constantly at home, at work and for leisure. Energy maintains our standard of living and economy. Nowadays we take it for granted that energy is available whenever we want it.
But once we only had candles... they were used to light our homes before the industrial revolution. Wood or coal fires provided heat for cooking food and for keeping us warm. Walking was then the only form of transport for most people.
Since then, a vast array of energy devices and systems has been developed. These transform energy from sources provided by nature (coal, oil, gas, wind, sun and nuclear fuels) into other forms that we can use. As the population grows so do our energy demands.

We use energy daily to provide heat and electricity:

  • in our homes for lighting, domestic appliances, televisions, computers, etc.;
  • in factories to power the manufacture of the products we use everyday; and
  • in cars, trucks, ships and aeroplanes to transport people and goods.

Energy demand will double

By the year 2050, world-wide energy demand is projected by the World Energy Council to be at least double its present level.

At the same time, we can expect further economic growth and rising living standards.

Projected growth in world population and energy consumption

The most reliable predictions indicate that by 2050, the world's population will have nearly doubled from its present level. It will rise from around 6 billion to about 10 billion people. Most of this growth, and much of the increase in energy consumption, will occur in developing countries.

Future directions

Energy supply must be sustainable and diverse. And energy needs to be used more efficiently.

A sustainable energy supply, both in the short- and the long-term, is needed for promoting both economic development and people's quality of life, as well as protecting the environment.
We also need a greater diversification of energy resources - if we are largely dependent on one fuel source, we risk price rises and supply disruptions.
Energy is a precious resource which must be conserved. Improved energy efficiency, therefore, in our homes, factories and transport needs to be strongly encouraged.

Protecting the environment

Damage to the environment is reason enough to promote alternative environmentally friendly energy sources.

Much of the global-scale environmental degradation we see today is due to the adverse effects of energy production and use. The burning of fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases. There is a growing concern about global warming, that these gases can cause.
At present, fossil fuels produce most of our energy. Some energy comes from nuclear power stations and a small amount from renewable sources. Nuclear power and renewables do not produce greenhouse gases.

External energy supplies

If present trends continue, increasing demand will cause rising imports of energy.

Future energy consumption
An increased dependence on energy imports means that the cost and supply of a vital resource for our economy slips further and further out of our control. Moreover, we may become more exposed to the results of political instability in the regions where fossil fuels are produced.

Consequences of energy dependence

The consequences are likely to be higher energy prices.

There is also likely to be more uncertainty about supplies and greater environmental risk as less easily accessible reserves of fossil fuels are exploited. Future increases in energy demand will exert even greater pressure on our finite reserves.

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