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Future Energy Prospects For The United Kingdom

1272 words - 5 pages

Energy is vital to the modern world powering every aspect of day-to-day life. It is needed to provide heat and light for our homes, to help us travel and to power our businesses. But as the United Kingdom's energy demands increase there is a growing concern that we cannot sustain these demands with the resources we currently have and that these resources are harmful to the environment. This essay will look at the future energy prospects for the UK, discussing energy sources and technologies, which must be considered to ensure the sustainability of the UK's growing energy consumption.Fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil are currently the world's leading provider of energy, providing 80% of the world's total energy generation. Fossil fuels have made large-scale industrial developments possible due to its ability to hold large amounts of energy in a relatively small volume, as well as its ease of distribution. These attributes have directly shaped the modern world by enabling the development of technologies, which provide heat, light and travel however there are major concerns with both the polluting effects fossil fuels have on the environment and also the future sustainability of these fuels.The combustion of coal produces large amounts of pollutants such as Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide and also particulates (soot), which can partly explain why its use has halved since 19801. However there are a large number of coal reserves sufficient enough to sustain its current demands for several hundreds of years.Oil is the worlds leading energy source largely due its convenience for the transportation sector. Oil also has the added advantage of producing less Carbon Dioxide per unit of energy released over coal. Natural Gas, once thought of as an inconvenience, is now one of the leading energy providing sources for heating and there is an increasing demand for its use in the generation of electricity. Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels producing significantly lower Carbon Dioxide levels per unit of energy released as well as being free from Sulphur Dioxide and particulates.However there are ever increasing concerns about the sustainability of gas and oil use. At current levels of production it is estimated that current oil reserves will last 41 years but reserves in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific will be exhausted in less than 20 years. Gas reserves have a somewhat longer sustainability life estimated at 67 years but as little as 40 years in Europe. These figures show that if the UK is to sustain its energy consumption with fossil fuels it will have to import a large majority of these fuels from other countries. This will be a significant loss to the UK, which gains a large proportion of its income from the export of fossil fuels.As energy consumption trends continue to increase it is plain to see that measures must be taken to ensure the UK can sustain its future energy needs. Currently there are methods of energy generation,...

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