Sustainable energy supplies
How can we move towards sustainable energy supplies?
A sustainable energy supply balances supply and demand by:
- developing renewable energy supplies
- conserving energy by reducing waste
- improving fuel efficiency
- the efficient use of fossil fuels
Through increasing our use of renewable energy and, reducing our use of fossil fuels, increasing fossil fuel efficiency and conservation we can reduce our carbon footprint.
A sustainable energy supply has the following characteristics:
- does not damage the natural environment
- involves and benefits local communities
- can be applied to both HICs and LICs.
- supports the local economy
What are conservation strategies for a sustainable future?
Designing homes and workplaces
The image below illustrates strategies for home energy conservation.
Many of the strategies above can be implemented in the workplace, but on a larger scale, including:
- closing doors when the heating is on
- turning off electrical equipment, such as computers, when they are not being used
- using low-energy lighting, such as LEDs
- regulating thermostats
Transport uses a significant amount of energy, through burning oil-based products. There are a number of ways to use energy more efficiently, including:
- using public transport, such as buses and trains, instead of the car
- using a bike
- buying hybrid or electric cars
- encouraging people to car share, including the introduction of car-sharing lanes on major roads
- reducing the use of air transport, particularly for short-haul flights
Reducing energy demand
There are a range of strategies that can be used to reduce energy demand. These include:
- financial incentives to encourage people to switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric or hybrid types
- incentivise energy efficiency by providing government grants or tax relief for insulating homes, installing renewable energy devices such as solar panels and fitting double glazing
- encouraging people to change their behaviour by promoting the benefits of reducing energy demand
- installation of smart-metres so people can track and adjust their energy use
Using technology to improve the efficiency of using fossil fuels
Technology is increasingly being used to reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiency. These include:
- the introduction of more efficient car designs
- the introduction of hybrid or electric cars
- carbon capture and storage
- combined heating and power being used to generate electricity and using the hot water by-product to heat homes
Use the images below to explore related GeoTopics.