What factors affect energy availability?

There is a range of factors that affect the availability of energy, including physical factors, cost of exploitation and production, technology and political factors.

Physical factors

Geology affects the availability of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal. The formation of fossil fuels involves the storage of organic matter in sediments or sedimentary rocks. Therefore, regions with predominantly sedimentary geology are likely to have an availability of fossil fuels.

Climate and relief can also affect the extraction of fossil fuels. Mountainous areas and regions with extreme climates present challenges for the extraction of fossil fuels and their transportation. Examples of such areas include Alaska and Siberia.

Considerable reserves of fossil fuels are found beneath deep and dangerous oceans and seas. This presents significant challenges in extracting fossil fuels.

Physical factors present some opportunities for renewable energy. For example, upland regions are ideally suited for the construction of dams and reservoirs to support the production of hydro-electric power. Areas with reliable sunshine can be used to generate solar energy. Finally, windy locations can be used to create electricity using turbines.

Cost of exploitation and production

As non-renewable energy resources become depleted, they become increasingly expensive to extract. The cost of exploitation often demands on supply and demand. As demand increases, prices rise, and extraction becomes more viable.

Where the costs of energy production are low, energy is cheap, and demand can grow. The opposite can also occur.


Developments in technology have enabled new energy resources to be exploited, for example, fracking.

There has also been a considerable growth in renewable energy as technology has made it more economically viable and productive.

Political factors

Conflicts have occurred as the result of energy insecurity, for example, in the Middle East. Flows of energy can be interrupted as the result of disputes. An example of this is Libya where oil exports reduced due to conflict.

To maintain energy supply, HICs actively maintain good relationships with foreign countries.

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