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How energy secure are we in the UK?

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Introduction

´╗┐By Lily Donnelly Miss Totty Year 13 Geography How energy secure are we in the UK? (15 marks) The question discusses the extent that the UK?s energy supplies can meet the requirements of people and industries, both now and in the future, in terms of reliability and affordability. To be energy secure means to have reliable and durable supplies of energy, which are affordable. It can also mean to have self-sufficiency of energy supplies within a country, which are not hindered by attack or natural disaster. There should be no interruptions to supplies of energy for end users in an energy secure country. Assessing the energy security of the UK would require looking at the several types of energy used, the source of these supplies, whether the UK is more energy reliant or dependent and finally potential future changes to supply and demand of energy. A readily available supply of energy is vital for the UK?s economic growth. The more rapidly the country economically develops, the higher the consumption of energy (for transportation and power generation purposes). From 1965 to 2006, the UK?s population grew from 54,350,000 to 60,245,000. ...read more.

Middle

Also, the sheer level of oil consumption, relative to the supply left in the world, causes concern over the country?s energy security. On average, each person in the UK uses 10 kilograms of oil equivalent energy every day. This implies energy insecurity, as the country is not saving fuel for future generations. Renewable energy production has increased in recent years due to new UK and EU targets for reductions of carbon emissions. However this is a small amount ? in 2011 only 9.4% of electricity generated in the UK was provided by renewable energy sources. This percentage needs to be largely increased for the UK to be energy secure, because a diversification in energy types would ensure self-sufficiency for the UK when oil and gas supplies run out. Hydroelectric power used to be the largest producer of renewable energy in the UK, but this has now been surpassed by wind power schemes. Solar power and wave power are also relied on in the UK. It is essential to look at where the energy supply in the UK comes from and the risks that this may have on energy security. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the future, UK fossil fuel supplies will run out, and we need to have a supply of energy that is still able to meet our needs. At the moment, the percentage of renewable energy is too low to do so ? making the country energy insecure for the future. Relying too heavily on imported energy can cause political disputes, such as the Russia and Ukraine disagreement over gas prices in 2006. In conclusion, the UK is partially energy secure, because presently, we have access to enough supplies to meet our demand. Also, the UK has proven to survive through short-term shocks such as sharp rises in fossil fuel prices and accidental damage. The UK is not fully energy secure though. The supply system is not resilient enough to survive inevitable long-term changes such as the decline in global reserves of gas and oil, the increasing prices or the need to decarbonise the energy system. The UK has become too reliant on international supplies, as their own run out. And relying on international supplies means potential risks to energy security. For the UK to be more energy secure, we must invest in more renewable energy supplies, such as installing more wind farms. This will rebuild the country?s own reliable supply, and decrease dependence on imports. ...read more.

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