Non-Renewable and Renewable Solutions to Australias Future Electrical Energy Needs

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Energy Use In Australia

Non-Renewable and Renewable Solutions to Australia’s Future Electrical Energy Needs

Graph 1: Predicted population growth of Australia by the year 2050 (Larsen, 2010)

With Australia’s population to likely double in size by 2050 and lifestyles to become further dependent on affordable energy, our electrical energy needs will no doubt increase. As current non-renewable sources diminish, we will have to turn to other sources-both renewable and non-renewable- if we are to secure Australia’s electrical energy future. This will require us to reduce our green house emissions and develop scientific solutions to solve this energy puzzle.

Energy Use In Australia

As Australia’s population continues to rapidly increase and will most probably be around 42 million by the year 2050, the future of our accessibility to current electrical energy sources will be threatened.  In the future, the demand for electrical energy is undoubtedly going to increase with the International Energy Agency predicting that global energy demand will grow by around 40% by 2035 (Australian Government, 2012). However, non-renewable resources for electrical energy will slowly diminish, affecting all aspects of our daily lives and many of our day-to-day activities. Electricity is fundamentally important to how Australians live today. Electricity runs almost every appliance in homes and businesses, it provides light and warmth and in many homes it also provides the power to cook and heat water- all of which rely on our current non-renewable sources of electricity. If this problem is not addressed, millions of Australians will be affected, in addition to businesses, as costs for basic electricity will rise and our methods to extract electricity from non-renewable resources will also affect the environment, as the emission of greenhouse gases will continue to grow. For us to solve the problem of electricity going into the future, we will have to find alternate sourced of electricity that can address the issue involving the diminishment of current non-renewable sources. Some energy sources such as solar, nuclear and natural gas would be able to address this problem, as they release less greenhouse gases than current sources such as coal and are easily accessible to us. Currently, approximately 70% (figure 1) of Australia’s electricity is produced from the slowly diminishing source; coal which currently can at most fulfill the requirements of around 25 million people-significantly lower than the projected 42 million. This suggested solution is based on reasonable success achieved with these sources of energy in other nation around the globe.

The Application Of Science To Address Australia’s Energy Issue

Australia’s electrical energy problems can be solved by using science to discover new means of producing energy as well as, finding scientific methods to make the conversion of sources into electricity more efficient. We can do this by using induced nuclear fission in a nuclear power plant to replace the current burning of coal and gas to get our electricity. Nuclear power plants use the same main concept as coal and gas power plants-that is to convert water into high-pressured steam, which then powers turbines to produce electricity. However, the main difference is that instead of using coal or gas as fuel to heat up the water, nuclear power plants use enriched uranium-235, which is one of the few sources that undergo the process of nuclear fission. Nuclear fission is a natural process and occurs when one atom splits into two and releases huge amounts of energy (Lamb, 2012). As coal produces approximately (figure1) of Australia’s current electricity, replacing this with nuclear energy-which is scientifically proven to convert uranium into electricity more efficiently-will help to solve this problem. Furthermore, nuclear power plants produce no controlled air pollutants, such as sulfur, particulates or greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy is also the most eco-efficient of all renewable resources as it produces the most electricity relative to its environmental impact, thus making it an ideal solution for this issue. It also, unlike solar energy, can be harnessed throughout the night, as it does not rely on the sun but rather, large amounts of uranium that are found in the earth.  Another reason for Australia to implement this solution is that it is already a tried and tested concept around the globe. (UNISYS, 2011)

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Implementation Of Nuclear Power Plants

Scientists and the main electrical companies such as Western Power can implement the use of nuclear energy in Australia. They can slowly move away from mining and burning coal over the next few years, whilst at the same time, installing a nuclear power plant in a region where there is high quantities of uranium-235- fortunately a number of these are in Australia (figure 4). Installing the nuclear power plant in a uranium-enriched region will further help to reach the goal of reducing greenhouse emissions as the fuels used in transportation of uranium-both through pipes ...

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