Energy Supply

Discussion

Much of energy consumed to run industrial economies is derived from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. Extracting this energy produces greenhouse gases and so causes global warming.

Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, wave and hydro have a lower greenhouse intensity.

But the energy available from wind, biomass and hydro is limited. Solar energy is plentiful but solar panels are (currently) expensive to manufacture.

Nuclear power also has a low greenhouse intensity, but produces radioactive waste for which no safe, long-term storage has been developed.

Subtopics

Biomass Energy - Biomass energy, derived from sunlight via energy crops such as trees, grain crops, oil seed crops, and sugar cane, is renewable and (potentially) greenhouse neutral. However, biomass production competes against nature for land and water resources.

Geothermal Energy - Geothermal energy, extracted by pumping water through hot rocks underground and using the resulting steam to generate electricity, can replace more greenhouse-intensive energy such as electricity from brown coal.

Solar Energy - Sunlight is a renewable form of energy that is widely distributed. It can be collected and used, on site, to heat water, generate electricity, heat buildings and dry clothes.

Wave Power - Wave power is a renewable, low greenhouse intensity form of electricity derived from energy in ocean waves.

Wind Power - Energy in the wind can be captured and turned into electricity through wind turbines, then fed into the grid to power homes, offices, factories, etc. There are many windy places in Australia that offer good prospects for electricity generation.

Library

Clean Energy Future for Australia. WWF - How Australia can meet its electricity needs through a combination of wind, biomass, natural gas and greater energy efficiency.

Links

Australia

Alternative Technology Association

Australian Greenhouse Office - Renewable Energy

CSIRO - Renewable Energy

United States

Clean Energy States Alliance

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

2007.3.15