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Energy Resources

by | Mar 9, 2022 | Renewable Energy

What is Energy?

Energy is the force or capacity used to do work and is required by every form of life on earth, and resources of energy are something that can provide energy in the form of heat, light, and electricity to move objects and power life. Every living entity is a form of energy transferred to the successive trophic level when consumed in an ecosystem. According to the second law of thermodynamic energy just transformed, it is neither created nor destroyed.

Energy Resources: An Overview

Energy resources are the sources or the reservoir of energy which provide energy that can be used for various purposes like generating electricity, heating, cooking, and manufacturing. For example, solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, ocean energy, hydropower, fossil fuel (coal, petrol, natural gas), and nuclear power energy are all energy resources. Energy resources are divided into conventional and non-conventional, renewable and non-renewable energy resources. Renewable energy resources cannot extinguish, and non-renewable energy resources are extinguished or present in limited amounts, and these are not sustainable energy sources and pollute the environment.

Classification of Energy Resources

Conventional Energy Resources:

These energy resources are exhaustible and cannot renew in humans’ time scale. Their consumption is high and increasing day by day due to the population rise. They are commercially available for exploitation. For example- Fossil fuels ( coal, petroleum, natural gas) nuclear energy. These energy resources deplete continuously due to the production of electricity. Coal is majorly used to produce electricity, then hydropower and nuclear power. The usage of coal can cause pollution because of the emission of Fly ash from coal.

Non-Conventional Energy Resources:

These are non-polluting, sustainable energy resources that are continuously produced and are renewable in nature. This energy resource consumption is increased in the present time, and it is the future energy resource, for example- Wind energy, solar energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy, biogas, and biomass. Solar energy comes from the sun and is used to produce electricity and heat the water. Wind energy is harvested from the movement of air through wind turbines. Tidal energy is the energy is harvested from tide movement through the use of hydropower. Biogas and biomass energy are produced from organic matter that is produced by living beings and converted into usable fuels like methane, Ethane, and propane. The energy from the earth’s core is used to generate electricity.

Per Capita Energy Consumption

The per capita energy consumption is the average amount of energy used by the individual. The consumption of energy is high in developed countries compared to developing countries like India the 968 Kw, while in a developed country like Canada, per-person consumption was 13,098kw in 2018, according to the Statista report-2021 report. Energy consumption increases due to population growth because of increased infrastructure, medical facilities, changes in lifestyle, and technology use. According to the data of IEA from 1990 to 2008, the change is observed in the use of energy patterns with the population.

Decadal percentage in energy use vs. population growth ( source: Tverberg, 2012)

Decadal percentage in energy use vs population growth ( source: Tverberg, 2012)

The USA population accounts for 4.5% of the global and consumes about 20% of energy. Per capita consumption is 4 times that of Chinese and 17 times that of Indian consumption (WPB, 2016).

Energy Production and Consumption in India

Per capita electricity consumption in India was 1075kWh in 2015-16, and it is rising an average of 6% per year. India emerged as the third highest energy consumer after China and US in 2015. Around 70% of electricity is produced from Fossil fuels. The highest energy contribution for consumption from coal(54.5%) followed by crude oil(29.45%), natural gas (7.7%), hydroelectricity(5%) and nuclear energy( 1.26%).  Renewable energy use rose by 13.7% in 2015. India is the 6th largest renewable energy producer globally. A total of 1278907 GWh of electricity is generated from utilities and non-utilities during 2014-2015. The electricity generation accounted for by thermal power plants, hydropower plants, nuclear energy, wind power, solar power, and biomass is about 71%, 13.04%, 1.82%, 64.62%, 12.57%, and 11.46%, respectively.

Installed generation capacity of electricity in 2015

SourceCapacity ( GW)
Thermal188.90
Hydro41.27
Nuclear5.78
New and renewable

Solar

Small hydro

Biomass

Waste to energy

wind

35.77

4.88

4.18

4.45

0.13

25.09

Source: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

Current potential of renewable energy in India:

Current potential of renewable energy in India

World’s Energy Scenario

The exponential rise in population increases power consumption, which is majorly contributed by fossil fuels, leading to development and industrialization and changing human life quality. Initially, in the 19th century, majorly coal was used as an energy source and the Oil (in transport) and the during the last century, natural gas has been used. The consumption of such biomass-based fuel shows a negative effect on the environment. Due to their exhaustible nature and energy security, government incentives and policies promote renewable energy and Nuclear energy, which show the most negligible effect on the environment.

World energy consumption by fuel from 1800-2008

World energy consumption by fuel from 1800-2008 (Source: Vaclav Smil, 2010)

Per capita consumption of fuel

Per capita consumption of fuels (Source: Vaclav Smil, 2010)

Coal consumption is dominant in the Asia Pacific region accounting for 51% of energy production. Its consumption is highly increased in china along with other developing countries since the 2000s. It is predicted that coal consumption is barely growing in the next 25 years. The demand for such fuel decreases to beat air pollution (WEO, 2016).

Oil accounts for 32.9% of energy consumption, leading to world-leading fuel in 2015 (BP,2016). After the US, the Asia Pacific is the highest consumer of Oil. Its global demand to grow till 2040 due to the lack of alternatives used in aviation and petrochemicals. Natural gas is also the dominant energy resource in the future due to its eco-friendly and better availability. It is majorly used in North America and Europe. Its accounts for 23.8% of energy consumption throughout the world.

Renewable energy consumption is expected to grow in the future, and its cost will continue to decrease to protect the environment. Globally, a decade ago, renewable energy consumption increased from 0.8% to 2.8% in 2015. The hydropower plant and wind show a significant contribution. Globally, 6.8% of the energy is produced from the hydropower power plant, and others contribute 6.7%.

 

Author

  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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