France- Energy Mix

1973 Energy Mix

  • 40% coal
  • 17% oil
  • 19% gas
  • 5% nuclear
  • 6% HEP
  • 13% other renewables

2005 Energy Mix

  • 5% coal
  • 32% oil
  • 15% gas
  • 42% nuclear
  • 2% HEP
  • 4% other renewables

France imports 99% of its oil, largely from Norway and OPEC.

Coal was previously mined in the North East of France but  the difficulty of extracting new coal and the expense of accessing it caused the closure of the remaining coal mines at the beginning of the 21st century. The oil crisis of 1973 drove the creation of 59 nuclear power stations.

The need to comply to greenhouse gas emission regulations has led to a resurgence in interest in nuclear power, largely in replacing, not removing, old plants. Nearly 60,000 people work in the nuclear power plants. Their expertise has allowed the French company EDF to work internationally.

HEP power is concentrated in the alps and along the river Rhone. The Rhone produces 25% of France’s HEP, which is 5% of the country’s generated electricity overall.

There are plans to import electricity from Northern Africa. For instance, Algeria, a former French colony, has operational solar plants already.

France was an early pioneer of tidal power and built a tidal system across the river Rance, but have built no further commercial tidal energy projects.

Most oil used in France is used in transport or heating. HEP is used to back up the nuclear power supply at peak times.

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India- Energy Mix

1973 Energy Mix

  • 61% renewables, including fuelwood
  • 22% coal
  • 15% oil
  • 2% HEP
  • 0% Gas
  • 0% Nuclear

2005 Energy Mix

  • 30% renewables, including fuelwood
  • 39% coal
  • 24% oil
  • 1% HEP
  • 5% Gas
  • 1% Nuclear

India’s energy consumption has increased by 300% since 1973. Population and demand for fuel have increased greatly, which has meant that India now has to rely on imports for its energy needs; particularly for more volatile regions of the world.

India’s own oil reserves are limited even as the country is becoming more oil reliant. India is training many engineers and is investing a lot of money in research and development of renewable fuels. With limited native resources, India is turning to nuclear power, and is reliant on Russian expertise to help manage its energy gap until technology, finances and infrastructure improve enough to support the use of renewable energy.

India is committed to researching and developing solar power sources. In March 2010, the World Bank invested US$20 million into developing further solar power stations such as the 2MW plant by India’s Azure Group. India plans to generate 20MW of solar power by 2020.

India has also built several dams:

Narmada Mega Dam Scheme

The scheme consists of 3,200 major, 135 medium and more than 3,000 smaller dams. The largest is the Sardar Saravar dam. The dam supplies water for agriculture, HEP and drinking water for 20 million people. Howver, it is mostly a vanity project; the same result could have been achieved with far smaller projects.

Germany energy mix

Current energy mix

  • 90% fossil fuels
  • 7% biomass
  • 1% wind power
  • 1% hydroelectric power
  • 1% other renewables

Wind power has grown significantly from 1990 to 2009- 719W to 37,809W.

The government is using initiatives and financial incentives to help in sustainability. Individuals can sell surplus energy they produce back to the national grid.

In just a year, Germany’s use of renewable energy sources has saved 107 million tons of CO2 emissions, and 300,000 people work in the renewable energy industry.

UK Energy

The United Kingdom produces 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, yet only has 1% of the population.

Until recently, the government was subsidising solar panels for anyone who wanted them. Those acquiring the panels still paid the majority of the cost, but the government was still helping to fund the development of green energy.

1990 energy mix

  • 64.2% coal
  • 11% oil
  • 1% natural gas
  • 21.5% nuclear
  • 3.3% renewables

2008 energy mix

  • 36.9% coal
  • 1.3% oil
  • 34.5% natural gas
  • 21.4% nuclear
  • 5.9% renewables

Changes in this time period

Gas is less expensive than coal, and transports more easily. It also produces less CO2 than coal per unit energy produced (It is a cleaner fuel).

Oil fields in the North Sea have been for the most part depleted, and much of the gas is, so gas is being imported from Russia, Norway and other gas-rich countries.

The demand for electricity has increased by 1/3. The UK is no longer dependent on coal power

Plans for increased sustainability (It should be noted that there are no strict deadlines)

  • Smart electricity meters
  • Tougher environmental standards for new buildings, with a code for sustainable homes
  • Working to phase out inefficient goods (eg limiting the power of vacuum cleaners by the EU)
  • Tripling electricity generated from renewables
  • Setting up a carbon trading scheme for large companies
  • ¬£20 million spent in funding public procurement of projects to lower carbon usage.