4.17 describe the advantages and disadvantages of methods of largescale electricity production from various renewable and nonrenewable resources.

  • Renewable energy – energy that lasts forever, eg. solar and wind (key term: sustainable)
  • Non renewable energy – energy that has a finite number of resources

Cost –

  • Renewable energy initial start up costs are very very expensive
  • With nuclear stations, a considerable cost is spent on safely decommissioning a reactor

Renewable / non renewable –

  • Reserves of fossil fuels are finite, eventually we will need to find alternate sources
  • Petroleum is often used in plastic and pharmaceuticals

Greenhouse gas emissions –

  • Burning fossil fuels produces CO2 (greenhouse gas)
  • Greenhouse gasses trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming

Supply and demand –

  • Demand for electricity will vary over a period of 24 hours
  • Nuclear reactors cannot respond to demand surges as they cannot be turned on and off quickly
  • Gas fired power stations – extra generators are able to meet such demands, but are using tonnes of non-renewable energy
  • Solar and wind don’t produce energy all the time

Environmental impact –

  • Power stations are sight pollutants
  • Waste products damage plant and animal life in the area of power stations
  • Hot water waste has huge impacts on rivers

Location –

  • Power stations can be built within the area of demand (this is because energy is wasted in the transmission)
  • Renewable energy sources eg. tidal and geothermal are limited to suitable geographical locations, often very far away from the area of demand
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