Energy Resources – Which Are Getting Their Attention Now?
Among the array of energy resources in China, coal remains the primary resource, with estimated reserves of over 1,008 billion tons that constitute almost 50 percent of the nation s natural reserve. Oil is another energy source, having an estimated reserve of more than 94 billion barrels. Nuclear energy is also promising for the future Chinese economy, with reserves of nuclear energy equal to about six percent of China s overall reserves. With this much potential, why are there still so many questions regarding the reliability and safety of these energy resources?
In terms of reliability, it is obvious that China’s dependence
on coal and oil will continue for decades. Both these energy resources are heavy users that will not reduce their supplies even with stricter governmental controls over their production and use. This leads to a possible lack of stability in the overall energy supply and price rise. The price of oil and gas is expected to rise more in the coming years due to increasing demand from fast-growing countries like India and Saudi Arabia. Although hydropower has been proposed as a solution to China s energy consumption problems, the effectiveness of this technology in managing China’s hydrocarbon reserves is still subject to debate.
The reliability of geothermal energy depends on several factors
including the quality of the design of the system, the depth of penetration of the system, the reliability of the supply of heat to the remote areas, and the cost of using the renewable resource. Geothermal plants which are designed to produce high levels of electricity and thermal heat may require an expensive initial investment and high operating costs to compensate for the energy it generates. However, the continued operation of such geothermal plants can significantly reduce China’s reliance on fossil fuels and reduce its dependence on imported energy resources.
Regarding safety, it is difficult to evaluate
the total amount of energy resources that will be consumed by the human race in the next 50 years. Most current estimates put the Earth’s remaining coal reserves at around 401 billion cubic meters, which represents about one percent of the Earth’s total annual production. Although experts have said that the Earth’s coal supplies will eventually run out, this is years away from happening. As for the number of hydroelectric energy sources available, there are two to three times more than coal reserves. China, the United States, Russia, India, and Japan are the major users of hydroelectric power, while the rest of the world relies mainly on coal.
In recent years, there has been an increase
in the use of different technologies, which can reduce the use of traditional energy resources. One of these technologies is solar energy. Sunlight is used to produce electricity or other energy through photovoltaics, which includes: solar water heaters, solar farms, solar panels, and the like. Although this technology is relatively new, there have been many instances when it has given solutions to pressing energy problems. These technologies can also reduce the dependence on the earth’s soil and natural gas.
Nuclear power, on the other hand
is used to generate electricity using the power of nuclear fission. Two varieties of nuclear power plants exist in the world – those being used to provide electricity in the country and offshore. The former produces less pollution compared to the latter, but it still causes some negative effects on the environment. Last but not the least; oil is still considered the top energy resource. Oil is being used in almost every industry today, from generating electricity and heating water, to generating heat for industry and furnishing heat for houses and offices.