People have been using conventional form of energy for years. Fossil fuels are the primary part of it. However, concerns about climate change and energy independence have gravitated much interest from different sections and the tilt has been shifted towards unconventional, or alternative, source of energy like; biomass, nuclear, solar geothermal, hydropower and wind.
The UK had generated 368.6 billion kilowatt-hours (Bkwh) of electricity in 2007 and consumed only 345.8 Bkwh. While it had installed 85 Gigawatts electricity generation capacity in the same year. Thermal energy (78 percent) was the major source of this electricity generation. Nuclear (16 percent), other renewable (4 percent) and hydroelectricity (1 percent) were the other sources which put their share.
generators and distributors, which are the part of privatized electricity sector, trade electricity on a wholesale market. Electricité de France (EDF) Energy controls most of the nuclear power capacity and shares one sixth of the total electricity supply. It is the largest power producer in the country. E.ON UK, RWE-npower, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), and Scottish. Power (SP) are the other power producing companies. SSE and SP operate the grid in Scotland, and Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), operates the grid in Northern Ireland. National Grid owns and operates the national transmission system in England and Wales,
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The British government formed the New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) in 2001. In 2005, the British government formed British Energy Transmission and Trading Arrangements (BETTA) by extending NETA to Scotland. The plan to bring Northern Ireland under the umbrella of BETTA is also on board. By this the UK has integrated the formally-separate electricity markets. More electricity is being made available to the English and welsh consumers by the increased transmission capacity of SSE and SP between England and Scotland.
Prospected energy gap in the uk generating capacity, in the early years of the 2000s, disturbed the concerned ones. clean air requirements of the European Large Combustion Plant Directive was a potential threat to the generating capacity. A number of coal fired power stations would be closed down and the remaining UK's Magnox nuclear stations would follow suit 2015. The potential gap suggested by the current accounting closure dates of between 2014 and 2023 for the AGR power stations can be reduced by extending their lives.
Shortfall in electricity generation capacity by 2015 was forecasted in different reports. A report published in 2000 by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (Energy - The Changing Climate) raised the same issue. In 2005 A report from the industry forecasted 20% shortfall. The 2006 Energy Review attracted considerable press coverage - in particular in relation to the prospect of constructing a new generation of nuclear power stations, in order to prevent the rise in carbon dioxide emissions that would arise if other conventional power stations were to be built.
A poll conducted in November 2005 by YouGov for Deloitte. It tells that 35% of the population expect that by 2020 the majority of electricity generation will come from renewable energy (more than double the government's target, and far larger than the 5.5% generated as of 2008), 23% expect that the majority will come from nuclear power, and only 18% that the majority will come from fossil fuels. 92% thought the Government should do more to explore alternative power generation technologies to reduce carbon emissions.
Preliminary review of Literature
Conventional sources of energy have made our lives comfortable enough. We them both at our homes and at work as well. All the luxuries have become possible only because some scientists are working hard to figure out more efficient and environment friendly ways of generating energy. Our modern life style owes a lot to several different sources.
Conventional Energy Resources
Coal, like all fossil fuels, is a nonrenewable energy source, which means that it can be used only for once. It is a sedimentary rock formed when living matter is compressed over a long period of time. According to the Energy Information Administration, coal can be classified in four different kinds according to the quantity of carbon it contains. The harder coal gets darker and contains more energy.
Petroleum (oil) is a liquid hydrocarbon that was also formed by decomposing organic matter. Like coal it is burnt to boil water and producing steam. This steam is then put into turbine to generate power. The UK fulfills 40% of its energy needs through it and almost 99% of automobiles depend on it.
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Natural gas is a colorless, shapeless and odorless gaseous hydrocarbon that is often found atop oil deposits. It is used for domestic and industrial purposes. But in recent years it has been used in public transport because of its environment friendly nature.
Hydropower is one of the most ancient sources of generating energy. In ancient times people converted the potential energy of water into mechanical form by putting a wheel under the surface. These water wheels were used to power grain mills or spinning a grind stone directly. But owing to the modern inventions water's energy is used to spin turbine and generate electricity.
Wood contains less energy than oil or coal. It is so because like other biomass (carbon based materials) their carbon has not been condensed over millions of years. But On the other hand, wood produces easy-to-control energy. it is portable as well. It is used domestically in stoves to keep people warm and it is also an easy and quick solution for cooking certain food items.
It not only has great potential for generating electricity but it also does not produce carbon dioxide in the process. But other environmental and security concerns like; its waste holding, construction, mining, decommissioning, and disposal have attracted strong criticism. British Energy, the privatized nuclear supplier had to face financial troubles in 2004.
Financial support by public and private sector for energy research and development in the uk has to face the problem of little coordination between a variety of funding bodies. Gaps in funding stream and availability of funding for certain parts of the research-development-commercialization process but not others were the other problems that were experienced. Limited funding by the private sector and below the international standard public funding level was also seen.
Private and public sector bodies that support research in energy area are:
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
the UK Energy Research Centre
The Energy Technologies Institute
The first one funds an energy programme that covers energy and climate change research. Its aim is to develop, meet and exploit sustainable, low carbon and energy efficient technologies and system so that the uk government might meet its energy and environment targets by 2020. Besides it, its research programme includes renewable, conventional, nuclear, fusion electric supply, energy efficiency, fuel poverty and other topics.
The second one, since its establishment in 2004, carries out research in demand reduction, future sources of energy, infrastructure and supply, energy systems, sustainability and materials for advanced energy systems.
The last one, expected to begin operating in 2008, is to 'accelerate the development of secure, reliable and cost-effective low-carbon energy technologies towards commercial deployment'.
Alternative Energy Resources
Solar energy can be captured through solar collector panels. it is used to heat water in them. It has different types. The simple types use flat collector panels with transparent cover to admit sunlight. They are mounted on a south faced roof or wall.
The inside of each panel is usually painted black as it absorbs heat readily.
Water circulates through channels and get heated. The hot water is pumped to a heat exchanger that extracts the heat for use within the house.
Photovoltaic (PV) cells can also use solar energy to generate electricity. Photovoltaic cells are made of semiconductors, similar to those used to make computer chips. PV cell may power a calculator. Until recently these cells were very costly to produce. However, they are still only about 10-15 per cent efficient.
Geothermal energy is the natural heat of the Earth's crust. Hot water reservoirs in some places, blow the surface, can be tapped for generating energy. Water is pumped down to earth to absorb heat which is used for different purposes. Cost effective exploitation of geothermal energy is not met with considerable success in so many places. In Italy , at Tuscany, a geothermal plant has been operating since the early 1900s. The USA, New Zealand and Iceland have also geothermal power stations.
In Southampton (UK) geothermal energy is used in a scheme of district heating. A number of houses and nearby buildings are heated by the water with a temperature of 700C. this hot water is pumped up from about 1,800 meters below ground.
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The sun throws radiation which is absorbed by the earth. This absorbed radiation heated the surface of the earth which in turn warms air above it. Hot air rises in what are called convection currents.The uneven heating of the earth's surface causes winds.
The Sun's rays fall both on land and sea, but the earth's surface heated more quickly. As a results the air above the land gets warmer than that of sea. As a result the colder air over the sea will rush in to fill the gap left by the rising air. It is processes like these that give rise to high and low pressure areas, and thus to winds.
The action of winds on the sea causes waves. These Waves contain a great deal of energy due to several meters height of them. On coastal areas, close to the shore, this great energy can be harnessed to drive turbines that generate electricity. There are two main types of wave energy collectors. The first type directs waves into man-made channels, where the water passes through a turbine that generates electricity. The second type uses the up and down movement of a wave to push air. In Scotland 75Kw of electricity has been produced since 1990s by using a device to this power into mechanical form.
The gravitational pull of the Moon and the sun, to a lesser extent, cause tides on the ocean. Tides are of different heights and this difference reaches upto several meters, which can be used for generating power. If the water of a higher tide is trapped behind a barrage and then let out as the tide ebbs, this water can be passed through a turbine that can generate electricity. River estuaries that have large tidal ranges, such as the River Severn in the UK could be useful if barrages are built in them.
Hydroelectric power schemes exist in many countries. Kinetic energy of flowing water can be converted into mechanical one of turbines which can further be converted into electric energy. Falling water through turbines can generate hydroelectric power. It can be possible if a dam is built across the river and water is allowed to fall through turbines in a controlled manner.
The areas of fast flowing rivers could be more suitable for building of dams. In hilly and mountainous regions river flows down steep slopes. But large man made artificial dams can be built to create reservoirs which provide a head to water that can be directed through turbines.
Most people live on flatter land, so most hydroelectric schemes require large dams and flood a lot of land.
Energy from biomass
The material from living things is known as biomass. It includes plant material, animal material or even bacteria. Organic matter can be burned to provide heat, or fermented to produce gas.
In many parts of the developing world biomass is the major source of energy. About 200 years ago biomass, in the form of wood, was a major as an alternative to fossil fuels. There is a large biomass plant in Sweden, while in the UK a power station is being developed where wood from a nearby farm will be used to run it.
Research questions and objectives
Energy is used to run industry, illuminate the cities and keep the vehicles on roads. Industrial development and population growth have resulted in enormous increase in the demand for energy. Supply of energy is lagging far behind the demand. Due to this demand and supply gap energy crisis is creating bottleneck (or price rise) in the supply of energy resources to an economy. In popular literature though, it often refers to one of the energy sources used at a certain time and place.
What are the sources of energy in UK, Conventional and alternative?
How to develop power sector in UK?
What is the future alternative source of energy in UK?
How can government promote the private in power sector to produce energy?
What is the future of energy in UK?
What are the impacts of alternative energy sources on environment?
How to control the disadvantages of alternative energy sources?
To study the options for energy production in UK?
How the private sector can participate to fulfill the needs of energy in UK.
What are the effects of energy both conventional and alternative on industry.
How to make the alternative energy environmental friendly?
To find the advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy sources.
As descriptive research will be used as described above, so for that reason qualitative research will be used because qualitative research is descriptive in which the researcher is more interested in process, understanding and meaning derived from words, pictures and/or objects while on the other hand quantitative research involves the analysis of numerical data which is available in the form of numbers and statistics.
Research Deductive (theory testing), inductive (theory formatting) or a mixture?
Research approach will be inductive because the process of qualitative research is basically inductive in nature in which researchers construct concepts, hypothesis, and theories from details. (Merriam, (1998); Creswell (2009))
Data collection methods:
Two basic kinds of data source include: primary data and secondary data. Primary data is basically originated by the people directly involved in it through different kinds of surveys, based on a period which is investigated. In contrast secondary data is written over a period of time but brought out at some time later. (Finnegan at el., 1996)
So in order to collect the primary data, structured interviews will be used on some officials in National Coal Board, British Gas, and the Central Electricity Generating Board, because these structured interviews are consisted on the pre-written or described questions, which are easy to analyse and requires less effort as compared to unstructured interviews. (Vinten, 1995) Similarly for the purpose of using the secondary data, different kind of the material available in the University's library including journals, books, reports etc. will be used.
As explained above that for the collection of the primary data interviews will be conducted with the four organizations. These are divided in two parts in first part National Coal Board, British Gas, and the Central Electricity Generating Board which is Government regulatory authority to legalize and responsible for all activities include UK government policies regarding Energy Sources in United Kindom and in second part all companies related those sectors which are producing alternative energy in United Kingdom since last 10 year. These firms will be contacted by telephone, email for the interviews or accessing official data and project will be fully explained to the executive of the firm/department at the time of interview.
After the primary data is generated through interview, this gathered data will be analyzed using the SPSS (Statistical package for social sciences). It is a powerful package or software used for the interpretation of the data and to draw conclusions in terms of the pie charts, tables, graphs etc. (Pallant, 2005)
The research will be conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations laid down in University ethics student hand book. To be inline with these regulations the given checklist and compliance paper will be thoroughly read and than filled up. All the participants will be specified about the research and will be told about any concerns. The data retrieved through interviews will remain highly confidential and will only be discussed with the supervisor. All the Health & Safety measures would be in place so that in any a compliance form will also be filled.
ANY SPECIAL RESOURCES OR ACCESS REQUIRED
This will be a top priority of author to remain in pre-planned activities and that is why no extra resources will be asked.
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