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The Open University

Why sustainable energy matters

The Open University via OpenLearn

Overview

Access to safe, clean and sustainable energy supplies is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity during the twenty-first century. This free course, Why sustainable energy matters, will survey the world's present energy systems and their sustainability problems, together with some of the possible solutions to those problems and how these might emerge in practice.

Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • Learning outcomes
  • 1 Why sustainable energy matters
  • 1 Why sustainable energy matters
  • 1.1 Energy sources and environmental impact
  • 1.2 Where do we get our energy from?
  • 2 Definitions: energy, sustainability and the future
  • 2 Definitions: energy, sustainability and the future
  • 2.1 What is energy?
  • 3 Present energy sources and sustainability
  • 3 Present energy sources and sustainability
  • 3.1 Fossil fuels
  • 3.2 Nuclear energy
  • 3.3 Bioenergy
  • 3.4 Hydroelectricity
  • 3.5 Summary
  • 4 Renewable energy sources
  • 4 Renewable energy sources
  • 4.1 Solar energy
  • 4.2 Indirect use of solar energy
  • 4.2.1 Wind energy
  • 4.2.2 Wave power
  • 4.3 Non-solar renewables
  • 4.3.1 Tidal Energy
  • 4.3.2 Geothermal energy
  • 4.4 Sustainability of renewable energy sources
  • 5 Energy services and efficiency improvement
  • 5 Energy services and efficiency improvement
  • 5.1 Energy services
  • 5.1.1 Linking supply and demand
  • 5.2 Energy efficiency improvements
  • 5.2.1 Supply-side measures
  • 5.2.2 Demand-side efficiency improvements
  • 5.3 The rebound effect
  • 6 Energy in a sustainable future
  • 6 Energy in a sustainable future
  • 6.2 (a) 'Cleaning-up' fossil and nuclear technologies
  • 6.3 (b) Switching to renewable energy sources
  • 6.4 (c) Using energy more efficiently
  • 6.5 Changing patterns of energy use
  • 6.6 Long-term energy scenarios
  • 6.6.1 The Royal Commission on environmental pollution scenarios
  • 6.6.2 The World Energy Council scenarios
  • Conclusion
  • Take the next step
  • References
  • Acknowledgements

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