3.3 Energy resources
The importance of energy resources in both past and future developments in society should be analysed. The impact of future energy supply problems should be evaluated.
Students should understand how improvements in technology can provide increasing amounts of energy from sustainable sources.
Quantitative data should be used to compare and evaluate new and existing technologies.
The importance of energy supplies in the development of society
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Agriculture  How increased mechanization has increased productivity. 
Fishing 
How energy has increased catches and made processing easier. 
Industry 
How energy allows the extraction and processing of materials. The role of energy in service industries. 
Water supplies 
How energy is used to treat water for use and clean waste water from industrial or domestic use. 
Transport 
The use of energy in transport systems. 
Domestic life  The role of energy in improved material living standards. 
The impact of the features of energy resources on their use
Students should understand that each energy resource has its own features which make it applicable to particular uses. Technologies in current use often developed to match them to the available energy resources. New energy technologies may need additional technologies to be fully usable, eg storage.
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Features of energy resources 
Quantitative data should be used to compare different energy resources and evaluate the potential for energy resources in the future. 
The sustainability of current energy resource exploitation
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Impact of resource exploitation before the use of the energy:
 
Impact as a consequence of use.  Pollution:

Habitat damage. 

Depletion of reserves.  Nonrenewable energy resources. 
Strategies to secure future energy supplies
Students should analyse and evaluate key issues and quantitative data to evaluate the potential future contribution of each energy resource.
Evaluation of improved extraction/harnessing/processing technologies related to a range of energy technologies
Students should understand how specific technologies increase the usability of each energy resource.
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Fossil fuels 

Nuclear power: fission and fusion. 
Fission:

Fusion as a research technology:


Renewable energy technologies. 
Solar power:

HEP:


Wind power:


Wave power: new developments in wave power technology. 

Biofuels:


Geothermal power:


Tidal power:


Fluctuations in energy supply and demand, and new energy storage systems. 
Students should evaluate the importance of energy storage in the use of the available energy resources and energy forms. The development of new energy storage methods will allow more effective peakshaving to match fluctuating supplies to fluctuating demand. 
Causes of fluctuations in energy supply. 
The use of intermittent energy resources. 
Causes of fluctuations in energy demand. 

Developments in energy storage technologies. 

New energy conservation technologies
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Improvements in the efficiency of energy use enable the same activities to be carried out with less energy. 
Transport energy conservation
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Vehicle design for use 

Transport infrastructure and management systems 

Vehicle design for end of life 

Building energy conservation
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Building design 

Use of materials/construction methods with low embodied energy 

Use of materials with low thermal conductivity/transmittance 

Energy management technologies 

Low energy appliances 

Industrial energy conservation
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Heat management 

Electricity infrastructure management 

Opportunities for skills development and independent thinking
Mathematical skill number  Opportunities for skills development and independent thinking 

MS 0.1  Students could convert between joules, watts, kWh and MWh when carrying out calculations. 
MS 0.2  Students could carry out calculations using numbers in standard and ordinary form, eg when comparing production of different energy resources. 
MS 0.3  Students could calculate surface area to volume ratios and relate this to heat loss. 
MS 0.5  Students could use V^{3} in wind power calculations. 
MS 1.2  Students could find the mean of a range of data, eg mean power output of a wind farm. 
MS 1.3  Students could represent a range of data in a table with clear headings, units and consistent decimal places, eg to compare the energy density, production cost, carbon intensity and mean load factor for a range of energy resources. 
MS 1.3  Students could interpret data from a variety of graphs, eg change in electricity cost from renewable energy sources, industrial output and level of financial incentives/tax over a number of years. 
MS 1.7  Students could construct a scatter graph of per capita energy use and mean GDP. 
MS 1.8  Students could calculate national energy use from population and individual use data. 
MS2.2  Students could use and manipulate equations, eg energy conversion efficiency. 
MS 2.3  Students could use data on wind velocities in the formula used to calculate kinetic energy available to an aerogenerator. 
MS 2.4  Students could calculate the power outputs of HEP stations with different flow rates and head of water. 
MS 3.1  Students could construct a Sankey diagram to represent energy resources, uses and efficiency for a country. Students could construct a radar diagram to show variations in wind direction. 
MS 3.4  Students could predict/sketch the shape of a graph with a linear relationship, eg the relationship between isolation and solar panel output. 
MS 3.7  Students could use a tangent to measure the gradient of a point on a curve, eg rate of heat loss through double glazing with varying gaps. 
MS 4.1  Students could calculate the surface area and volume of cylinders or spheres, eg to estimate rates of heat loss in energy conservation programmes. 
Working scientifically Students could plan activities to investigate environmental issues related to energy which they could carry out eg:
 the effect of climatic variability on the use of solar or wind power
 the costeffectiveness of increasing thicknesses of thermal insulation
 students could compare the energy input and light output of a range of light bulb types to investigate efficiency and costeffectiveness.
Students could plan activities in a range of broader environmental contexts related to energy, including ones where firsthand experience of practical activities may not be possible eg: students could plan a study to investigate the costeffectiveness of different double glazing systems.
Practical skill number  Opportunities for skills development and independent thinking 

PS 1.2  Students could analyse historical and current data to suggest how building energy efficiency could be improved most effectively. 
PS 3.1  Students could plot and interpret graphs on the energy intensity of domestic products to assess improvements in energy efficiency. 
PS 4.1  The practical skills of using equipment within scientific studies are expanded, as appropriate, in detail in the selected methodologies and sampling techniques below. 
Opportunities to investigate the required methodologies of which students must have first hand experience. Further details can be found in Appendix A: Working scientifically
Methodology skill number  Opportunities for skills development and independent thinking 

Me 2  Students could use a grid of sample sites and collect data on wind velocities to select the optimum location for a wind turbine. 
Me 5  Students could measure insolation levels at a standard time of day to assess the impact of variability on the practicality of solar power. 
Me 6  Students could use secondary data on wave heights collected over time and the ttest to select the best site for harnessing wave power. Data variability could be assessed using standard deviation. 
Opportunities to investigate the required sampling techniques of which students must have first hand experience. Further details can be found in Appendix A: Working scientifically
Sampling technique skill number  Opportunities for skills development and independent thinking 

ST 1  Students could measure changes in temperature in thermal stores with different heat capacities. Students could measure variations in wind velocities in selected locations or over time. Students could use a light meter and parabolic reflector to investigate the effect of cloud cover on light intensity and the limitations of CSP in cloudy conditions. 