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Chapter 7 - Energy Resources and Potentials

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Hans-Holger Rogner
International Atomic Energy Agency
Roberto F. Aguilera
Curtin University
Cristina L. Archer
California State University and Stanford University
Ruggero Bertani
Enel Green Power S.p.A.
S.C. Bhattacharya
International Energy Initiative
Maurice B. Dusseault
University of Waterloo
Luc Gagnon
Helmut Haberl
Klagenfurt University
Monique Hoogwijk
Arthur Johnson
Hydrate Energy International
Mathis L. Rogner
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Horst Wagner
Montan University Leoben
Vladimir Yakushev
Doug J. Arent
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Ian Bryden
University of Edinburgh
Fridolin Krausmann
Klagenfurt University
Peter Odell
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Christoph Schillings
German Aerospace Center
Ali Shafiei
University of Waterloo
Ji Zou
Renmin University
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Executive Summary

An energy resource is the first step in the chain that supplies energy services (for a definition of energy services, see Chapter 1). Energy services are largely ignorant of the particular resource that supplies them; however, often the infrastructures, technologies, and fuels along the delivery chain are highly dependent on a particular type of resource. The availability and costs of bringing energy resources to the market place are key determinants to affordable and accessible energy services.

Energy resources pose no inherent limitation to meeting the rapidly growing global energy demand as long as adequate upstream investment is forthcoming – for exhaustible resources in exploration, production technology, and capacity (mining and field development) and, by analogy, for renewables in conversion technologies.

Hydrocarbons and Nuclear

Occurrences of hydrocarbons and fissile materials in the Earth's crust are plentiful – yet they are finite. The extent of the ultimately recoverable oil, natural gas, coal, or uranium is the subject of numerous reviews, yet still the range of values in the literature is large (Table 7.1). For example, the range for conventional oil is between 4900 exajoules (EJ) for reserves to 13,700 EJ (reserves plus resources) – a range that sustains continued debate and controversy. The large range is the result of varying boundaries of what is included in the analysis of a finite stock of an exhaustible resource, e.g., conventional oil only or conventional oil plus unconventional occurrences, such as oil shale, tar sands, and extra-heavy oils.

Global Energy Assessment
Toward a Sustainable Future
, pp. 425 - 512
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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