Mammoth Memory

Energy Mix – The range of energy sources of a region or country, both renewable and non-renewable

To remember the meaning of the term Energy Mix, use the following mnemonic:

He needed lots of energy to mix (energy mix) up this range of sauces (sources).

He needed lots of energy to mix (energy mix) up this range of sauces (sources).

A country's energy mix is the specific combination of energy sources it uses to meet its needs.

The energy mix varies according to the resources available – either as national resources or what it can import. Countries may also exercise discretion over what energy they exploit. For instance, Germany and Japan are reducing nuclear energy production.

A country's standard of living may also affect the types of energy used, the most vital questions being what type of appliances are affordable for most people, and the level of energy bills they are able to meet.

For instance, in the U.S., around 50% of homes are heated with natural gas, while around a third are heated with electricity. There are also smaller percentages of oil and biomass heating.

The UK has a much higher percentage of homes connected to the national gas grid – only 15% of homes do not have access. Most homes on the gas grid have gas boilers with a central heating system, while most off-grid homes use electricity, with a smaller number using oil.

By contrast, in South Africa, where winter is shorter and generally less severe, and people are generally not so well off, most homes do not have central heating. Portable electric heaters, used sparingly, are the main source of heating there.

Currently, transport energy worldwide is mostly based on oil to produce petrol (cars), diesel (lorries and trains), kerosene (aircraft), and heavy oil (ships).

Domestic energy (for homes) can be subdivided into needs for heating (gas, oil, wood, coal), cooking (gas, electricity, charcoal, wood), and appliances (electricity).

Industry may require large amounts of heat for industrial processes (oil, gas, coal) while offices and shops require electricity and agriculture requires large amounts of mechanical energy (oil).

But the picture is changing: a number of developed countries have already passed legislation ending the manufacture of diesel and petrol cars over the next decade or so, and coal-powered power stations are being phased out in many countries. Some countries have set dates for when gas-powered systems can no longer be installed in new homes.

Low-income countries (LICs) may be slower to make changes, but we are undoubtedly moving towards a world where all energy is renewable.


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