Energy: An Introduction

Energy: An Introduction

As our societies become more sophisticated, the world population grows and nations become more industrialized, energy demand increases and so we expect energy supply to simultaneously increase. Energy is considered a basic human need, and much of what we use and take for granted in our everyday lives is dependent on it. But how are we going to cope with this increasing need? Does the answer lie in providing more energy (which comes at an environmental and economic cost), or does it lie in changing our lifestyles in order to save energy wherever possible? In responding to these questions, arises a hot debate—and one that touches upon all economic sectors.

This burning issue is a starting point for readers who want to explore some of the issues surrounding this debate:

  1. What sources of energy can we use to meet our demand? We summarise some of the pros and cons of different forms of renewable and non renewable energy supply.
  2. What can we do to ensure that our lifestyles and activities use energy more efficiently? We look into simple energy reduction measures and point out to useful guides or tips.
  3. The energy crisis in the Western Cape Province of South Africa: we visit the energy supply crisis as a Case Study.

Energy is a wide topic and there is a wealth of information available on the web. You can find useful information about the topic on the Wikipedia, The Energy Story and the International Energy Agency. Sustainable Energy Africa provides useful information for South Africa and Africa. The Energy Module of the course on Sustainable Development in Coastal Areas available on DLIST provides in-depth information about energy sources and energy efficiency. You can also read the opinions of DLIST users on several energy-related discussion forums. A good reference book on energy for South Africans is The Energy Book for urban development in South Africa, available from Sustainable Energy Africa.

For a more complete list of resources on energy, please visit the Resources section of this Burning Issue. This list and the information in this Burning Issue can continuously grow and be updated. Should you have more information on the topic to share with the DLIST Community, including new case studies along the BCLME coastal areas, please write to the DLIST-Benguela Team.

  • Resources