Scotland: Depletion of North Sea Oil and Gas Resources
One of the main causes of concern in Scotland today is the depletion of North
Sea oil and gas resources. With both nuclear power and coal power output also in the
decline, Scotland has reason for concern: the demand for energy is predicted to double
from the year 2000 to the year 2050 according to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in
the Inquiry into Energy Issues for Scotland: Summary Report (June 2006). Nuclear and
coal power options will not be there much longer; the Royal Society expects that all of
their major electricity generating plants will close within the next 25 years.
The causes for the depletion of oil and gas resources in the North Sea are
numerous. Increasing population and the decreasing nuclear and coal power output (as
previously mentioned) both impact the depletion of North Sea oil, as do Scotland’s
energy policy and the proximity of resources to the consumers. Within the field
of general consumption of their already decreasing resources, tourism also takes its
toll. The depletion of oil and gas resources in the North Sea has caused a
wide range of varying reactions. It has led to a large debate within the Scotland and the
United Kingdom, and the extent of many of its effects have yet to be determined. The
energy policy in the United Kingdom comes up as both a cause and an effect of
the depletion of North Sea oil. What they have decided to do in the past and what
they decide to do in the future will ultimately have the largest part to play in the
situation as far as the general population is concerned.
For our research, our drivers of the state are tourism, increase in population, decrease in nuclear/ coal power, and energy policy. Tourism is a major contributor to the economy in Scotland, and with this incoming consumerism demands a lot of oil and gas, since tourism increases the use of transportation and use of any source in general. For example, tourist’ use transportation to visit attractions and use natural gas in the hotels. Scotland’s population has been increasing, therefore increasing the use of resources like oil and gas, and forcing the government to rethink their infrastructure to fit the needs of upcoming generations. There has been a decrease in nuclear and coal power, because the plants are getting old and Scotland is trying to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Scotland uses oil to generate heat and electricity, and since their other sources of electricity has also reduced, there are more pressures in changing the energy policy. These are the drivers that influence our state, the depletion of the North Sea Oil and gas.
Our pressures for our state are Consumerism, Transportation Infrastructure, Energy Infrastructure, and the Proximity of Resources to Consumers. The consumerism depletes the oil and gas resource because more of it is being used. The transportation infrastructure is depleting the oil resource since cars, boats, and planes all use gasoline, it can be difficult to change energy sources for these reasons, this situation is similar to the energy infrastructure depleting the resources of oil and gas, since they are the system that decides which resources are going to be used. The fact that the North Sea resources are easy to use for Scotland, they are depleting the resources close to home. These are the pressures that lead to our state and ultimately the responses.
The depletion of oil and gas in the North Sea is causing an energy scarcity in Scotland. The prices of electricity and gas are rising, putting a strain on the lower and middle classes on the Scottish public. Because these resources are only going to become more difficult to access, the Scottish government is concerned about locating replacement
energy supplies what will provide a stable source of energy in the long term. Scotland does not want to be forced to rely on foreign countries for such a crucial resource. Energy security for them means a largely domestically controlled, long lasting source of energy. The necessity of developing these new sources provides Scotland with an opportunity to reduce their carbon emissions, which is a stated goal of the United Kingdom. When considering new options for fuel and electrical generation, the government will favor those with low or no greenhouse gas emissions.
Earlier in the decade, the energy industry in Scotland was largely privatized as a result of rapidly increasing prices. This move served to keep prices down until recently, when the scarcity of resources overcame market competition and prices began increasing again. This has prompted the government consider new measures to control the price of energy.
The Scottish government has taken many steps to remedy these problems. One of these is the creation of a committee made up of civilian specialists to advise the government on energy issues. The government is encouraging the research of new technologies for energy production, and is very interested in using wind turbines as a source of electricity generation. Wind turbines would not only be locally owned and controlled, they fulfill the desire for decreased greenhouse gas emissions as well. The government is also considering promoting increased energy efficiency through a series of market incentives. These would be meant to encourage businesses to lower their energy consumption, and to encourage the development of more efficient technologies, which would lower costs for consumers.
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