Figure 1- world wide electricity consumption
Figure 1- world wide electricity consumption
MEDCs have had a bigger share of the current world electricity consumption, however since 2007 an increasing number of the richer and more industrial LEDCs are consuming a similar amount. Countries such as United States and Australia consume up to 9000-10000 kW per hour. LEDCs such as Libya, Mexico consume around 4000kW per hour.

How is electricity produced?

  * Power stations convert energy sources into electricity by turning blades on a turbine
  *   Steam is used to turn turbines in nuclear reactions, burning fossil fuels and geothermal power
  * Hydro-electric and tidal power use water to turn the blades
  * Large wind powered turbines

Types of thermal power stations and factors affecting the location

  * Coal fired power stations- coal is bulky and is normally transported by rail, but it is expensive to transport. For this reason, coal-fired power stations are often located close to the coalmines.
  * Oil fired power stations- can be transported by relatively easily by pipelines so the power station do not need to be located close to the oil wells. Nevertheless, oil-importing countries often locate oil-fired power stations at oil refineries close to the port where the oil arrives in the country.

  * Gas-fired power stations- natural gas is found under the sea and is piped ashore in similar way as oil.

Other factors that may affect the location of thermal power station

  * A supply of cooling water is needed. Many power stations are located along rivers but they must be spaced so that too much warm water is not returned to the river to damage the aquatic life. Seawater is not used because it is not a good coolant due to the salt content.

  * A large flat site is needed for the plant, cooling towers, fuel storage and railway lines.

Past paper questions

  * Briefly describe the factors determining the location of a thermal...