Where Does Energy Come From?
By Lachlan Donaldson
To power the technology we use in daily life we need energy, but where does this energy come from? Energy comes from sources that are either renewable or non-renewable.
There are two sources of non-renewable energy. Fossil fuels include oil, coal, gas and nuclear fuels (uranium and plutonium). These resources are mined or extracted from pockets underneath the earth, however there is a limited amount of them.
We burn these fossil fuels to provide energy. However, this is unsustainable as these resources are limited. Burning these fossil fuels also causes the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to be produced, contributing to global warming.
We generate energy from nuclear fuels by breaking down the elements plutonium and uranium. This then generates heat, which can be used to generate electricity. However, this process also produces nuclear waste which takes tens of thousands of years to degrade.
Renewable sources of energy are also more sustainable sources of power such as solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wind.
Solar power is energy absorbed from the sun. We can harness this through using solar panels which convert sunlight into usable electricity. This is the most efficient in brighter climates, such as deserts or other dry areas.
Hydroelectric energy is power generated from flowing water. This can be through the use of rivers or dams, where water passed through turbines spin, converting the force of the water into electricity. Or this can be harnessed by tidal force which is the rise and fall of waves.
Wind power is generated by converting the force of blowing wind into electricity. We do this by building wind turbines and windmills. The wind blows on the blades of the wind turbine, which causes them to spin and produce electricity.
Geothermal power is generated by converting the heat that naturally comes from the centre of the earth into electricity.