Sources of Energy

In the Beginning...

In a Flash

energy sources

A mix of energy sources are used around the world.

Sources of energy

The energy we use to power everything from our homes to schools and workplaces comes from a variety of different sources. These can be broken down into renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

A renewable energy source is any natural resources that can replace itself quickly and dependably. A non-renewable energy source is a source with a finite supply (in other words, it’ll eventually run out).

Burning Questions

What are sources of renewable energy?

Renewable energy sources are plentiful, sustainable and kind to the environment. And the great thing is, they’ll never run out!

Here’s a quick overview of renewable energy sources – you can find out more on our Renewable Energy page.

Wind Energy

Wind Energy

  • Energy in moving air, harnessed by wind turbines
  • Used to produce electricity
Thermal Energy

Solar Energy

  • Energy that comes from the sun
  • Converted into heat, light and electricity
Chemical Energy

Biomass

  • Energy contained in organic matter
  • Used to generate electricity
Nuclear Energy

Hydropower

  • Energy in the force of moving water
  • Captured by dams in hydropower plants and converted to electricity
Electrical Energy

Geothermal Energy

  • Energy that comes from heat generated by the Earth
  • Used to produce electricity, and can provide heat and hot water

What are sources of non-renewable energy?

Non-renewable energy comes from sources that have a limited supply. Most non-renewable energy sources are fossil fuels, which are generally bad news for the environment.

Here are some examples of non-renewable energy sources – check out our Non-Renewable Energy page to learn more.

Wind Energy

Coal

  • Comes from the remains of plants that died hundreds of millions of years ago
  • Has the highest level of carbon of all fossil fuels
Thermal Energy

Oil

  • Comes from the remains of plants that died hundreds of millions of years ago
  • Can be extracted and refined to make gasoline, diesel and jet fuel
Chemical Energy

Natural Gas

  • Formed from the remains of tiny sea plants and animals that died millions of years ago
  • Mainly composed of methane
Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy

  • Energy released when atoms’ nuclei are fused together (fusion) or split apart (fission)
  • Nuclear power plants produce electricity through nuclear fission

What Do You Mean?

Energy Sources diagram

Different kinds of energy sources.

Renewable energy is any natural energy resource that can replace itself quickly and dependably.

Non-renewable energy is a source of energy that will eventually run out. Most are fossil fuels.

Cool Facts

More than 1/5 of the world’s energy is used for transport, followed by industry, construction, and agriculture.

Cool Facts

Coal generates more electricity than any other source.

Speedy Summary

country lights

It takes a lot of energy to power the world.

The energy we use to power our world comes from many different sources, which can be classified as either renewable or non-renewable.

Teacher's Toolkit

Take this to the classroom!
Curriculum ready content.