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Lessons 1: Energy Resources

People rely on a variety of natural resources to provide electrical energy for their homes and lives. A number of energy transformations typically occur during the process of changing a natural resource into useful electrical energy. Can you describe these transformations?

Doing the science

  1. Start the Energy Land Simulation by clicking on the "Sim" tab.
  2. Move the cursor over one of the energy sources located at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Read about the energy transformation process described in the roll-over pop-up.
  4. Note the energy resource, such as Coal or Solar, and describe the energy transformation that occurs using the provided keywords for that specific energy resource in the appropriate space in Table 1. (Keywords = electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical, nuclear, light, elastic potential, gravitational potential)
  5. Repeat steps 2 – 4 until all of the energy resources have been reviewed and described.

Table 1. Energy Resources and Energy Transformations

Energy Resource

Energy Transformation

Coal

Natural Gas

Nuclear

Wind

Offshore Wind

Solar

Geothermal

Biomass

Hydroelectric

Tidal

Do You Understand?

  1. What is the difference between an energy transfer and an energy transformation?


  2. List and discuss two factors that might impact which energy resource is chosen by a local power company for use as their basis for generating electricity for their customers.