Energy is the fuel that is needed for anything to be able to work. Energy comes in many different forms and is essential for everything we do. The sun is a form of energy- it makes plants grow. Our bodies gain energy from what we eat or drink and cars use petrol for energy.
Non-renewable energy is from sources that we are using up and cannot recreate in a short period of time. Most of our energy comes from non-renewable energy sources, which include the fossil fuels oil, natural gas, and coal. They're called fossil fuels because they were formed over millions and millions of years by the action of heat from the Earth's core and pressure from rock and soil on the remains (or "fossils") of dead plants and animals. Another non-renewable energy source is the element uranium, whose atoms we split (through a process called nuclear fission) to create heat and ultimately electricity.
Renewable energy is energy from sources that we can use over and over again. Renewable energy sources include solar energy (from the sun), hydropower (from water), wind power (from the wind), geothermal energy (created by underground steam) and biomass energy (eg. landfill gases at rubbish tips). Find out more.
Our society depends on electricity. Using it more efficiently will mean that the impact on our natural resources can be reduced. More than 90% of Australia's electricity comes from coal, the other 10% from hydroelectric generation (from water). Because coal produces greenhouse gases, and will eventually run out, everyone is encouraged to conserve the energy they use.
By conserving energy, we reduce the need for electricity generated by coal, and help to minimise what is known as the "greenhouse effect". There are many ways to conserve electricity. We can turn off lights, heaters and appliances like televisions when we are not using them. Sometimes an extra jumper is better than an extra heater.
If you conserve and recycle things you will be helping to conserve energy. By being sensible with energy around your home and school you can help your parents save money as well as help the environment. Find out how you and your family can help conserve energy.