Humans use fuels to make energy to power machines like cars, computers and ships. People get the fuel to make all this energy, mostly by digging it out of the ground and burning it.
This releases ancient energy stores, what we call fossil fuels, which are made up of billions of tiny plants and animals. When plants and animals died, their bodies decomposed and were buried under layers of earth.
Millions of years later we have the 3 forms of fossil fuel: oil, coal and natural gas.
Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy sources, that means that when they run out there will be no more. We need to start using other energy sources that will not run out. People have already some and those are called renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy is made from resources that can be renewed by Mother Nature: wind, water, sunshine and biomass. Renewable energy is also called “clean energy” or “green power” because it doesn’t produce harmful pollution.
Why don’t we use renewable energy all the time?
Unlike natural gas and coal, we can’t store up wind and sunshine to use whenever we need to make more electricity. If the wind doesn’t blow or the sun hides behind clouds, there wouldn’t be enough power for everyone.
Another reason we use fossil fuels like coal and natural gas is because they’re cheaper. It costs more money to make electricity from wind, and most people don’t want to pay more on their monthly utility bills.
There are 5 commonly used renewable energy sources:
Learn more about each one by clicking on each word.
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