- Energy and the Environment
- Tiki’s Guide to Energy
- Pearson Science: Energy Sources
- CSIRO fact sheet: energy
- CSIRO fact sheet: coal
- CSIRO fact sheet: petroleum
- CSIRO fact sheet: lp gas
Most of our electricity comes from power stations that use
fossil fuels like coal and oil.
The power stations burn the fossil fuels to make our electricity
and in that process a LOT of greenhouse gas is made, including
carbon dioxide and methane. This is why they are called
dirty sources of energy.
It is the greenhouse gases that are causing the Earth’s
atmosphere to warm, which scientists tell us will cause the climate
to change. It is understood that this will cause more extreme
weather, the spread of diseases and threaten the habitat of all
Check out the Future Sparks page on climate change
Coal, oil and gas are non-renewable
sources of energy because we can only use what is available and
once they have been used up, that’s it!
- Australian Government Clean Energy Future website
- BTN story – Carbon
- Clean energy cuts emissions
Watch video now
Moving towards a clean energy world
We have already found ways to tap into
the energy of the sun, wind, waves and water, amongst other
These sources of energy produce only
very small amounts of greenhouse gas once operating, if any at all
– now that’s clean!
They are also renewable which means
they can be used over and over again.
Solar, wind and water are examples of clean energy sources we
have started to use. You can read a brief explanation of them
below and then check out others in the Inspiration section.
The challenge is finding ways to reduce the greenhouse gas
emissions when dirty energy sources are used to make power and
develop the clean energy industry so it supplies more and more of
the energy we use.
Government are exploring
lots of different ways to help. One of these makes companies
who pollute pay for their pollution. Other ideas include big
projects to help such as tree plantations and encouraging people to
use less energy.
Don’t forget to check out the Glossary pages if there are
any words or concepts you don’t understand and you can read more
about Earth’s resources and energy sources in Pearson Science
3.1 and 7:
More information on a range of clean energy sources and
the latest, most exciting developments is in the Inspiration
section. There we explore the developments being made to
make clean energy more efficient as well as whole new, exciting
(sometimes wacky) ideas.
- Clean Energy fact sheets and Bernard Caleo video
Clean energy video
The Clean Energy Council holds an annual event, called Clean
Energy Week to explain the different ways we can produce clean
Bernard Caleo, a really cool and funny guy, explains some of the
different renewable energy technologies as part of the Clean Energy
Week Education Program last year in Melbourne.
- Fact sheet: Wind energy
- Science Online: Renewable energy
Wind energy is actually caused by the sun warming up the air.
You can read more about this process in the fact sheets linked
Humans have been using the energy of the wind for centuries.
Windmills have been used to mill wheat and pump water.
These days we use huge wind turbines and group them together in
wind farms to harness the energy of the wind to make
There is discussion in the community about wind farms in
Australia. Some people are ‘for’ and some people are ‘against’.
Read more in the Inspirations section
of the website.
- Fact sheet: Solar PV
- Fact sheet: Solar thermal
- Fact sheet: Solar Hot Water
Watch video now
Solar means sun and Australia is the sunniest place on the
planet, which is good news.
We can use the energy from the sun in a number of ways.
Until recently, systems to use solar energy were very expensive
and the technology was only capable of using a small percentage of
For more background on solar and how it works take a look at the
fact sheet links.
There are some new developments with solar that are ingenius.
Take a look at them in the Inspiration section of the website.
- Pearson Science 7: 3.3 The water cycle
- Pearson Science: Water management
Watch video now
Watch video now
There are so many ways to harness the energy of water.
Wave, tides, ocean thermals and flowing rivers all have energy
that we can use
Australia has a great history in hydro-electricity with the
Snowy River scheme still the biggest engineering project in our
Download Peason’s chapter on water to learn more.
Harnessing the energy of waves, tides and ocean thermals is
still developing with some ingenius developments being trialled
here in Australia.
Take a look in the Inspiration section to find out more about
the energy in water. For more information about the water cycle and
water management, check out the Pearson Science chapters.