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What Is Energy? Energy Basics – U S Energy Information

Energy Basics – Energy is the ability to do work

Energy comes in different forms:

  • Heat (thermal)
  • Light (radiant)
  • Motion (kinetic)
  • Electrical
  • Chemical
  • Nuclear energy
  • Gravitational

People use energy for everything from making a jump shot to sending astronauts into space. 

There are two types of energy:

  • Stored (potential) energy
  • Working (kinetic) energy

For example, the food a person eats contains chemical energy, and a person’s body stores this energy until he or she uses it as kinetic energy during work or play.

Energy sources can be categorized as renewable or nonrenewable

When people use electricity in their homes, the electrical power was probably generated by burning coal, by a nuclear reaction, or by a hydroelectric plant on a river, to name just a few sources. Therefore, coal, nuclear, and hydro are called energy sources. When people fill up a gas tank, the source might be petroleum refined from crude oil or ethanol made by growing and processing corn. Continue reading

 

 

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