We are going to talk about energy for a while. Humanity uses energy a few ways. Sometimes we make electricity first and then power things with that. Other times we burn fuel directly to power an engine or a heater. But let’s step back and ask: where does energy come from in the first place?
Shown above are several primary generation methods for making electricity. What’s actually happening is that we are taking energy from somewhere else and converting it to a more useful form.
Fossil fuels like coal or oil have energy stored in the chemical bonds inside them. When we use fossil fuels, we are claiming that energy. Nuclear generation is similar, but it’s from the atomic bonds within the nuclei of the fuel materials.
If a material is high in a gravitational field it also has energy, and that is what we’re claiming with hydroelectric generation. Water up high is being lowered, and we get the energy liberated by lowering it. Wind generation claims the kinetic energy from blowing wind. Solar generation claims the radiation energy emitted by the sun.