Electric energy sources

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Electric Energy Sources

Electric energy is not readily available in nature. And therefore we are in need to generate electric energy from natural sources. Electric energy generation is the conversion of other kinds of energy, mainly primary energy, into electric energy.

Generally, the process of generating electricity goes through several transformations, as there is little primary energy directly convertible into electric energy. The primary sources for the generation of electric energy are listed below,

Coal Solar energy

Oil Wind energy

Natural gas Tidal energy

Nuclear energy Thermal energy

Types of sources available for electric energy

Generally two types of  energy sources are available in nature. They are

  • Renewable  sources
  • Non renewable  sources

Renewable Energy Sources

  • Renewable  sources are infinite source in nature.
  • Renewable  sources are not likely to run out.
  • Renewable  sources can begin again.
  • Some of  the examples of  Renewable energy sources are,

    • Solar energy
    • Wind energy
    • Hydro energy
    • Bio fuel

Non Renewable Energy Sources

  • Non Renewable sources are the finite sources that occur in nature.
  • It does not renew itself
  • As time passes on, non renewable  sources gets depleted.
  • Some of  the examples of  Non Renewable sources are,

    • Coal
    • Oil
    • Fossil fuels

Need for sources for the production of electric energy

Electric energy is not readily available in nature. We need a primary energy in order to get electric energy. Electric energy cannot be created nor destroyed but it can be transferred from one form to another form.

Hence in order to get electric energy some primary energy must be converted to electrical energy. Some of the examples showing how energy sources are used for the production of electric energy is explained below.

Solar energy source

  • Solar electric energy is created by using Photovoltaic (PV) technology by converting solar energy into solar electricity from sunlight.
  • Photovoltaic systems use sunlight to power ordinary electrical equipment, for example, household appliances, computers and lighting.
  • The photovoltaic (PV) process converts free solar energy - the most abundant energy source on the planet - directly into solar power.
  • A PV cell consists of two or more thin layers of semi-conducting material, most commonly silicon.
  • When the silicon is exposed to light, electrical charges are generated and this can be conducted away by metal contacts as direct current (DC).
  • The electrical output from a single cell is small, so multiple cells are connected together and encapsulated (usually behind glass) to form a module (sometimes referred to as a “panel”).
  • The PV module is the principle building block of a PV system and any number of modules can be connected together to give the desired electrical output.
  • PV equipment has no moving parts and as a result requires minimal maintenance.
  • It generates solar electric energy without producing emissions of greenhouse or any other gases, and its operation is virtually silent.

Nuclear power to Electric Energy

Nuclear plants use uranium fuel to produce electricity from a process called fission. Two types of Uranium fuel is used. U-238 and U-235. Uranium fuel is mostly made up of U-238 but U-235 splits easily (fission) and therefore it is unstable. So when the nuclei splits, they release neutrons. These neutrons hit other nearby uranium atoms causing it to also split and release their neutrons alongside heat energy also.The neutrons then hit other atoms causing them to split and release their neutrons and energy and so on. The fission chain continues. Rods, called control rods are used to control this fission reaction. The heat energy produced from this fission reaction is used to heat up water and produce steam which in turn drives a turbine, that spins a generator to produce electricity.


Electricity can be made from both renewable and nonrenewable sources. Nonrenewable sources include the burning of fossil fuels, coal which are often burnt to produce electricity. But these are rapidly running out, so sometime in the future we cannot depend on these sources to produce electricity so what do we use?

As a solution of the non-renewable sources of energy is the renewable sources of energy that can be used to make electricity this include solar power and hydropower and wind energy to produce electricity without producing carbon dioxide emissions. The use of renewable sources are an alternative that can be used when the non-renewable sources are scarce.

Points to Remember

  • Electric energy cannot be created not destroyed.
  • Electric energy can transform form one form to another form of energy.
  • Hence primary energy sources are needed to produce electric energy.
  • Two types of energy sources, renewable and non renewable energy source.
  • Since non renewable energy sources are depleting , future electric energy needs can be satistified by renewable energy sources

Other types of Electric energy