Energy Forms

Energy Forms

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson will explain the advantages and disadvantages of generating electricity from various forms of energy.

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Energy in the form of electrical energy can be captured a variety of different ways.  For each method of generating electricity, there are advantages and disadvantages.


Fossil Fuels

Fuel produced from the organic remains of plants and animals.  Coal, oil, and gas are examples of fossil fuels.



Fossil fuels are easy to find and can be transported easily through pipelines or by train.


Coal burning in power plants is very cost effective.



Fossil fuels produce pollution in the form of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide pollutants are linked to global warming and acid rain.


Coal mining can cause habitat destruction in a wide range of land and crude oil can cause habitat destruction in the form of oil spills.


Nuclear Fission

In nuclear fission, the nucleus of an atom is split apart in order to produce energy.



Nuclear power doesn't produce carbon dioxide.


Nuclear fission can produce a huge amount of energy from a small amount of fuel.



Nuclear waste resulting from nuclear power plants is harmful and must be kept safe from earthquakes, flooding, and ground water.


Nuclear power plants can produce nuclear disasters where radiation being released has negative consequences for people and the environment.


Renewable Energy

Energy that comes from renewable sources like sunlight, wind, tides, and rain is called renewable energy.



Renewable energy sources are sustainable and do not run out.


Renewable sources of energy produce little or no chemical pollution.



Renewable energy can alter the habitats of wildlife in the areas where it is established and energy from food crops can raise the cost of food.


The cost of renewable energy is high due to the use of new technology.


Below is an image of a coal power plant that produces energy from fossil fuels.