Energy 101

Everything requires energy to respire, move, grow and reproduce. Most energy on Earth is originally derived from the sun, the only input into an otherwise closed and self-sustaining system. In physics, energy is defined as the “ability to do work,” and can take on multiple forms. Energy can be converted from one form to another, but there are always losses associated with the conversion (according to the second law of thermodynamics). These forms of energy include:

  • Potential energy
  • Kinetic energy
  • Thermal or heat energy
  • Chemical energy
  • Electric energy
  • Electromagnetic energy
  • Electrochemical energy
  • Sound energy
  • Nuclear or atomic energy

The most recognizable renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels or wind turbines, work by harvesting naturally available forms of energy and converting them into electric energy. Read more.