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Non-renewable Energy Definition

Non-renewable energy comes from sources that can't be easily replenished. For example, coal is formed from prehistoric plants over millions of years.

View Lesson on Renewable vs. Nonrenewable Resources
Grades 3-5 VideoRenewable vs. Nonrenewable Resources player orange
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Renewable vs. Nonrenewable Resources

Fun Facts

  • Coal is burned to create heat or electricity.
  • Oil is used to produce gasoline.
  • Natural gas can be used for cooking and heating.

Why Do We Need To Know About Non-renewable Energy

Learning about non-renewable energy like coal, oil, and natural gas helps us understand how our world works. These energy sources are important because they power our cars, keep our homes warm, and give us electricity, which we need every day. Because we use these energy sources so much, there are many jobs in this area. This includes jobs in making cars and working at power plants.

Since there’s a limited amount of these energy sources, we also need people to work on finding new kinds of energy that won’t run out, figuring out how to protect the environment, and doing science research. This shows why jobs in both non-renewable and renewable energy are important.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do different types of fuels create different types of energy?
All types of fuels can be burned for energy. Burning coal, oil and natural gas produces heat, which is then converted to other energy forms, like electricity.
Are energy sources unlimited?
Some energy sources are more limited than others. Coal, oil and natural gas are used a lot right now but they could run out in only a few generations. Renewable sources like wind, sunlight, biomass, geothermal, and water power can be easily renewed and are almost unlimited!
Why are renewable energy sources important for Earth’s future?
If we are still dependent on non-renewable energy sources when they run out, we will not have enough energy to meet our needs.
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