Whoa! Learn: Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Basics

We use energy for just about everything. But did you know that most of the energy that we use today is non-renewable? This means that it is not endless; it will eventually run out! Because renewable energy can eventually run out, we have to be really careful about how much we use! Otherwise, people in the future won't have any energy to do the things we love to do today. Can you imagine what life would be like without being able to turn off the alarm in the morning or surf the internet? That would be pretty hard!

Did you know that only 22% of American energy consumption is residential (meaning that it is used by a household)? The majority of energy consumption in the U.S. comes from industrial, commercial, and transportation uses. Some of the biggest sources of energy for all energy users are petroleum natural gas, and electricity. How do these sources compare? And how are Americans trying to use less energy today? You can learn all about energy sources, as well as energy efficiency, with these printable booklets!

Your Turn! Renewable Energy Activity

How much can you remember from the things you read about in the infobooks above? Do you remember the difference between renewable and non-renewable? Print out this worksheet to see how much you know!

Wind Energy

Wind Energy Basics

Have you ever seen a wind farm? Wind farms are located in really windy places, where machines known as wind turbines are used to harness the wind. Did you know that the energy from wind can be captured to generate electricity in a way that is safe for the environment? As long as the sun shines, there will be wind on the Earth. We will never run out of wind energy! That is because wind energy is renewable.

Where does wind energy come from?

Fun fact! wind blows because of the sun. Wind is produced because the sun heats the Earth's surface unevenly, creating differences in air pressure. You can learn all about how wind comes about, and how modern wind turbines work to generate electricity, with this printable booklet!

Your Turn!

Print out this crossword to test your knowledge of renewable energy terms!

Your Turn! Experiment

Do you know where the most wind can be found around your home? Just print out these instructions and try this fun experiment.

Solar Energy

Solar Energy

You may know that wind energy is a kind of renewable energy. This means that we don't have to worry about it running out, because the wind will always blow as long as the sun is shining! Renewable energy is also good for the environment, because we don't have to worry about using it all up and leaving none for people in the future! Do you know where else we can get renewable energy?

Fun fact! The sun radiates more energy in one second than the world has used since time began. Whoa!

The sun is one big gas ball that radiates energy that eventually reaches the Earth. Solar energy, like wind energy, is renewable, and we don't need to worry about it running out any time soon. Every day enough solar energy reaches the Earth to supply our nation's energy needs for a year! Do you know how we actually capture solar energy to generate electricity?

How do we harness the sun's energy?

You may have heard of a photovoltaic cell ("P.V."), also known as a solar cell, which creates electricity when the sun hits it. You may have even seen panels of photovoltaic cells on rooftops, or even on a solar-powered calculator. There is actually another way to capture electricity, known as a solar thermal system. These systems use the sun's heat—whereas solar cells use light—to produce electricity.

Ever wonder how solar cells, or solar thermal systems, actually work? You can learn all about how we harness the sun's renewable energy with this printable booklet, full of fun facts and diagrams!