What Is An Interesting Energy Fact For Kids?

Did you know that the sun produces enough energy in one second to power the earth for over 500,000 years? That’s an incredible amount of energy that comes just from our sun! This fun fact shows how powerful and plentiful renewable energy sources like solar can be.

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. When these prehistoric plants and animals died, they sank to the bottom of seas, swamps and bogs where they were buried under layers of sediment and sand over time. The heat and pressure from these sediment layers turned the organic matter into fossil fuels.

Coal was formed from ancient plant matter that was buried deep underground. Over millions of years, the plant matter was exposed to heat and pressure which transformed it into coal. Oil and natural gas were created in a similar way from marine organisms like algae and plankton that lived in ancient seas. When these tiny organisms died, they accumulated on the sea floor and were buried by sediment. Under high pressure and temperatures, their remains were slowly cooked into oil and gas deposits.

The fossil fuel formation process takes an incredibly long time, usually millions of years. That’s why fossil fuels are considered non-renewable – they take so long to form that we can’t realistically make more on a human timescale. The fossil fuels we use today come from organic matter that lived hundreds of millions of years ago during the Carboniferous Period for coal and the Jurassic Period for oil and gas.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy comes from natural sources that are constantly replenished, such as sunlight, wind, water, and geothermal heat. Some of the main renewable energy sources are:

Solar Energy

The sun provides an enormous amount of energy in the form of radiation that can be harnessed using solar panels to generate electricity. Solar energy is clean, renewable, and available everywhere the sun shines.

Wind Energy

Wind turbines capture the kinetic energy from wind and convert it into electricity. Wind power is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources in the world.


Hydropower generates electricity by using turbines to capture the energy from moving water. Hydroelectric dams provide a stable source of electricity in many parts of the world.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is generated from the radiation from the sun. Solar panels, also called photovoltaic (PV) cells, convert sunlight into electricity. They are made of silicon, a semiconductor material. When sunlight hits the silicon cells, the photons from the light energize the electrons in the silicon, causing them to flow and produce electricity. The PV cells are wired together into solar panels.

The more intense the sunlight that hits a solar panel, the more electricity that will be produced. Many solar panels today have tracking devices that allow them to follow the sun throughout the day, ensuring they maintain optimal sunlight exposure. Solar farms with thousands of solar panels are built in sunny locations like deserts to maximize solar electricity generation.

While solar only works during daylight hours, excess solar electricity can be stored in batteries for use at night. Solar energy is very renewable and clean – no ongoing fuel is needed and no greenhouse gases are emitted during operation. As solar panel technology improves and costs fall, solar power is becoming one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources worldwide.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources in the world. Here are some interesting facts about wind turbines and wind power:

  • Modern wind turbines can be over 600 feet tall – that’s taller than the Washington Monument!
  • The blades on a wind turbine can be over 150 feet long – longer than a jumbo jet’s wingspan.
  • One wind turbine can power between 300-600 average homes each year.
  • Wind turbines don’t use any fuel for operation and don’t produce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The inside of a wind turbine contains a lift mechanism and gears that turn the rotational motion of the blades into electrical energy.
  • Offshore wind farms located in bodies of water like oceans and lakes can capture stronger and more consistent winds.
  • Wind turbine technicians are one of the fastest growing careers in the renewable energy industry.
  • China has the most wind power capacity in the world, followed by the United States.


One of the most interesting sources of renewable energy is hydroelectricity. Hydroelectric dams are built on rivers to capture the energy from flowing water. Dams hold back large reservoirs of water that build up potential energy. When the gates of the dam are opened, water rushes through tunnels in the dam, turning huge turbines connected to generators. The fast-spinning turbines cause the generators to produce electricity!

The amount of electricity that can be generated depends on how far the water falls. The higher the dam, the more gravitational potential energy the water has to turn the turbines. Some hydroelectric dams are incredibly massive engineering projects built hundreds of feet tall to maximize their electricity production.

Hydroelectric power is an important source of renewable electricity around the world. It provides over 16% of the world’s electricity. Building hydroelectric dams and reservoirs provides clean power without any fuel required or pollution produced. It’s one of the oldest and most reliable forms of renewable energy.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy comes from the heat inside the Earth. The word “geo” means Earth, while “thermal” means heat. About 4-6 miles below the Earth’s surface, the rocks are very hot – sometimes up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit! This heat is caused by decay of radioactive particles, leftover heat from when the planet formed, and heat caused by the slow breakdown of minerals in rocks.

To use this heat for energy, wells can be drilled into underground reservoirs of steam and hot water. This geothermal fluid is brought to the surface and used to power turbines that create electricity. Geothermal power plants are built where these geothermal reservoirs already exist near the Earth’s surface. Hot dry rock geothermal energy systems can also pump water down to hot rocks, producing steam.

Geothermal energy is considered a renewable resource because the water is replenished by rainfall and the heat is continuously produced inside the Earth. This clean energy source generates only small amounts of emissions and very little waste. Geothermal energy is used for electricity generation, heating buildings, growing plants in greenhouses, drying crops, and more.


biofuels like ethanol made from corn can provide renewable transportation fuel.
One interesting way to make energy is by turning plants into fuel, called biofuels. Plants like corn, soybeans, and algae can be processed into liquid fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is blended with gasoline to power cars and trucks. Biodiesel can power diesel engines in trucks, buses and other vehicles.

The cool thing is that biofuels come from renewable crops that can be grown again and again. So we don’t have to worry about running out of them like we do with fossil fuels. The downside is that growing crops for biofuels requires a lot of land and resources. So scientists are looking for ways to get biofuels from non-food plants grown on marginal land that isn’t used to grow food. Algae is especially promising because it grows quickly and doesn’t require high quality farmland. One day we may be able to fuel our cars and trucks with algae!

Energy Conservation

Kids can help save energy at home in many simple ways. Here are some tips for conserving energy:

  • Turn off lights, TVs, computers and other electronics when you leave a room. Don’t leave devices plugged in and drawing power when not in use.

  • Take shorter showers instead of baths, and turn off the water when brushing teeth or washing hands.

  • Unplug phone and other chargers when not in use. Chargers still use energy even when nothing is connected.

  • Open windows for natural light and fresh air instead of always relying on lights and air conditioning.

  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Heating the water uses a lot of energy.

  • Close doors and windows when the heat or air conditioning is on. Don’t let cooled or heated air escape.

  • Ask parents to replace old appliances and light bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified energy efficient models.

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It takes a lot of energy to produce meat.

With some simple daily habits, kids can make a real difference in reducing energy use at home. Saving energy helps the environment and saves families money too!

The Future of Energy

The future of energy looks bright as new renewable technologies emerge and become more affordable and efficient. Some emerging renewable energy sources that kids may see more of in the future include:

  • Solar paint – This is paint that can absorb sunlight and generate electricity from it. It may one day be used to turn entire buildings into solar energy generators!
  • Artificial photosynthesis – This process uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be used as a clean fuel source.
  • Wave and tidal power – New technologies are allowing us to generate electricity from the motion of ocean waves and tides.
  • Enhanced geothermal – New techniques like hydraulic fracturing can enable geothermal power production in areas previously unsuitable.
  • Floating wind turbines – Turbines placed offshore where winds are stronger and steadier can generate more electricity than land-based ones.

As these new energy sources advance, kids may live in a world powered entirely by clean, renewable energy!

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