Energy Sources and Demands

Many things around us require energy to work and energy can be used by transferring it to different energy stores. Energy resources can produce heat, move objects, produce electricity and much more.

Throughout most of human history, humans used wood as a primary source of energy. We burn wood to keep ourselves warm and cook food. Although there has been a drastic change over the past few centuries.

Most countries now rely on large amounts of non-renewable energy resources including coal, oil and natural gas. They are also known as fossil fuels. However, there has been a significant shift towards renewable energy sources over the past few centuries. These include:

  • Wind energy
  • Solar energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Hydro-electric energy
  • Wave energy
  • Tidal energy

What This Energy Is Used For

In the UK, most of our energy is used for domestic purposes or transport. Domestic uses include cooking and heating.


Our primary energy source for heating is natural gas, which we use to heat the water that flows through our piping system. The hot water is pumped into our radiators and heat energy is transferred into the room, to keep it warm.

  • Although coal can also be used for heating, by burning it in fireplaces.

There are also renewable sources of heating, such as solar water heating systems and geothermal heat pumps.

Solar water heaters are fitted on your roof. They collect heat energy from the sun and use it to heat water to the temperature you want. The hot water can then be pumped into the radiators to heat up rooms in your house.


Oil and coal are both non-renewable energy resources used to power vehicles. Road vehicles mainly rely on petrol and diesel, whereas planes rely on kerosene, but they are all made from fossil fuels.

  • Although recently, there has been an increase in the use of electric cars.

Historically, both coal and wood were used to power trains. Nowadays, trains primarily use diesel and electric power, with some still using steam.

Sources of electricity

The source of electricity, whether renewable or non-renewable, depends on how it is generated. The main sources of electricity in the UK are:

  • Gas
  • Coal
  • Nuclear
  • Renewables

Recently, there has been an increase in the use of biofuels, which is a renewable source made from plants.

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