On this page...
A sneak preview of the Energy content in our Museum2you program, available for hire to communities across NSW.
Energy: Adding fuel to environmental challenges
We use energy for almost everything we do— turning on a light, using the computer or taking a bus. This energy comes from a variety of sources which can all be grouped into two categories: non-renewable and renewable.
Non-renewable energy comes from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form beneath the earth, so they take just as long to replenish themselves. If we continue to use them at our current rate, we will eventually run out.
Burning fossil fuels is the biggest contributor to human-made climate change. The fuels are burned (or combusted) to release the energy they store. However, this process also releases greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Although greenhouse gases occur naturally in the environment, extra gases are gradually making the planet warmer.
Renewable energy comes from natural energy sources such as solar, wind, water or geothermal activity, and are inexhaustible or naturally replenishable.
Unlike non-renewable sources, the generation of energy from renewable sources releases little or no greenhouse gas.
What kind of energy do Australians use?
Currently, 95 per cent of the energy used by Australians comes from non-renewable energy sources. However the declining amounts of fossil fuels and the destructive effects they have on the environment are pushing Australians and people all over the world to consider renewable energy options.