Not even a single day can be imagined without the use of energy. We can say that all economic activities in the country will come to a standstill if it does not have access to different sources of energy. Thus, energy is the most important component of the economic infrastructure of a country. It is vital for a country’s growth and development. Sources of energy can be divided into three bases.
- On the basis of the nature of the transaction
- On the basis of conventionality
- On the basis of transformation
Sources of Energy
Sources of Energy on the Basis of the Nature of the Transaction
Commercial sources: These sources of energy are available to users at some price. The energy derived from these sources is generally used for commercial production purposes. Coal, petroleum, natural gas, electricity, and hydropower are examples of commercial sources of energy. Other than hydropower, all the others are exhaustible sources of energy.
Non-commercial sources: These sources of energy are generally available free of cost to users. Such sources of energy do not have any recognized market. The energy derived from these sources is used for domestic consumption purposes. Firewood, agricultural waste, and animal waste (like cow dung) are examples of non-commercial sources of energy.
Sources of Energy on the Basis of Conventionality
Conventional sources of Energy:
These sources of energy have been known and used by us for a long time. The important conventional sources of energy are given below.
Coal: It is the most important conventional source of energy in India. It contributes to over 65% of the total energy production in the country. Coal India Limited and Singrani Coal Company are the two main coal producers in India. Coal is used by thermal power stations, steel plants, railways, fertilizer factories, cement factories, etc. Although coal production in India takes place at a large scale, the produced coal is of such quality that it generates very little heat and leaves a lot of ash.
Petroleum: It is a basic input in the transportation and manufacturing sectors. India is not rich in oil and petroleum reserves. A large portion of the demand for petroleum is fulfilled by imports from other countries, particularly the Gulf States.
Natural gas: In India, natural gas reserves are found in Mumbai, Gujarat, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan. It is a basic input in the fertilizer and petroleum-products industries. Besides, it is also widely used in households as cooking gas in the form of LPG. Nowadays, natural gas in the form of CNG and LPG is also being used as fuels for vehicles.
Electricity: It is the most useful source of energy in India. The three basic sources of generating electricity or power are thermal energy, hydroelectric energy, and nuclear energy.
Non-conventional sources of Energy:
These sources of energy have been discovered in the recent past and their use is yet to gain popularity. The important non-conventional sources of energy are given below.
Solar energy: This is the energy derived from the sun. The use of solar energy is slowly gaining popularity in India. Solar energy products such as solar lamps and solar water heaters are now being increasingly used. It is an environmentally friendly and clean source of energy.
Wind energy: This is the energy derived from moving air or wind. Rural wind energy farms have been making use of this energy for many years. In recent years, wind energy has gained immense popularity worldwide. Efforts are being made to make wind power generators more efficient and practical.
Bioenergy: This is the energy derived from living organisms and organic matter. It comprises biogas and biomass energy. Biogas is obtained from gobar gas produced from cow dung. Biogas is an important source of energy and is used as cooking fuel. Biomass is obtained from plants. An advantage of using biomass is that it encourages afforestation.
Geothermal energy: In the word “geothermal”, geo means “earth” and thermal means “heat”. So, this is the energy derived from the heat present inside the earth.
Tidal energy: This is the energy derived from tides (i.e. the periodic rise and fall of the sea level under the gravitational pull of the moon).
Sources of Energy on the Basis of Transformation
Primary sources: These are natural sources of energy that need not be transformed into any other form before using them as inputs in the production process. These can be further classified as renewable and non-renewable sources of energy.
Renewable sources: These are sources of energy that can get renewed or replenished quickly. Renewable sources of energy are environmentally friendly. Solar energy and wind energy are renewable sources of energy.
Non-renewable sources: These are sources of energy that cannot get renewed or replenished quickly. Their replenishment can take millions of years. Non-renewable sources of energy can adversely affect the environment. Fossil fuels and coal are non-renewable sources of energy.
Final sources: These are sources of energy that are used as final products. For example, electricity is a final source of energy.
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