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What is Energy? 

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"Energy is defined as the ability to work."
"Work is defined as the transfer of energy."


What is energy?  Simply put, in physics, it is the ability to do work.  Objects can have energy by virtue of their motion (kinetic energy),  position (potential energy) or mass.  Energy is a property of objects which can be transferred to other objects or converted into different forms.

Have you ever watched a fire closely - logs burning - and wondered what exactly was happening to the wood to release warmth?  Energy is all around us and takes many forms.


There are two main types of energy:  Kinetic and Potential

Kinetic Energy - is energy that is in motion.  Wind and moving water are good examples of kinetic energy.

Potential Energy - This is stored energy that is measured in the amount of "work" that it does.  Examples include coal sitting in a warehouse or water in a lake.  This energy, if released, would do a lot of work.

Keep in mind, that energy can change from one form to another.


Some examples of forms of energy include:  

Electrical - energy is created from the movement of electrons;

Chemical - energy that comes from how atoms & molecules interact; it comes from chemical reactions;

Gravity - gravitational pull is another form of energy;

Heat - thermal energy comes form molecules of different temperatures interacting; heat pushes energy into motion;

Light - radiant energy from the sun;

Mechanical - energy of motion Eg. mechanical energy is the wind as it turns a windmill;

Motion - kinetic energy comes from anything that is moving;

Nuclear - energy from splitting atoms known as nuclear fission.


Energy is either renewable or nonrenewable.

, of course, are forms of energy that can be replenished.  Examples are wind power from windmills and solar power from the sun.

Nonrenewable forms of energy are those that we will eventually run out of - things like fossil fuels - oil, natural gas, and coal.  Fossil fuels are those that have been formed from the fossils of dead plants and animals over millions of years.  Coal is used to fire up power plants - once we have mined all the coal, there is no more.  Unfortunately, we still get most of our energy from nonrenewable energy sources.


Sources of Energy -

Renewable Energy includes:  biomass fuels, geothermal, hydro, nuclear (uranium), ocean tidal & waver power, solar power and the wind, to name a few.

Nonrenewable resources are things like coal, natural gas, oil/petroleum.


What kinds of energy did Ontarians use in 2014?


Ontario Energy Supply Mix 2014
Independent Electricity System Operator Statistics

2014 Year

Nuclear 62%
Hydro 24%
Gas/Oil 10%
Wind 4%
Coal < 1%
Biofuel <1%
Solar <1%

"Copyright 2015 Independent Electricity System Operator, all rights reserved. This information is subject to the general terms of use set out in the IESO's website ("

Note:  Coal generation in Ontario is close to being completely phased out.
These statistics are values for IESO market participants grouped by their primary fuel types.  Some embedded solar or wind generation is not reflected in these statistics.


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What is Energy?




"If it weren't for electricity, 
we'd all be watching
 television by candlelight."

~ George Gobel ~










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