The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Global energy sources

In this worksheet, students explore how electricity can be generated, looking at renewable and non-renewable sources.

'Global energy sources' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Physics: Electricity

Curriculum subtopic:  Domestic Supply

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

You may have seen an electricity meter in your house, they will look like one of the two below. This is because it costs money to make electricity – and how much it costs will depend on how the energy is generated. If it comes from a cheap source like bringing gas, then it will cost less – but expensive sources like Nuclear will cost more.

 

 
When we look at all of the different ways of generating electricity we can see they all have one thing in common (apart from solar) – it’s all about moving a generator around in circles. All of the different ways of doing this have a drawback and that is what we are going to look at now.
 
Non - renewable
This means that they can only be used once and never again - you cannot renew them. 
 
Type of energy generation Advantages Disadvantages
Coal

Really easy to get quite a lot of energy out of it. 

There is a load of coal in the UK.

Very efficient (about 50%)

Very polluting - the most polluting type of energy generation.

make not only greenhouse gases but also Nitrogen oxides and Sulfur oxides that make acid rain.

Also, make particulate pollution that can cause asthma.

Very hard to make it completely clean.

We will run out of coal one day. 

Oil

Much cleaner than coal.

Can make more energy than coal.

Much safer than coal. 

Not a lot of it in the UK.

still produces a lot of carbon dioxide contributing to the greenhouse effect. 

We will run out of oil one day. 

Nuclear

Very safe.

Produces the most energy of any of the methods.

Only need a small amount of nuclear fuel to make it work.  

If things go wrong, then this could be a major, long lasting disaster (Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima Daiichi are examples here).

Nuclear waste is produced - this is a long-lasting (35,000 years) natural pollutant.

Requires 'refining' of uranium that could then be used for making bombs.

We will run out of Uranium one day.

 

 

Renewable
This means that they can be used over and over again - you can renew them. 
 
Type of energy generation Advantages Disadvantages
Solar

Produces no pollution.

Can be used anywhere it is needed.

Relatively easy to make. 

Only works during the day (duh).

Can be expensive to fit.

Requires regular cleaning to make sure that there is no blocking of the light. 

Wind

Produces no pollution. 

Makes quite a lot of energy.

Can be placed 'offshore' to make more energy

Only works if there is wind.

Can kill local wildlife including birds and bats. 

Eyesore and noisy for people who live near them. 

Hydro (Includes dams, tidal and wave).

Can be switched on and off to cope with demand. 

Produces no pollution. 

Often destroys a large area of natural habitats to make them. 

Blocking rivers makes it hard for wildlife such as salmon to reach breeding grounds. 

Biomass

Uses waste that humans naturally make from farming to generate electricity. 

Easy to do because it is just like coal and oil. 

Doesn't make as much energy as coal or oil. 

Smells - well you are burning cow poo.

Still produces pollutants like particulates and carbon dioxide. 

 

You need to be able to look at these options and critically decide which is the best solution in a given situation based on the advantages and disadvantages. 

 

Take a look at this - it might help you to remember how to decide.

 

which of these is non-renewable? 

Wind

Nuclear

Hydro

Which of these is renewable? 

Coal

Oil

Biomass

Which of these is a drawback of fossil fuels? Check all that apply.

Crates pollution

Only works when the sun is out

We will run out one day.

Can be a danger to birds and bats.

We have access to a lot of coal in the UK

If you lived on an island with 3 big rivers, 1 farm and it was always cloudy, how would you choose to generate your power? 

Wind

Hydroelectric

Solar

What are the disadvantages of solar? 

Needs to be cleaned regularly

Only works during the night

Only works if it is windy.

Nuclear fuel is the safest way of generating electricity, but there are several concerns people have over nuclear fuel based on the disasters of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima Diiachi. What are the main concerns that people have with nuclear reactors? Tick all the boxes that apply.

Nuclear waste is long lived and highly dangerous.

Nuclear power makes more energy than any other form.

In the event of a problem, nuclear material can spread into the environment causing cancer

Nuclear power stations can only be placed on the coast.

We don't know how to safely store the nuclear waste.

What affects how much the energy companies charge you for electricity? 

How windy it is on that day

How the energy is generated.

How much the sun is out

How much nuclear fuel is left in the world

What are the three types of hydro generators? 

Geothermal

Wave

Solar

Coal

Oil

Dam

Tidal

What is commonly burned in a biomass powerplant? 

Coal

Animal Dung

Plant remains

Pulp (wood chips)

What alternative source of energy does uranium provide?

hydroelectricity

nuclear power

solar power

  • Question 1

which of these is non-renewable? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Nuclear
EDDIE SAYS
Nuclear power depends on nuclear fuel - or Uranium. When we run out of Uranium, then we will not be able to use nuclear fuel any more. This means it is non-renewable.
  • Question 2

Which of these is renewable? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Biomass
EDDIE SAYS
Biomass is renewable because it is made by the environment - as long as we have farms, we will have runoff that can be used again and again.
  • Question 3

Which of these is a drawback of fossil fuels? Check all that apply.

CORRECT ANSWER
Crates pollution
We will run out one day.
EDDIE SAYS
All fossil fuels will make pollution and they will all run out one day. We need to be ready with renewables before this happens so that we can continue to live our lives the way we have been living then so far.
  • Question 4

If you lived on an island with 3 big rivers, 1 farm and it was always cloudy, how would you choose to generate your power? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Hydroelectric
EDDIE SAYS
Hydroelectric is the best way to generate power here as you can use the river to make the energy.
  • Question 5

What are the disadvantages of solar? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Needs to be cleaned regularly
EDDIE SAYS
Dust collecting on the solar pannes means that they will not work as well as they should be and so they need to be regularly cleaned to make sure that they are generating enough electricity.
  • Question 6

Nuclear fuel is the safest way of generating electricity, but there are several concerns people have over nuclear fuel based on the disasters of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima Diiachi. What are the main concerns that people have with nuclear reactors? Tick all the boxes that apply.

CORRECT ANSWER
Nuclear waste is long lived and highly dangerous.
In the event of a problem, nuclear material can spread into the environment causing cancer
EDDIE SAYS
Whilst nuclear accidents are major, they are also rare. This hasn't stopped people from being rightly scared of them as they can cause major cancers if you are exposed to the radiation. Our current only solution for dealing with nuclear waste is to bury it deep underground.
  • Question 7

What affects how much the energy companies charge you for electricity? 

CORRECT ANSWER
How the energy is generated.
EDDIE SAYS
The way the energy is generated will affect how much your energy company charge you.
  • Question 8

What are the three types of hydro generators? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Wave
Dam
Tidal
EDDIE SAYS
The three most common types are wave, dam and tidal with dam being the most common of all of them. Just think about the Hoover dam that provides all of Las Vagas with its electricity of the three gorges dam that produces more electricity than 10 oil power stations.
  • Question 9

What is commonly burned in a biomass powerplant? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Animal Dung
Plant remains
Pulp (wood chips)
EDDIE SAYS
Biomass powerplants will burn any bi-product of natural processes and so anything that is natural is burnt in them.
  • Question 10

What alternative source of energy does uranium provide?

CORRECT ANSWER
nuclear power
EDDIE SAYS
Uranium provides nuclear power.
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Start your £1 trial

Start your trial for £1