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Unit 7: Energy Resources and Consumption
Chapters 12+13
Friday 3/1
The Industrial Revolution completely transformed human society and its impact on the environment.
Much of this change came from the increased use of fossil fuels, which enabled humans to enormously
magnify their productive capabilities and increase the quality of life for billions of people around the
planet. Yet these fossil fuels are limited in supply and come with large environmental effects, so their
use is not sustainable in the long-term. At the same time, billions of people around the world
desperately need more cheap energy to improve their standard of living. In this unit, we will investigate
how humans utilize fossil fuels, and investigate alternative, renewable, sustainable sources of energy.
Essential Questions:
1) What are the major human uses for energy, and how does it underpin modern society?
2) How are coal, oil and natural gas extracted and utilized, and to what extent are they sustainable?
3) What steps are necessary to make our society more energy efficient and sustainable?
4) What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass and
hydrogen energy?
Major Topics:
Nonrenewable Energy – Variations in Worldwide Energy Use – Energy Quality & Energy Efficiency –
Electricity Generation – Fossil Fuels – Coal – Petroleum – Natural Gas – “Peak Oil” – Nuclear Fission –
Radioactive Waste & Nuclear Accidents – Renewable Energy – Energy Consumption & Conservation –
Energy Efficiency – Sustainable Design – Biomass Energy (Wood, Charcoal, Ethanol, Biodiesel) –
Hydroelectric Energy – Solar Energy – Geothermal Energy – Wind Energy – Difficulties of Energy Cost and
Storage – The Electricity Grid – A Comprehensive Renewable Energy Strategy
 Describe how energy use and energy resources have varied over time in the US and worldwide.
 Compare the energy efficiencies of the extraction and conversion of different fuels.
 Explain the various means of generating electricity.
 Discuss the uses and consequences of using coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear fuels.
 Describe projections of future supplies of our conventional energy resources.
 Define renewable energy resources.
 Describe strategies to conserve energy and increase energy efficiency.
 Compare and contrast the various forms of biomass energy.
 Explain the advantages and disadvantages of using solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric energy.
 Describe the environmental and economic options we must assess in planning our energy future.