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5.3: Lesson 5.3: Renewable Energy Resources

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Lesson 5.3: True or False

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Write true if the statement is true or false if the statement is false.

_____ 1. The sun is planet Earth’s main source of energy.

_____ 2. Solar energy has been used by people only since the late 1900s.

_____ 3. A solar cell consists of many solar panels.

_____ 4. Solar power plants use mirrors to focus sunlight.

_____ 5. The technology needed for most uses of solar energy is expensive.

_____ 6. Streams with wide valleys are best for producing hydroelectric power.

_____ 7. Using water power has no negative effects on the environment.

_____ 8. Wind turbines are inexpensive and long lasting.

_____ 9. Some car engines can run on pure vegetable oil.

_____ 10. Geothermal energy can be used without processing.

Lesson 5.3: Critical Reading

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Read this passage based on the text and answer the questions that follow.

Solar Energy

The sun is Earth’s main source of energy, giving us both light and heat. The sun’s energy comes from nuclear fusion, in which hydrogen changes to helium. Nuclear fusion releases huge amounts of energy. The energy travels from the sun to Earth mostly as visible light. It is transferred across empty space by radiation.

When sunlight is used as an energy resource, it is called solar energy. Solar energy has been used on a small scale for hundreds of years. Today, we are starting to use solar energy to generate electricity at solar power plants. These power plants use a large group of mirrors to focus sunlight on a receiver. The focused sunlight heats a liquid such as oil or water to a high temperature. The liquid transfers its heat by conduction. The energy conducted by the heated liquid is used to turn a turbine and generate electricity. Solar power plants are being built in many locations around the world. In the United States, deserts in the southwest are well suited for solar power plants because they receive so much sunlight.

In addition to generating electricity in solar power plants, solar energy is used for other purposes. It is used to heat homes and water and also to generate electricity on a small scale with solar cells. Solar cells are devices that turn sunlight directly into electricity. Many calculators, for example, are powered by solar cells. You may have seen solar panels on the roof of a home. Each solar panel consists of many solar cells that provide electricity for the home. The sun’s heat can also be trapped in a home by using south facing windows and good insulation.

The use of solar energy has many benefits. It does not produce any pollution, and there is plenty of it available. However, solar energy also has problems. The sun doesn't shine at night, so special batteries are needed to store extra energy during the day for use at night. In addition, the technology for most uses of solar energy is still expensive. Until solar technology becomes more affordable, most people will probably continue to use energy from other sources.


  1. Explain how solar energy is used to generate electricity at solar power plants.
  2. What are other uses of solar energy?
  3. Identify pros and cons of solar energy use.

Lesson 5.3: Multiple Choice

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Circle the letter of the correct choice.

  1. If we could harness it, which of the following energy sources could provide all the energy needed by people around the world for billions of years?
    1. wind
    2. water
    3. biomass
    4. geothermal
  2. Solar energy is used to
    1. heat water.
    2. heat homes.
    3. generate electricity.
    4. all of the above
  3. Possible sources of water power include
    1. streams.
    2. waves.
    3. tides.
    4. all of the above
  4. Generally, to harness the power of water flowing in a stream, the stream must be
    1. drained.
    2. dammed.
    3. depleted.
    4. destroyed.
  5. A wind turbine is a device that uses the energy of wind to
    1. grind grain.
    2. pump water.
    3. generate electricity.
    4. all of the above
  6. Which of the following is an advantage of using biofuels?
    1. Growing plants for the fuels uses up carbon dioxide.
    2. Using the fuels does not produce air pollution.
    3. Producing the fuels does not require processing.
    4. all of the above
  7. A geothermal power plant generates electricity with
    1. melted rock.
    2. hot water.
    3. flowing water.
    4. wave energy.

Lesson 5.3: Matching

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Match each definition with the correct term.


_____ 1. fuel made from plants

_____ 2. device that changes sunlight directly to electricity

_____ 3. transfer of energy between two objects that are in contact

_____ 4. transfer of energy through a liquid by currents

_____ 5. source of the sun’s energy

_____ 6. transfer of energy by waves that can travel through matter or across space

_____ 7. electricity produced by harnessing the energy of flowing water


a. conduction

b. nuclear fusion

c. biofuel

d. convection

e. hydroelectric power

f. radiation

g. solar cell

Lesson 5.3: Fill in the Blank

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Fill in the blank with the appropriate term.

  1. The sun produces energy by changing hydrogen to __________.
  2. Energy is transferred from the sun to Earth by __________.
  3. The most widely used form of renewable energy worldwide is moving __________.
  4. Water that is flowing downhill has __________ energy.
  5. The horizontal movement of air over Earth’s surface is called __________.
  6. __________ energy comes from wood, grains, other plant materials, or wastes.
  7. __________ energy comes from hot rocks and magma inside Earth.

Lesson 5.3: Critical Writing

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Thoroughly answer the question below. Use appropriate academic vocabulary and clear and complete sentences.

Electricity can be generated whenever a turbine turns in a power plant. Identify two sources of renewable energy that are used to generate electricity. Explain how each source is used to turn a turbine and generate electricity in a power plant.

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