The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, the many types of renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy-are constantly replenished and will never run out.


Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.


The sun's heat also drives the winds, whose energy is captured with wind turbines. The Earth's rotation also contributes to the winds, particularly through the Coriolis effect.


Along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called biomass energy.



Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth's internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production and the heating and cooling of buildings.



Hydrogen can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It's the most abundant element on the Earth. Because energy is always needed to produce hydrogen, it is not an energy source, but a way to store and transport energy, so it is referred to as an energy carrier.



The ocean can produce thermal energy from the sun's heat and mechanical energy from the tides and waves. See the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Savers for basic information on ocean energy.



Flowing water creates energy that can be captured and turned into electricity. This is called hydroelectric power or hydropower. For more information on hydroelectric power, see the hydropower basics from the U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Program.


According to, Emerging Technology is a new technology that is currently being developed, or will be developed within the next five to ten years. The new technology will substantially alter the business and social environment; the technology will include information technology, wireless data communications, man-machine communications, bio-technologies, and advanced robotics.

Content for this section provided in part by, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy.



Ocean Connectors delivers multiyear marine science education programs that achieve lasting, long-term impacts in National City. Ocean Connectors provides free classroom presentations and coastal field trips for 3,000 National City students each year. Programs are focused on different species of migratory marine life and habitats, ocean issues, and conservation themes:

  • 3rd Grade: Paradise Creek Education Project (pilot)

  • 4th Grade: Sea Turtle Discovery

  • 5th Grade: Whale Exploration

  • 6th Grade: Bird and Habitat Study

  • 7th Grade: Shark Investigation Unit


This tiered format helps maintain student interest, as they look forward to studying another species each year, visiting a new habitat, and adding notes in their waterproof science journals. In addition to coastal field trips, teachers participating in Ocean Connectors receive training and a User Guide binder of standards-based environmental lessons and activities that can be used year-round to integrate ocean conservation, answer common questions, and help classes prepare for the field trips.

Students also participate in a “knowledge exchange” with their peers living in Nayarit, Mexico to share information about migratory marine life in the Pacific. Knowledge exchanges create a cross-cultural dialogue promoting stewardship, part of what makes Ocean Connectors unique and impactful for our audience. Students use a different method each year to communicate about conservation including artwork, letters, and short video messages. This helps build a range of skills and draws on the children’s unique talents and interests to help spread environmental awareness throughout the region.


(619) 336-7744



San Diego Futures Foundation strives to improve the lives in San Diego County by making information technology available to underserved populations by providing technology equipment, training, support, IT outsourcing, and digital media services to nonprofit organizations, disadvantaged small businesses, low-income households, people with disabilities, and seniors. SDFF is working hard to bridge the digital division within our community.



4283 El Cajon Blvd #220, San Diego, CA 92105

(619) 269-1684




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