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The Energy Portal
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Welcome to Wikipedia's energy portal, your gateway to the subject of energy and its effect on the world around us.

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Introduction

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Energy is a set of physics measures. Popularly the term is most often used in the context of energy as a technology: energy resources, their consumption, development, depletion, and conservation. Biologically, bodies rely on food for energy in the same sense as industry relies on manmade infrastructures to continue functioning. Since economic activities such as manufacturing and transportation can be energy intensive, energy efficiency, energy dependence, energy security and price are key concerns. Increased awareness of the effects of global warming has led to international debate and action for the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions, like many previous energy use patterns it is changing not due to depletion or supply constraints but due to problems with waste or extraction.

In the context of natural science, energy can take several different forms: thermal, chemical, electrical, radiant, nuclear, etc. These are often grouped as being either kinetic energy or potential energy. Many of these forms can be readily transformed into another with the help of a device; from chemical energy to electrical energy using a battery, for example. Most energy available for human use ultimately comes from the sun which generates it with nuclear fusion. The enormous potential for fusion and other basic nuclear reactions is expressed by the famous equation E = mc2. However, the types of fusion contemplated on Earth are not capable of releasing anywhere near the theoretical maximum available at 100% conversion of matter to energy. Nor would it happen quickly. Nor would there be any guarantee that vast energy sources would not be used for war or ecosystem disruption. So energy conserving strategies will remain the primary and central way in which people resolve energy supply or distribution constraints: Physically, the watt not used is always by definition the safest to rely on, the easiest to supply and the cheapest to consume, and it always will be. The laws of thermodynamics forbid any more effective strategy than conservation from working better. All nature's diverse life forms have bodies that reflect energy conservation as one, if not the, primary constraint: In energy terms, all bodies are at maximum entropy at their surface where they shed the excess heat they generate as a function of being alive.

The concepts of energy and its transformations are useful in explaining natural processes on larger scales: Meteorological phenomena like wind, rain, lightning and tornadoes all result from energy transformations brought about by solar energy on the planet. Life itself is critically dependent on biological energy transformations; organic chemical bonds are constantly broken and made to make the exchange and transformation of energy possible. Read more...

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Photovoltaic array
Photovoltaics, or PV for short, is a technology that converts light directly into electricity. Photovoltaics is also the field of study relating to this technology and there are many research institutes devoted to work on photovoltaics. Due to the growing need for solar energy, the manufacture of solar cells and solar photovoltaic array has expanded dramatically in recent years. Photovoltaic production has been doubling every two years, increasing by an average of 48 percent each year since 2002, making it the world’s fastest-growing energy technology. At the end of 2007, according to preliminary data, cumulative global production was 12,400 megawatts. Roughly 90% of this generating capacity consists of grid-tied electrical systems. Such installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or building integrated. Financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity and net metering, have supported solar PV installations in many countries including Germany, Japan, and the United States. Read more...

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Photo credit: NASA/TRACE
Plasma being channeled by the magnetic feld loops of a sunspot.


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Did you know?

  • Despite declines in production in recent years, Victoria still produces almost 20% of Australia's crude oil?
  • 4.26 million tonnes of the sun are converted to energy every second by nuclear fusion?

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Selected biography

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John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839May 23, 1937) was a controversial American industrialist who revolutionized the oil industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. He is often regarded as the richest person in history.

Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870 and ran it until he retired in the late 1890s. He continued to retain his stock and his title as president until 1911, when the company was broken up for carrying out illegal monopoly practices. The new companies formed included the predecessors of Conoco, Amoco, Chevron, Esso, Mobil and Sohio. Rockefeller, who had rarely sold shares, owned stock in all of them. As gasoline had grown in importance his wealth had soared and he became the world's richest man and the first billionaire.

Rockefeller's fortune was used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy with foundations that had a major impact on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research, and was instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever. At his death, at the age of 98, Rockefeller's remaining fortune was estimated at $1.4 billion. As a percentage of the United States economy, no other American fortune has ever come close. Read more...


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Energy news


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Quotations


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Related portals

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WikiProjects

WikiProjects connected with energy:

  • WikiProject Energy
  • Oil megaprojects task force


Other WikiProjects that may be of interest:

  • WikiProject Environment
  • WikiProject Technology
  • WikiProject Biography
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Associated Wikimedia

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