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Summary Article: Energy from The SAGE Glossary of the Social and Behavioral Sciences

A system's capacity to do work. While energy is not visible, it is essential to all daily activities and takes on several different forms. The two main forms are known as kinetic and potential energy. Kinetic energy, sometimes referred to as movable energy, refers to the energy a moving object has from its motion. Some of the common known forms of kinetic energy include electrical and thermal energy and sound. Potential energy is energy that is stored in an object. Its name is derived from its ability to change into other forms of energy. Common types of potential energy include chemical and nuclear energy. The two primary sources of energy are renewable and nonrenewable sources. Renewable sources, such as solar energy, are easily replenished, whereas nonrenewable sources, such as petroleum, are limited. These two sources of energy are converted to provide essential secondary sources of energy. The supply and use of both chemical energy and nuclear energy are politically contentious in national and global political and economic relations, and such supplies have been subject to manipulation by energy companies (e.g., the Enron scandal of 2001).

Copyright © 2009 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

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