Types of Energy

There are two types of energy:

  • Kinetic (or energy in motion)
  • Potential (or stored energy)

Kinetic Energy… is energy in motion.

Any object in motion is using kinetic energy. For example, when you throw a baseball – when the baseball is “moving” that’s the kinetic energy. Moving water and wind are examples of kinetic energy. Electricity is kinetic energy because even though you can't see it happen, electricity involves electrons moving in a conductor..

Potential Energy… is stored energy (or latent).

Potential energy is stored energy that can then be converted to kinetic energy. A gallon of gasoline or a barrel of oil contains stored energy that can be released when we burn it. A lake in the mountains contains "stored" energy because, if it were released, it would do a lot of work on objects caught in its path. When we talk about oil, coal, wood, or gas, we are talking about "stored" energy.