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The Sources of Energy (From Emile KAHOUN, Lycee Yadega)

Fire, water, wind and oil are important sources of energy. They provide electricity, cook food, and run the machines which manufacture what people need. Because the world's population is increasing, and because industry and technology are growing, additional supplies of energy sources, such as oil and gas, are hard to get and expensive, however. Others are not yet efficient. There fore, the development of alternate sources of energy is an important goal of today's scientists and technologists. This reading tells about three alternate sources solar energy, geothermal energy, and coal.
Solar energy comes from the suns heat. Large panels are used to collect the heat brought to the earth by the rays of the sun. The heat is then stored in thermal mass. It can be used to heat water and homes and to generate turning to coal as a source of energy. The Soviet Union, the United States, and China all have large coal deposits.
Although solar energy can be changed into heat, light and mechanical power and chemical energy, there are problems in using it effectively. One problem with solar energy is that many places often have dark and cloudy weather. How can power from the sun be collected in such places?. One answer is the photovoltaic cell ( a solar battery or solar cell ), which store energy for use when there are no direct rays from the sun. Another problem is that, up to now, solar cells cannot provide energy as cheaply and efficiently as other devices can. For this problem there is at present no answer.
As oil becomes expensive, more and more countries are turning to coal as a source of energy. The Soviet Union, the USA and China, all have large coal deposits. The main difficulty with burning coal is that it pollutes the air, It may even be the source of "acid rain", which is rain containing harmful chemicals.

K. Drobnic S. Abrams and M. Morray, Reading and Writing the English of Technology.


efficient : efficace
ray: rayon
dark: obscur, sombre
cloudy: nuageux
coal: charbon.


1) What are the sources of energy and what are their functions, according to the text? (8 lines) (5 Pts)
2) What are the three alternate sources of energy? (5lines) (3 Points)
3) Where does solar energy comes from? How is it collected, and what it its use? (5 lines) (4 Points)
4) What are the problems in using solar energy effectively? Explain using your own words. (6 lines) (4 Pts)
5) Why are many countries turning to coal, and what is the problem with burning coal according to the text? (5 lines) (4 Points)
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