Natural and Energy Resources Study Notes UGC NET Exam

Natural and Energy Resources: Solar, Wind, Soil, Hydro, Geothermal, Biomass, Nuclear, and Forests.

The term natural resources mean anything that we use from our environment to achieve our objective. For example, we require sugar, baking powder, flour, milk, and eggs to bake a cake. so these all are the resources used to bake a cake.

Resources can be anything artificial or natural, energy or organism which human beings consume to achieve the desired goal.

First, we need to know what is artificial and natural resources ?

Natural resources– All those resources which are provided by nature are called natural resources. example, soil, air, water, sunshine, plants, coals, and minerals.

Artificial resources- The resources which human being developed during the growth of civilization to fulfill the requirement is called artificial resources. ex. biogas, thermal electricity, plastic, etc. 

we generally get these artificial resources from other natural resources.

Similar to other topics based on the latest UGC NET EXAM Syllabus…we have covered the people and environment syllabus topics in 8 parts as below along with the last 16 Years solved Question paper at the end of the tutorial. 

You are advised to go through them in sequence and attempt the MCQ Question only after completion of all topic listed below.

Not only this there is some additional note has been provided specifically for this section as it was seen that some question was asked from recent affairs based on people and environment.

Unit-IX People, Development and Environment

  1. Development and environment: Millennium development and Sustainable development goals.
  2. Human and environment interaction: Anthropogenic activities and their impacts on the environment.
  3. Environmental issues: Local, Regional and Global; Air pollution, Water pollution, Soil pollution, Noise pollution, Waste (solid, liquid, biomedical, hazardous, electronic), Climate change and its Socio-Economic and Political Dimensions. [This Post]
  4. Impacts of pollutants on human health.
  5. Natural and energy resources: Solar, Wind, Soil, Hydro, Geothermal, Biomass, Nuclear and Forests. ((This article))
  6. Natural hazards and disasters: Mitigation strategies. 
  7. Environmental Protection Act (1986), National Action Plan on Climate Change, International agreements/efforts -Montreal Protocol, Rio Summit, Convention on Biodiversity, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, International Solar Alliance.
  8. MCQ Based on People, Development and Environment(Coming Soon)

Additional Notes –

Must Read – 40 Major International/Indian Environmental Organizations Fighting Issues

Natural and Energy Resources

Classification of Natural and Energy Resources                     

The air we breathe and the sunlight that we enjoy for free are available to us in unlimited quantity but have you ever think about coal, forests, and petroleum. yes, we do not have these fossil fuels in unlimited amounts. the stock of these is very limited and depleting day by day. 

  • Exhaustible
  • Inexhaustible
  • Renewable
  • Non-renewable

Inexhaustible resources: The resources which we have in unlimited amounts are called inexhaustible resources. These resources will never get exhausted. We have been enjoying these resources for ages and our coming generations will continue to use these resources. Solar radiation, wind power, water power, tidal power, and substances like sand, clay, and water in oceans are some examples of inexhaustible resources.

Exhaustible resources: This is the exact opposite of inexhaustible resources. These resources are available to us in a very limited amount and we are using them for ages but now these resources are depleting day by day because of continuous use. For example, the coal available to us is in a very limited amount and one day we will be deprived of coal.

According to U.S coal production in 2019- the recoverable reserves at producing mines would last about just 20 years though this depends on the change in production and reserve estimates.

Renewable resources:   There are some resources which regenerate naturally after consumption are called renewable resources like plants and trees grow again if we cut them but if we destroy a forest completely because of the growing population it will not regenerate again.

Non-renewable resources:  This is the opposite of renewable resources. These are the resources that we can not regenerate again after consumption. examples are minerals, wildlife species, etc.

As the population of the world is increasing continuously at an alarming rate, and because of urbanization and industrialization, the consumption of these resources is also increasing. These resources are very important to maintain the ecological balance and to save them for our children and grandchildren.

You must be pondering why the conservation of these natural resources is so important for us. so, here is your answer

  • For ages, nature has provided us with everything that we need but we exploit nature by taking more than our requirement for profits. If we go on exploiting nature, there will be no more resources available to us in the future and we can’t even imagine our lives without these resources. Can you imagine a day without forest i.e no more oxygen no more wood and medicines? This will eventually lead to the destruction of mankind.
  • If we want to preserve the species of different kinds of flora and fauna, conservation of these natural resources is very important.
  • Ecological balance is important for supporting life
  • To ensure even the survival of mankind, the conservation of natural resources is important.

We have different types of energy available to us which we obtain from different resources for our daily activities like cooking, heating, transportation, and lighting, etc.

Types of Energy Resources

There are two types of energy resource

  • Conventional energy 
  • Non-conventional energy

Conventional source of energy

The energy which is available to us for ages and very easily cable is called conventional energy. like fossil fuels. these are present in limited quantity, not abundant in nature. conventional sources of energy are also called the non-renewable source of energy conventional source of energy if further divided into two parts 

  • Conventional non-renewable energy
  • Conventional renewable energy

Fossil fuels: These are made from decomposing plants and animals. these are the products of a series of biological, chemical, and physical transformations of plants and animals that remain over millions of years. coal is the most abundant fossil fuel widely used for combustion in cooking and industrial activities.

Properties of coal: coal mainly consists of carbon and a small amount of sulfur and nitrogen and ash. coal can be extracted through mining.

Petroleum: Also called rock oil. it is in the liquid form present in the upper crust of the earth. like coal, petroleum is derived from the biological and chemical transformation of plants and animals’ debris over millions of years. it is the combination of hydrocarbons. 

Natural gas:  it occurs in the underground reservoir of porous rock. it emits co2.

natural gas consists of methane in large amounts with a small amount of ethane, propane, butane, and other paraffin. it is easy to transport natural gas in special tankers. The united state is considered the largest producer as well as consumer of natural gar followed by Russia, Iran, and Canada.

Biomass energy

When plants and animal material is used as fuel to produce electricity or heat is called biomass energy. bio means living being and mass means material so energy obtained by using the mass of living beings (plants and animals) is called biomass.

Example – wood, corn, soybean, crop residues, and organic waste. we can burn biomass directly to produce heat and electricity and can be easily converted to liquid fuel and gas through the process of fermentation and anaerobic digestion.

Biomass as an important source of renewable energy is gaining importance in developed countries for electricity and transportation. biomass such as municipal east and cattle manure is used to produce methane through anaerobic digestion.

Non-conventional source of energy

The energy which is obtained from natural resources like wind, tides, solar, biomass, etc are called non-conventional souse of energy. These are pollution-free and hence we can use these to produce a clean form of energy. Therefore greater use of the non-conventional source of energy should be promoted. 

Natural and Energy Resources|Study Notes UGC NET Exam

Types of non-conventional souse of energy
• Solar energy
• Hydel energy
• Wind energy
• Nuclear energy
• Hydrogen energy
• Geothermal energy
• Biogas
• Tidal energy
• Biofuels

Point to remember- Students usually get confused when NTA asks about biogas or biofuel. So keep in mind both these are a non-conventional source of energy as these are obtained through natural resources

Solar energy: As the name implies, it is the energy that we get from the sun. it is created by harnessing the power produced by the sun. it is the ultimate souse of energy on earth. we are blessed with sunlight and this sunlight can provide us an abundant amount of energy known as solar energy. photovoltaic cells convert the energy captured from the sun into electricity. recent advances in efficiency have resulted in staggering improvements and growths in its use. it is available almost everywhere and free from the political barrier. this can solve the problem of no electricity in remote areas and poor countries which are otherwise deprived of electricity. china (205 GW)is the biggest producer of solar energy, followed by the united states(76GW) and Japan (63.22 GW).

Hydro energy: it is power obtained through the movement of water typically gravitational. this is also known as water energy or hydel energy. the use of fast running water to produce electricity or to power use is called hydro energy. it is obtained by converting the kinetic form of energy into the mechanical form of energy. the generation of hydroelectricity dies does not produce any climate-changing emission the construction of dams does cause significant environmental and social problems like the temperature change has caused fish kills.

Wind energy: as the name implies the energy that we get through wind is called wind energy. it is generated through the force of the wind, which spins rotor blades attached to a turbine. the clean and efficient nature of wind energy has seen a rapid expansion in the development of wind farms. China is the world leader in wind energy, with over a third of the world’s capacity. It boasts the world’s largest onshore wind farm in Gansu Province, which has a capacity of 7,965MW, five times larger than its nearest rival.14-Mar-2019. 

Tidal energy: it refers to generating electricity from the flow of the tides. it is produced y making the use of water movement from a huge tide to low tide. ocean waves and tides can be made to turn a turbine and generate electricity

Now, one thing to remember is what is the difference between hydro energy and tide energy though both use water as the primary souse to produce energy.

The difference is – what is causing the water to move. in hydro energy is achieved by damming a river, or running a pipe from a high lake to a lower lake, river o the sea. whereas io the tidal energy ocean waves and tides can be made to turn a turbine and generate electricity.

Areas where rivers flow the sea experiences waves and tides and electricity can be generated there. inside have a large coastline and major river system so producing electricity is very convenient in India.

With a total installed tidal power capacity of 511MW, South Korea is leading the way globally, according to the information provided by the National Energy Board of Canada. South Korea is followed by France with 246MW, and the United Kingdom with 139MW.

Nuclear energy: radioactive elements like uranium and thorium disintegrates spontaneously releasing a large quantity of an entry. The US continues to generate by far the most nuclear energy in the world. According to BP, the annual balance was 852.0 terawatt-hours.

That was almost two and a half times as much as in China and ten times as much as Ukraine in seventh place. Almost a third (30.5 per cent) of the world’s nuclear energy came from the US in 2019.
• Although the storage of radioactive waste makes the adoption of nuclear energy in many parts of the world problematic. some of the nuclear power platys in India are in tarapura, kalpakkam, narora and kota.

Hydrogen energy: hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is found in the waster and all living beings. Hydrogen Energy Hydrogen energy involves the use of hydrogen and/or hydrogen-containing compounds to generate energy to be supplied to all practical uses needed with high energy efficiency, overwhelming environmental and social benefits, as well as economic competitiveness. From: Science and Engineering of Hydrogen-Based Energy Technologies, 2019

Geothermal energy– Also called hot rock energy, generate electricity by the infection of water into a borehole in rocks with a temperature of a least 200 degrees C.

• The water is heated upon contact with the rock and is returned to the surface via a second borehole in the form of steam, which is then used to turn turbines that generate electricity.

• The cooled stream is then reinjected back into the first borehole where the process begins again

• The use of this form in energy is highest in the Philippines, with geothermal energy providing approximately 27 per cent of power needs.

• There are 46 hydrothermal areas in India where the water temperature normally exceeds 150 degrees.

Biogas- is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of organic matter such as food scraps and animal waste from living organisms like plants and animals. The gas which we get can be used in a variety of ways including as vehicle fuel and for heating and electricity generation. It is produced by the microbial activities on cattle dung a specially designed tank called a digester.

A mixture of water and cattle dung is poured into this digester where anaerobic decomposition takes place and biogas is generated. This gs contains 55-70 per cent methane. China is the biggest producer of biogas followed by the U.S and Thailand.

Status of renewable energy in India

Natural and Energy Resources|Study Notes UGC NET Exam
  • Keeping in look our dedication to a healthy planet and our nationally determined supplements as per the Paris accord on climate change, India pledged that by 2030, 40% of installed power generation capacity shall be based on clean sources.
  • It was decided that 175 G.W of renewable energy capacity will be installed by 202.
  • This includes 100 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydropower.
  • India has 5th global positions for overall established renewable energy capacity, 4th position for wind power, and 5th position for solar power. 
  • The substantial higher capacity target will ensure greater energy security, improved energy access, and enhanced employment opportunities.
  • A total of around 73.35 GW of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the county as of October 2018 from all renewable energy resources.
  • This capacity includes around 34.98 GW fro, wind, 24.33 GW from solar,4.5 GW from small hydropower, and 9.54 GW from biopower.



2. Core Environmental NGOs List (


We hope you have liked our Natural and Energy Resources topic notes, Make sure you study each and every topic in-depth and understand it carefully to answer questions correctly.

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