Energy Resources : UPSC / HCS
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Energy Resources : UPSC / HCS

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 Energy Resources : UPSC / HCS

Energy can be generated from fuel minerals like coal, petroleum, natural gas, uranium, and electricity. This article is in the continuation of the article Minerals and energy resources.

In this article, you will learn about energy resources, the types of energy resources, solar energy, bioenergy, nuclear energy, etc. It will help you to understand some of the very important concepts of Geography which will help in all the UPSC / HCS exams.

Energy Resources

This article has the following contents.

 2. COAL

Energy resources

  • Energy can be generated from fuel minerals like coal, petroleum, natural gas, uranium, and electricity. 
  • Energy resources can be classified as conventional and nonconventional sources.

Conventional sources: Coal, Petroleum, Natural gas, Firewood, Cattle dung cake, and electricity (both hydel and thermal). 

Non-conventional sources: Solar, Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, Biogas, and Atomic energy.


  • Most abundantly available fossil fuel.
  • provides a substantial part of the nation’s energy needs.

Uses: for power generation, to supply energy to the industry as well as for domestic needs.


  • formed from plants and vegetation buried, ‘in situ’ or drifted in from outside to a place, which got covered by deposits of sediments.
  • Coal is therefore referred to as Buried Sunshine.

There are three basic grades of coal:

  1. Lignite
  2. Bituminous coal
  3. Anthracite


  • Low-grade brown coal, which is soft with high moisture content. 
  • Reserves are in Neyveli in Tamil Nadu and are used for the generation of electricity.

Bituminous coal: 

  • Buried deep and subjected to increased temperatures.
  • Most popular coal in commercial use.


  •  Highest quality hard coal.
  • About 80 per cent of the coal deposits in India are of a bituminous type and are of non-coking grade. 


  • In India, coal occurs in rock series of two main geological ages:
  • Gondwana(about 200 million years ago)
  • Tertiary deposits(about 55 million years old)

1. Gondwana coal fields: 

  • In Damodar Valley (Jharkhand-Bengal coal belt), Raniganj, Jharia (largest), Bokaro, Giridih, Karanpura.
  • Godavari, Mahanadi and Son river valleys 
  • Important coal mining centres: Singrauli( Madhya Pradesh), Korba(Chhattisgarh), Talcher and Rampur(Odisha),

2. Tertiary coals:

  • Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
  • Extracted from Daranggiri, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong (Meghalaya); Makum, and Nazira in upper Assam, Namchik–Namphuk (Arunachal Pradesh)


Forest and wildlife resources 

Natural vegetation


Crude petroleum consists of hydrocarbons of liquid and gaseous states varying in chemical composition, colour and specific gravity.


  • Found between the layers of rocks and is drilled from oil fields located in offshore and coastal areas. 
  • Also found in fault traps between porous and non-porous rocks.
  • This crude oil is then sent to refineries to produce a variety of products like diesel, petrol, kerosene, wax, plastics and lubricants. 

Petroleum and its derivatives are called Black Gold as they are very valuable.


  • An essential source of energy for all internal combustion engines in automobiles, railways and aircraft.
  • Its by-products are processed in petrochemical industries such as fertiliser, synthetic rubber, synthetic fibre, medicines and cosmetics etc.

Reserves in India:

1. Mumbai High:

  • Accounts for about 63 per cent of India’s petroleum production

2. Gujarat:

  • Accounts for about 18 per cent of India’s petroleum production
  • Ankleshwar, Kalol, Mehsana, Navagam, Kosamba are major ones.

3. Assam:

  • Accounts for about 16 per cent of India’s petroleum production
  • Oldest oil-producing state of India. 
  • Digboi, Naharkatiya and Moran are important oil-producing areas. 

Natural Gas

  • Natural gas is found with petroleum deposits and is released when crude oil is brought to the surface. 
  • Used as a source of energy as well as an industrial raw material in the petrochemical industry.
  • Can be used as a domestic and industrial fuel.
  • An environment-friendly fuel because of low carbon dioxide emissions.


  • Krishna- Godavari basin
  • Reserves of the Mumbai High 
  • Andaman and Nicobar islands 
  • It is obtained along with oil in all the oil fields but exclusive reserves have been located along the eastern coast as well (Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh), Tripura, Rajasthan and offshore wells in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Non-conventional energy sources

  • The increasing use of fossil fuels is leading to its shortage.
  • Their use also causes environmental pollution. 
  • Therefore, there is a need for using non-conventional sources such as solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy which are renewable.
  • These energy sources will provide more sustained, eco-friendly cheaper energy after the initial cost is taken care of.

Important Geography MCQs for UPSC / HCS

Solar energy:

  • Being a tropical country,  India has enormous possibilities of tapping solar energy.
  • Photovoltaic technology converts sunlight directly into electricity. 
  • Helpful in rural and remote areas.
  • Reduces the dependence of rural households on firewood and dung cakes, contribute to environmental conservation.
  • Solar energy is also used in solar heaters, solar cookers, solar dryers besides being used for community lighting and traffic signals
  •  7 per cent more effective than coal or oil-based plants 
  • 10 per cent more effective than nuclear plants. 
  • The western part of India has greater potential for the development of solar energy in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • As of September 2017, the country's solar grid had a cumulative capacity of 16.20 GW
  • International Solar Alliance was also launched to tap solar energy.

Nuclear Energy:

  • Obtained from energy stored in the nuclei of atoms of naturally occurring radioactive elements like Uranium and Thorium. 
  • These fuels undergo nuclear fission in nuclear reactors and emit power.
  • In India, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have large deposits of Uranium.

Uranium deposits: 

  • In Dharwar rocks, Udaipur, Alwar and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan, Durg district of Chhattisgarh, Bhandara district of Maharashtra and Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

Thorium deposits:

  • Mainly obtained from monazite and ilmenite in the beach sands along the coast of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 
  • World’s richest monazite deposits occur in the Palakkad and Kollam districts of Kerala, near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahanadi river delta in Odisha.
  • The nuclear power stations in India are located in Kalpakkam in Tamilnadu, Tarapur in Maharashtra, Ranapratap Sagar near Kota in Rajasthan, Narora in Uttar Pradesh and Kaiga in Karnataka.

Wind Energy:

  • Wind energy is absolutely pollution-free, an inexhaustible source of energy.
  • The kinetic energy of wind, through turbines, is converted into electrical energy.
  • The permanent wind systems such the trade winds, westerlies and seasonal wind like monsoon have been used as a source of energy. 
  • Local winds, land and sea breezes can also be used to produce electricity.
  • Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, have favourable conditions for wind energy.
  • The largest wind farm cluster is located in Tamil Nadu from Nagercoil to Madurai.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra and Lakshadweep have important wind farms.

Tidal and Wave Energy:

  • Ocean currents are the storehouse of infinite energy and can be used to generate electricity. 


  • Floodgate dams are built across inlets. During high tide, water flows into the inlet and gets trapped when the gate is closed.
  • After the tide falls outside the flood gate, the water retained by the floodgate flows back to the sea via a pipe that carries it through a power-generating turbine.

Ideal places for tidal energy: 

  • In India the Gulf of Khambhat, the Gulf of Kachchh in Gujarat
  • Gangetic delta in the Sunderban regions of West Bengal provides ideal conditions for utilising tidal energy.

Geothermal Energy:

  • Geothermal energy refers to the heat and electricity produced by using the heat from the interior of the Earth.
  • Geothermal energy exists because the Earth grows progressively hotter with increasing depth.
  • The hot water that gushes out through the geyser wells is also used in the generation of thermal energy. 
  • Where the geothermal gradient is high, high temperatures are found at shallow depths. 
  • Groundwater is very hot in areas with high geothermal gradient and it turns into steam on reaching the earth surface. This steam is used to drive turbines and generate electricity.
  • Two experimental projects have been set up in India to harness geothermal energy.


  • Bio-energy refers to energy derived from biological products like agricultural residues, municipal, industrial and other wastes.
  • Decomposition of organic matter yields biogas, which has higher thermal efficiency in comparison to kerosene, dung cake and charcoal. 
  • It can be converted into electrical energy, heat energy or gas for cooking.
  • Biogas plants are set up at municipal, cooperative and individual levels. 
  • The plants using cattle dung are known as ‘Gobar gas plants’ in rural India.
  • These provide twin benefits to the farmer in the form of energy and improved quality of manure.
  • Biogas improves the quality of manure and also prevents the loss of trees and manure due to the burning of fuelwood and cow dung cakes.

Conservation of energy resources

  • By developing a sustainable path of energy development. 
  • By Promoting energy conservation methods 
  • By increasing the use of renewable energy sources
  • By using public transport systems instead of individual vehicles; 
  • By switching off electricity when not in use
  • By using non-conventional sources of energy.
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