Homegrown Energy

Wind Turbine

Everything that moves or has power requires fuel (energy) in order to work.

Have you ever wondered where that fuel comes from? A lot of energy we use comes from natural resources like the sun, or fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil (petroleum). The sun is a renewable resource because it is a never ending supply of energy. Fossil fuels however, are a nonrenewable resource, because they are hard to replace and will eventually run out. That's why it is so important to find renewable ways to create energy. Agriculture and science are teaming up to do just that.

Solar Energy Field

in Forest Lake MN

Thomson Dam

in Carlton MN

Wind Turbines

in Pipestone, MN

Renewable or Non-Renewable?

Do the following natural resources produce renewable or non-renewable energy? Click and drag your answer in the blank next to each resource.

We use energy all the time, to heat our homes, power our cars, cook food, and so much more!

One way agriculture in Minnesota is creating energy is through corn power. 10% of gasoline that you use to power a car is made up of ethanol, which comes from corn! Unlike fossil fuels, corn is a renewable resource (if we need more corn, we can plant more corn), and in Minnesota, we can grow a lot of corn. Plus, ethanol burns a lot cleaner than gasoline which also helps keep our air cleaner.

Another way Minnesota agriculture is helping the environment is by producing biodiesel fuel. Many big trucks and buses are powered by diesel, which is not good for the environment. Biodiesel on the other hand, is a much cleaner fuel. In Minnesota, most biodiesel is made from soybeans. Biodiesel is also a renewable resource because it comes from soybeans that can be grown every year.

Corn Field

in Waseca County, MN

Ethanol Plant

in Little Falls, MN

Soybean Field

in Rochester, MN

Biodiesel Plant

in Albert Lea, MN

Environmental Cause and Effect

Cause and effect is when something happens (cause), which causes something else to happen (effect). Read the text and look at the images on this page to find examples of cause and effect that can occur from using natural resources to create energy.

Grab a piece of paper and complete the sections below.

Example: Minnesota farmers use the natural resources soil, water and sunlight, to grow corn that is used to produce ethanol (cause). Energy is created without using fossil fuels and farmers work to protect natural resources so they can continue to grown corn (effect).

  • 1 Cause: A farmer installs a solar energy field.

  • 2 Cause:

    Effect: Biodiesel is made from a renewable resource (soybeans), and burns cleaner so our air doesn't get polluted.
  • 3 Cause:

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