Low-Emission Energy Sources – Are they the Future?


Low-Emission Energy Sources – Are they the Future?

17th Apr 2023

What are low-emission energy sources?

Low-emission energy sources are exactly as their name suggests. They’re energy sources that generate lower emissions than their traditional counterparts. This includes the big five: solar, wind, water (hydropower), nuclear, and hydrogen.

In terms of emissions, they’re better for the environment because they release less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Remember — carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases currently driving global warming.

Of these big five low-emission energy sources, solar, wind, water, and some forms of hydrogen are all also known as ‘renewable resources’. This means that they are utilising and converting energy from a naturally occurring process which cannot be depleted or consumed like fossil fuels (Coal, LNG, Oil etc.).

Let’s dive into a refresher about what each of these low-emission energy sources involves.

Solar power

Solar power converts sunlight into energy either through photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation and heat up a receiver which generates steam to turn a turbine. This energy can then either be used as electricity or stored in batteries for future use.

Wind power

Wind turbines use the aerodynamic force on propellor blades to turn a generator and create electricity. Fan turbines are currently the most common wind power generator, but there are prototypes being developed that use ‘airborne wind’ and look like giant kites. Traditional turbines are often found on high, open ground but can also be floated on top of the ocean to make use of strong offshore wind.


Humans have used hydropower for thousands of years, making it one of our oldest energy sources. Simply, hydropower uses the movement of water to generate electricity. As water flows or is pumped through a turbine, it converts that movement into power. Hydroelectricity can be generated almost immediately, meaning it can help support other power sources in low production times, especially when power generation requires damming a water reservoir. Much like wind power, some hydroelectric farms are being researched in the ocean, where the motion of waves or tidal currents is converted to electricity.

Nuclear power

Fission Reactor:
At the heart of nuclear power is the nuclear reactor. The reactor uses the natural radioactive decay uranium as fuel to produce heat through a process called fission. This heat is then used to generate steam which spins a turbine and produces electricity.

Fusion Power – Research and Development:
Both fission and fusion are nuclear processes, whereby the nucleus of an atom is changed due to nuclear forces. Fusion reactors produce the inert gas helium (chemically inactive), whilst also producing and consuming hydrogen isotopes like tritium and deuterium inside a closed circuit. This process generates electricity by using heat from the nuclear power reaction. Due to technology-readiness and scalability constraints, electricity generation and utilisation of fusion power is currently expected to ramp up in the second half of the century, contingent on funding and technical advancement.

Hydrogen power

As you know, hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. There are several ways it can be utilised to produce electricity or mechanical energy. There are a variety of methods used to extract hydrogen including through electrolysis and steam methane reforming. Once it’s extracted, it can be stored as a liquid, a gas, or an additive in other materials. Because of its diversity, it has potential to be stored for later use or exported overseas.

What do these energy sources mean for Australia’s energy future?

The energy sector accounts for a significant amount of the world’s emissions, making it one of the primary drivers of climate change. Because of this, renewable and low-emission energy sources have a role to play in meeting global climate change goals. It’s expected that these energy sources will take on a larger role over the next few years.

With this increased focus on low-emission sources comes important considerations around maintaining reliability, scale, and affordability.

The two biggest renewable sources, solar and wind, aren’t always ‘running’ – the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow. To overcome this, great strides have taken place to improve the batteries needed to store solar and wind power. However, it’s highly likely we’ll always need to combine these sources with other generation methods to ensure there is sufficient and reliable electricity.

The low-emissions power industry has experienced a lot of growth, but there’s still considerable room for more. To help start your classroom discussion, ask this question — what do you think Australia’s energy production will look like by 2050? You can also follow this up with a project for a more in-depth look at low-emission energy.


Australian Curriculum content statements









Your Hub for Minerals & Energy in 2023

31st Jan 2023

Just started back at school? You’ve come to the right place for free educational resources to boost your learning. If you are exploring minerals and energy, then there is a wealth of information right here!

Why choose Oresome Resources?

We all know it’s a lot easier to learn something when it’s fun and engaging. Our interactive resources offer just this – making learning tactile. Our media library pairs images and videos with ideas and topics to visually complement your learning. Our worksheets, fact sheets, presentations, and experiments are ready to go for any lesson in minerals and energy. We also cover a huge range of topics across all year levels, so there truly is something for everyone. Best of all, our educational resources are free! There are thousands of resources available to you, but our most popular are:

Oresome City

Open up a city and see how our everyday lives are powered by resources! Source raw materials, explore Australia’s resource sector and see where resources come from in this exciting interactive. Remember – if it’s not grown, it’s mined!

Minerals Down Under

Another interactive that allows students to expand their knowledge of Australia’s rich mineral deposits. Made up of seven sections, this resource covers mineral formation, mineral exploration, different types of mining, the extraction of minerals from ore, and the processes involved in transforming minerals into everyday products. 

Hydrogen Facts

A fact sheet providing information on hydrogen production from fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, this resource is a great way to understand how hydrogen is made, and its role in a sustainable future. 

Mining Makes Your Smart Home

From an overarching city to your own home, this interactive provides a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the natural resources that can be found at home. Click different items in the home and see what they are fueled by.

Discover a diverse range of careers waiting for you in Australia’s minerals and energy sector with our careers interactives and resources. Whether you’re passionate about STEM or teaching students in the field, there is something for everyone.



The Sky’s the Limit With Minerals and Energy Careers of the Future

31st Oct 2022

Minerals and energy fuel our world – literally! From engineering to geology, careers in this industry are shaping the future of our lives. That’s why the minerals and energy sector needs enthusiastic young men and women with a passion for problem-solving and innovative technology to fill the workforce.

A career in this field could be an exciting prospect for the right person and will provide a chance to explore the world and shape the future of the planet in how resources are extracted, processed, and used.

Some of the career paths include:


Interesting title, interesting role! Metallurgists are mineral experts, researching and developing the processes used to extract minerals from ore and refine them into something useful for commercial purposes. They study and apply various methods for separating and extracting minerals, improve the processes to do this work, prepare technical reports, and develop and control ways to store and treat waste materials.

Environmental Engineer

This role has lots of variety and opportunities, involved in many tasks in the resources field. Some of their responsibilities include developing ways to minimise harm to the environment, undertaking lab work to analyse pollutants, monitoring and evaluating how engineering projects impact the world, and rehabilitating land, water, and air that has been affected by such projects.

Automation Engineer

Technology is a huge part of engineering projects today and having someone who can help with implementation and safety is crucial. Automation engineers are responsible for this, along with developing mining automation, telecommunications, and operations management systems on site, with oversight of these systems’ integrity. They may even get to don a VR headset once in a while!

Auto Electrician

Automotive electricians also play an important role in minerals and energy as vehicles become increasingly electrified.. They install new electrical systems and parts, and repair and maintain electrical wiring and components in mobile mining equipment and other vehicles. This can cover a wide range of fields and worksites.


For the rock lovers! Geologists are all about studying minerals and materials to find out more about the nature, composition, and structure that makes them up. In turn, they get to advise on how to extract them while making sure to responsibly care for the earth at the same time..

Mining Engineer

In the thick of it are mining engineers, planning and directing the engineering of mineral extraction. They investigate mineral deposits, work closely with geologists, determine the best way to mine minerals, and work towards improving efficiency and safety in mines, to name just a few of their responsibilities.

Other job options in the minerals and energy field include mechanical engineers, heavy diesel fitters, facility engineers and operations technicians. Check out our Oresome Careers interactive to see more real-world examples of roles in the minerals and energy industry.


How Interactives Help Engage Students

12th Sep 2022

It’s pretty common knowledge that humans learn best by getting hands on, rather than through abstract ideas and theories alone. With growing technology, the classroom is seeing a revolution in how students can learn and interactive elements are becoming the norm.


With technology evolving at a rapid pace, the classroom is more sophisticated than ever before. Gamification has been heralded as a great way to engage and teach for many years but today’s technology makes it easier than ever before. Gamification doesn’t mean it must be a “game” but rather making learning more fun through game-like mechanics, such as challenges, goals and rewards, storytelling, and visuals. Interactives are one way to “gamify” learning.

Learning by doing

Interactives are just that: interactive. This means, rather than just reading and writing, students learn by engaging with the subject matter. Whether this be looking at a fictional city and seeing how different jobs help it run smoothly, or a virtual home, where students can see how hundreds of things are powered by different kinds of energy, interactive learning allows students to get hands-on knowledge, which in turn can help with making the subject matter more interesting and easier to understand.

Engaging through fun

We all love to have fun and making learning fun creates more engaged students. Along the same lines as gamifying learning, interactive materials can make topics that may not be as engaging usually, more interesting for students to consume.

If you aren’t using interactives in your classroom or home, what are you waiting for? We have lots of fun interactive teaching resources and learning tools around mining, minerals, energy, and much more – check them out today.


Pointing the way. Using new indicator minerals in the nickel hunt

26th Jul 2021

Finding the next Kambalda, home of Australia’s sulfide nickel mining industry, will be a lot harder than the original discovery, but to aid the process a new indicator mineral exploration technique is emerging from CSIRO research.

Read the full article here.


Preparing the face of future mining

11th Jun 2021

Deloitte’s top 10 trends for 2021 have highlighted the mining sector’s commitment to continual improvement and in laying a foundation for tomorrow. Decarbonisation and zero harm are two of this year’s discussion points in the annual Tracking the Trends report.

Decarbonisation is established as a hot topic in the mining sector, but the trend is set to culminate in a greater way over the next two to three years.

Deloitte Australia’s mining and metals leader Ian Sanders believes the sector is at an inflection point, where the image of mining has significantly improved over 2020 and is set to continue to be a real focus.

Read the full article here.


A bright future for Australian energy, technology and expertise

12th May 2021

In the second of a series of opinion pieces from Science meets Parliament sponsors, Professor Paul Mulvaney, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, discusses how to extend Australia’s renewable energy generation capability, create jobs and deliver better results for businesses and energy consumers.

‘Our land abounds with nature’s gifts, of beauty rich and rare’. As we progress further into an exciting but uncertain 21st century, those words ring more truly now than ever before.’

Read the full article here.


New study backs green hydrogen production

22nd Apr 2021

The import of renewable energy is both technically and economically feasible, according to a new study from the hydrogen import coalition.

The coalition, comprising DEME, Engie, Exmar, Fluxys, Port of Antwerp, Port of Zeebrugge and WaterstofNet, has now completed a large-scale industrial study mapping out the financial, technical and regulatory aspects of the entire hydrogen import chain.

Read the full article here.


New basalt type discovered beneath the ocean

30th Mar 2021

A new type of rock created during large and exceptionally hot volcanic eruptions has been discovered beneath the Pacific Ocean.

An international team of researchers including the University of Leeds unearthed the previously unknown form of basalt after drilling through the Pacific ocean floor.

The discovery suggests that ocean floor eruptions sourced in the Earth’s mantle were even hotter and more voluminous than previously thought. Report co-author is Dr Ivan Savov, of Leeds’ Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics, in the university’s School of Earth and Environment.

Read the full article here.


Hobart’s library of rocks holds crucial value to the future of Tasmania’s mineral landscape.

02nd Feb 2021

The Mornington Core library on Tasmania’s eastern shore has geology samples that are more than a century old. It has given the ability for mine operators to gather insights on the geology of particular regions without extreme costs.

Mineral Resources Australia is looking to upgrade its current facilities to make it easier for stakeholders to have access to samples. Samples are also being used by PHD students at the University of Tasmania analysing core samples to find if they possibly contain cobalt.

Read full article here.

Page 1 of 7