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Bozeman Science


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Renewable Energy

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  • This video explores the disadvantages of fossil fuels, the economic ratio influencing energy production, and the strengths and weaknesses of various renewable energy sources.
  • Students will learn that fossil fuels are nonrenewable and causing global warming, the energy returned on energy invested (ERoEI) ratio incentivizes companies to continue fossil fuel production, and renewable energy sources will vary in terms of ERoEI ratios and levels of sustainability.
Teaching Tips


  • The speaker in this video has taught science for 20 years.
  • This video has plenty of information and engaging graphics.

Additional Prerequisites

  • An advertisement may play before the video starts.
  • Students should understand global warming, how it impacts the environment, and how burning fossil fuels and deforestation contribute to it.


  • Teachers can create and make copies of the chart referenced throughout the video and use it as guided notes.
  • Students can use this video for an informative essay on different types of renewable energy.
  • This video can augment a classroom discussion on the economic impacts that ERoEI does not consider.
  • This video can support a lesson on how various countries approach energy production.
  • The speaker in the video talks fast, so some students may need to slow the playback speed or pause the video to discuss each energy source as a class.
Scientist Notes

This video resource from Paul Anderson of Bozeman Science provides a comprehensive introduction to renewable energy and focuses on six technologies: biomass, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal wind, and hydrogen. The speaker frames the whole discussion with the idea that energy needs to be renewable and sustainable, highlighting issues with burning wood biomass and the myriad environmental disruptions often caused by hydroelectric generation. After a brief introduction featuring an excellent flow chart, the resource details the six renewable technologies, comparing each based on energy returned over energy invested. This simple economic ratio provides a good indication of the viability of each technology. Teachers may find it helpful to discuss with students what other considerations are consequential aside from economics. The video closes with a return to the flowchart, this time with some spaces left blank so that teachers can pause the video at 8:40 and get students to fill in the blanks. This video features clear narration and is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.2.9-12 Use marginal benefits and marginal costs to construct an argument for or against an approach or solution to an economic issue.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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