Energy Examples

The following table gives “real-world” examples of the quantities of energy and power represented by metric units (Joules and Watts) modified by metric prefixes.

ModifierPrimary Energy examplesPower examples
NameValueUnitExample, energy sufficient toUnitExample, about the power of:


Exa.JouleAustralia’s annual crude oil consumption = 1.5 Exa.Joules.

Australia’s annual coal consumption = 1.75 Exa.Joules.

Solar energy falling on Australia in two minutes = 1 Exa.Joule

Ppeta1015PetaJouleAustralia’s annual natural gas consumption = 800 Peta.Joules.PetaWattpeak solar power falling on Australia is over 8 PetaWatts
Ttera1012TeraJoulemedium factory gas use in one year.TeraWattpeak solar power falling on all Australian buildings
(ie 20 times electrical requirements)
100 GJAn average car will use about 50 GJ of fuel per year.100 GWpeak solar power falling on Australian home roofs is about 400 GW

the total Australian maximum electrical demand is around 50 GW.

10 GJgas consumption of efficient home (10-30 GJ) in one year10 GWpeak electrical demand of NSW
GGiga109GigaJoulesolar energy falling on a Hobart home roof in one day in Winter.GigaWattmedium-large power station.

total peak output of Australia’s domestic solar water heaters.

100 MJcoal used to supply average home with electricity for one day.100 MWsmall power station / large cogeneration plant
 10 MJa ten minute shower10 MWlargest factories
MMega106Mega.Joulerun a large TV or a PC for one hour1 MegaWattlargest city building, medium hospital, medium-large factory.
100 kJmake a cup of tea with a gas kettle. primary energy to charge transistor battery.100 kWelectricity for medium office building. peak solar power on same building
10 kJ10 kWlarge electric water heater, peak demand of medium-large home.
kkilo103kiloJoule1 kiloWattdomestic heater or air-conditioner. The peak solar energy falling on 1m² of the earth. /p>
<100100 Joule100 Wattsdesktop computer, incandescent light, person standing.
1010 Joule10 Wattsnotebook computer, VCR,
(=1)Joule1 Watttransistor radio (~5 W).