Energy Examples

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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.

Modifier Primary Energy examples Power examples
Name Value Unit Example, energy sufficient to Unit Example, about the power of:
E exa


Exa.Joule Australia’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

P peta 1015 PetaJoule Australia’s annual natural gas consumption = 800 Peta.Joules. PetaWatt peak solar power falling on Australia is over 8 PetaWatts
T tera 1012 TeraJoule medium factory gas use in one year. TeraWatt peak solar power falling on all Australian buildings
(ie 20 times electrical requirements)
100 GJ An average car will use about 50 GJ of fuel per year. 100 GW peak solar power falling on Australian home roofs is about 400 GW

the total Australian maximum electrical demand is around 50 GW.

10 GJ gas consumption of efficient home (10-30 GJ) in one year 10 GW peak electrical demand of NSW
G Giga 109 GigaJoule solar energy falling on a Hobart home roof in one day in Winter. GigaWatt medium-large power station.

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

100 MJ coal used to supply average home with electricity for one day. 100 MW small power station / large cogeneration plant
  10 MJ a ten minute shower 10 MW largest factories
M Mega 106 Mega.Joule run a large TV or a PC for one hour 1 MegaWatt largest city building, medium hospital, medium-large factory.
100 kJ make a cup of tea with a gas kettle. primary energy to charge transistor battery. 100 kW electricity for medium office building. peak solar power on same building
10 kJ 10 kW large electric water heater, peak demand of medium-large home.
k kilo 103 kiloJoule 1 kiloWatt domestic heater or air-conditioner. The peak solar energy falling on 1m² of the earth. /p>
< 100 100 Joule 100 Watts desktop computer, incandescent light, person standing.
10 10 Joule 10 Watts notebook computer, VCR,
(=1) Joule 1 Watt transistor radio (~5 W).