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Secondary energy

Secondary energy refers to the more convenient forms of energy which are transformed from other, primary, energy sources through energy conversion processes. Examples are electricity, which is transformed from primary sources such as coal, raw oil, fuel oil, natural gas, wind, sun, streaming water, nuclear power, gasoline etc., but also refined fuels such as gasoline or synthetic fuels such as hydrogen fuels.

Secondary energy sources are also referred to as energy carriers, because they move energy in a useable form from one place to another. The two most well-known energy carriers are:

We get electricity and hydrogen from the conversion of other sources of energy, such as coal, nuclear, or solar energy. These are called primary sources.

For many energy needs, it is much easier to use electricity or hydrogen than the primary energy sources themselves.

The terms of primary and secondary energy are mainly used in the creation of energy statistis or balances.

Most importantly, secondary energy is a good which has been changed from its original state so as to be used for consumption.

Other definitions:

“Secondary energy should be used to designate all sources of energy that results from transformation of primary sources”, UN, Concepts and Methods in Energy Statistics, New York, 1982.

“Secondary energy comes from the transformation of primary or secondary energy.”, OECD/IEA/Eurostat, Energy Statistics Manual, Paris, 2005.

• “The generation or manufacture of energy or fuels from other (usually primary) fuels/energy.”, InterEnerStat, Mr. Tim Simmons 1st proposal for consultation, august 2008.

“Secondary energy is energy embodied in commodities that comes from human induced energy transformation”, Sara Øvergaard, Statistics Norway, Presentation prepared for the 13th Meeting of the London Group, 29 september – 3 october, 2008, EUROSTAT, Brussels.


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