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Energy minimization is of great importance in wireless sensor networks in extending the battery lifetime. Accurately understanding the energy consumption characteristics of each sensor node is a critical step for the design of energy saving strategies. This paper develops a detailed probabilistic model based on Petri nets to evaluate the energy consumption of a wireless sensor node. The model factors critical components of a sensor node, including processors with emerging energy-saving features, wireless communication components, and an open or closed workload generator. Experimental results show that this model is more flexible and accurate than Markov models. The model provides a useful simulation platform to study energy-saving strategies in wireless sensor networks.