If someone asked you to explain how electricity gets from the power plant to your home, would you be able to answer? Don’t worry. Very few people actually understand the logistics of this modern-day luxury, but with a quick scan of the basics, you’ll be able to impress your four-year-old by the time she wakes up from her nap.
Let’s take a gander!
Electricity generation is the process of producing electric power from other types of energy (but you already knew that.) This typically takes place at a power plant where a generator converts potential energy into mechanical power, and then into electrical power. This process is primarily propelled by heat engines that are powered by chemical combustion, nuclear fission, or kinetic energy.
Many power plants across the country burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas to produce electricity. Fossil fuels are very popular because of their low cost, but as we transition away from these precious resources, more options become available.
Some plants may also use nuclear power to generate electricity, but this method is relatively expensive and may be hazardous to human health and the environment. To avoid burning through our supply of fossil fuels and possibly inflicting damage to the surrounding area, the hot new trend is clean energy. Wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric power are all forms of renewable energy that will keep our planet clean and functioning properly.
Once electricity is generated, it’s sent to substations through a series of transmission lines that connect to make up the power grid. Since there is no efficient way to store large amounts of energy, transmissions systems are designed to...