Our power grid is a multifaceted and vital system that distributes energy for our way of life. It is one of the most remarkable engineering achievements of the modern era.
But how do our power grids produce energy?
Some ways we produce energy are from coal, water, natural gas, nuclear, oil, solar and wind.
These various forms of energy are all about transferring energy from one form to another.
For example, Natural gas power plants burn natural gas as their fuel. This combusts and expands causing a turbine to spin. This spinning occurs around magnets and copper wires which produces electricity.
It’s this process of using heat or motion to spin a magnet and then use copper wires as the conductor which make electricity. This works by pushing electrons in metals like copper which are easily moved from their orbits, with the help of a moving magnet which will move electrons and produce electricity.
Wind turbines use wind (motion) to make electricity. Wind turns the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, which spins a generator (magnetic field/ copper wires), which creates electricity.
What is energy?
Energy must be transferred to perform work on something or to heat it.
Energy comes in various forms and is always transferred.
The total amount of energy in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another. The First Law of Thermodynamics (Conservation) states that energy is always conserved, it cannot be created or destroyed. In essence, energy can be converted from one form into another.
Electronic devices such as televisions and computers use electrical energy and produce mainly light, sound and some heat energy.
It’s important to think of energy as something that is always flowing and changing.
Energy is not something we often think about. But it’s something that is always around us and critical to our daily lives.
The more we understand it in it’s simplest form, the better we’ll be about using less and caring for alternative solutions that are better for our environment.