People often take electricity for granted yet the fact remains that every little gadget and appliance used in the world today is run by it. It is now difficult to live one’s life without electrical energy since it is now considered a need rather than mere convenience. Just think of the many homes and offices that need computers to run their tasks on a daily basis. Look at this at a wider angle and you would know that the very core of global economy rests upon this simple power.
The first process in delivering electricity to residences and commercial areas is electricity generation. The next three processes include power transmission, distribution and, finally, retailing.
There are two ways that the demand for electricity can be met. The first method is used by both public and private utilities where they construct huge scale centralized projects that generate and transmit electrical power. These are needful in fueling economies all over the world.
Majority of such projects spurred negative environmental effects, though, like radiation and air pollution. Massive land areas have also been flooded throughout the globe.
Small-scale power throughout the electricity network is created by distributed generation. More often than not, these sites produce electrical byproducts of different industrial processes. An example is the use of landfill gas in order to drive turbines.
Just like many other things, the production of electricity relies on certain geographic factors. Suppliers in different countries largely use fossil fuels in creating power while others rely on the production of nuclear energy.
You need to understand the deeper aspects of electricity production in order to know how the suppliers keep all those lights in your home running. Here are just some of the ways that these suppliers turn coal or wind into usable electrical power –
Using Fossil Fuels
Burning fossil fuels is still the most common form of energy production in the world. Generally, suppliers combust natural gas, coal, or fuel oil in order to generate heat; this heat is then turned into mechanical energy then into electricity. The year 2009 showed that about 44.9% of the electricity produced by suppliers in the U.S. was solely powered by coal, with 23.4% from natural gas and just 1% from petroleum. These are huge percentages of non-renewable energy sources being depleted at this rate yearly.
Utilizing Nuclear Power
Power plants that were built for nuclear energy relies on the principle of nuclear fission; this works through the likes of uranium and other radioactive materials that are used as they release energy at a very slow process. Induced fission reactions generate more energy and when kept in a shielded core, electricity suppliers will be able to use this power to product steam that power turbines.
Making Use of Renewable Power
Just recently, electricity suppliers are focusing their research in renewable sources of electrical power. Energy production methods under this category do not need to rely on expendable stuff such as fossil fuels. In their place, infinite sources are used to produce electricity.
Electricity is harnessed through simple means such as turning a turbine using wind power.
The production of electricity using solar energy is a bit more complex. This method makes use of photovoltaic cells, which then convert the rays of the sun into electricity. Solar panels are actually photovoltaic cells that are aligned and used to heat homes. Hydroelectric power, on the other hand, makes use of the movement of water in order to generate electrical power. About 10% of the global electricity now comes from renewable sources. This is great news since this figure is projected to increase with more and more countries joining in to shift to green energy production.