What is electricity?

Electricity is a convenient and controllable form of energy that we use every day to power our appliances, provide light and cool our homes. Electricity is a secondary energy source, meaning it is generated from the conversion of primary sources of energy, such as fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil), nuclear power and renewable sources (wind, hydro, solar, geothermal).

 

Where does electricity come from?

There are a variety of sources of electricity:

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Fossil fuels

The burning of coal, natural gas and oil in power plants using gas turbines or heat engines produces heat which, when combined with steam, generates electricity.

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Nuclear power

Nuclear fission is used to split atoms and harness the energy released to generate heat and electricity.

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Hydro/wind

Water and wind are used in dams and windmills to power turbines that create heat and electricity.

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Solar

The sun’s rays are harnessed by photovoltaic panels that allow electrons to move freely among them, eventually meeting a circuit wire and converting into electricity.

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Geothermal

This form of energy is generated in the Earth’s core which has temperatures hotter than the sun’s surface produced by the slow decay of radioactive particles, a process that occurs in all rocks.