Electricity generation

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Electricity generation is the process of creating electricity from other forms of energy.

The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday. His basic method is still used today: electricity is generated by the movement of a loop of wire, or disc of copper between the poles of a magnet.[1]

For electric utilities, it is the first process in the delivery of electricity to consumers. The other processes, electricity transmission, distribution, and electrical power storage and recovery using pumped storage methods are normally carried out by the electrical power industry.

Electricity is most often generated at a power station by electromechanical generators, primarily driven by heat engines fueled by chemical combustion or nuclear fission but also by other means such as the kinetic energy of flowing water and wind. There are many other technologies that can be and are used to generate electricity such as solar photovoltaics and geothermal power.

Contents

History

Centralised power generation became possible when it was recognised that alternating current power lines can transport electricity at very low costs across great distances by taking advantage of the ability to raise and lower the voltage using power transformers.

Electricity has been generated at central stations since 1881. The first power plants were run on water power[4] or coal,[5] and today we rely mainly on coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, and petroleum with a small amount from solar energy, tidal harnesses, wind generators, and geothermal sources.

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