Energy 101

What on earth is energy anyway and how does it work?

Here, we are just showing off our knowledge about how electricity is produced. Most of us turn on the light switch without a second thought - just expecting it to work. Off course we do! Why would we give it another thought! Energy has always been a passive part of our lives.

But as the world demands more and more energy, its becoming something we need to interact with and start understanding a little more. For example, those who now use solar, probably actually think about what is happening when they turn on the light switch!

The process by which energy is produced to get it ready for the switch in our homes - is pretty amazing.

So what is electricity and where does it come from?

Well, it's just a form of energy produced by the flow of electrons :)

Energy exists in many forms but electricity is a secondary source of energy as  it is produced by the form of a primary energy source. Electricity is made from the conversion of a primary energy source. The primary renewable energy ‘clean’ sources are wind, sun, tides, mountain lakes, rivers (form which hydroelectric energy is sourced) and even the Earth heat that supplies geothermal energy. Primary non-renewable ‘dirty’ energy sources, still appear in the natural environment, however they are not clean and produce large amounts of carbon, these primary sources of energy are coal, oil, natural gas, wood, and nuclear fuels (uranium).

Electricity has become a basic human right in developed nations (however 1 in every 5 people do not have access to electricity). Electricity has propelled nations through industrial revolutions, supported the building of some of worlds greatest infrastructure and continues to drive that infrastructure forward today. It truly is an incredible power source to run our everyday lives. Electricity can be readily converted to heat and light and use to power every day machines.

How is electricity produced?

Electricity is produced by either chemical means or mechanical action - joking, we won't bore you with those details.

More interesting is that electricity can be produced by coal, wind, solar and hydro. And, electricity is basic supply and demand. The physical supply of it and the price of it, depends on the number of people needing energy at any particular point in time.

How is electricity measured?

Electricity is measured in a number of ways, the most common is describing the rate at which the energy is being used at a specific moment. For example a 10-watt light bulb uses 10 watts of electricity at any moment when turned on.

An average house, uses roughly 5 kilowatts of energy a day. Obviously, give or take depending on the weather and other conditions.

Thats the very, very basics covered. Next time you turn on the light switch, hopefully you can share this someone else!

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