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Electrical energy is energy derived as a result of movement of electrically charged particles. When used loosely, ''electrical energy'' refers to energy that has been converted ''from'' electric potential energy. This energy is supplied by the combination of
electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as electrons or ions, moving through an electrical conductor or space. It is measured as the net rate of flow of electric charge through a surface or into a control volume. The moving part ...
and
electric potential The electric potential (also called the ''electric field potential'', potential drop, the electrostatic potential) is defined as the amount of work (physics), work energy needed to move a unit of electric charge from a reference point to the spe ...

electric potential
that is delivered by an
electrical circuit An electrical network is an interconnection of electrical component An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields. Electronic component ...

electrical circuit
(e.g., provided by an
electric power Electric power is the rate, per unit time, at which electrical energy is transferred by an electric circuit. The SI unit of power is the watt The watt (symbol: W) is a unit of Power (physics), power or radiant flux. In the International Sy ...
utility). At the point that this electric potential energy has been converted to another type of energy, it ceases to be electric potential energy. Thus, all electrical energy is potential energy before it is delivered to the end-use. Once converted from potential energy, electrical energy can always be called another type of energy (heat, light, motion, etc.). Electrical energy is usually sold by the
kilowatt hour The kilowatt-hour ( SI symbol: kW⋅h or kW h; commonly written as kWh) is a unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, ...
(1 kW·h = 3.6 MJ) which is the product of the power in kilowatts multiplied by running time in hours. Electric utilities measure energy using an
electricity meter North American domestic analog signal, analog electricity meter. file:Transparent Electricity Meter found in Israel.JPG, Electricity meter with transparent plastic case (Israel) file:Hydro Quebec meter solid state.jpg, North American domestic e ...
, which keeps a running total of the electric energy delivered to a customer.


Electricity generation

Electricity generation is the process of generating electrical energy from other
forms of energy In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior thro ...
. The fundamental principle of electricity generation was discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist
Michael Faraday Michael Faraday (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of interest. In clas ...

Michael Faraday
. His basic method is still used today: electric current is generated by the movement of a loop of wire, or
disc of copper
disc of copper
between the poles of a
magnet Magnetic field#Magnetic field lines, Magnetic field lines of a solenoid electromagnet, which are similar to a bar magnet as illustrated below with the iron filings A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field. This magnetic ...

magnet
. For electrical utilities, it is the first step in the delivery of electricity to consumers. The other processes, electricity
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to perform useful Mechanical work, work. Power (physics), Power is d ...

transmission
,
distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functions in mathematical analysis. Distr ...
, and electrical energy storage and recovery using
pumped-storage Pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH), or pumped hydroelectric energy storage (PHES), is a type of hydroelectricity, hydroelectric energy storage used by electric power systems for load balancing (electrical power), load balancing. The method s ...
methods are normally carried out by the
electric power industry The electric power industry covers the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric power to the general public and industry. The commercial distribution of electric power started in 1882 when electricity was produced for elect ...
. Electricity is most often generated at a
power station A power station, also referred to as a power plant and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the electricity generation, generation of electric power. Power stations are generally connected to an ele ...

power station
by electromechanical generators, primarily driven by
heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these qu ...

heat engine
s fueled by chemical
combustion Combustion, or burning, is a high-temperature exothermic In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, radiation, and physical pro ...
or
nuclear fission Nuclear fission is a reaction Reaction may refer to a response (disambiguation), response to an action, event, or exposure. Examples: *Adverse drug reaction *Allergy, Allergic reaction *Chemical reaction *Chain reaction (disambiguation) *Comment ...

nuclear fission
but also by other means such as the
kinetic energy In physics, the kinetic energy of an object is the energy that it possesses due to its motion (physics), motion. It is defined as the work (physics), work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gaine ...
of flowing water and wind. There are many other technologies that can be and are used to generate electricity such as solar
photovoltaics Photovoltaics (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry. The photovoltaic effect is commercially u ...
and
geothermal power Geothermal power is electricity generation, electrical power generated from geothermal energy. Technologies in use include dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations. Geothermal electricity generation i ...
.


References

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Electricity Forms of energy