How is electricity generated?
Electricity is produced on a large scale by generators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Generators are based on the principle of electromagnetic induction discovered in 1831 by British scientist, Michael Faraday. He discovered that an electric current can be produced by moving an electric conductor, such as copper wire, through a magnetic field. The mechanical energy of the moving wire is converted into a current of electric energy that flows through the wire.
Today, large commercial power plants harness some form of energy to turn the shaft or wheel of a device called a turbine. As it turns, this shaft drives an electric generator, which converts the mechanical energy into electric power.
There are two types of generators: direct current (DC) generators and alternating current (AC) generators. Both work on the same scientific principles and are driven by a machine that produces mechanical energy such as a turbine or diesel engine. AC generation is used in the modern power industry.
The electricity is transmitted at high voltages. Transformers reduce the voltage to levels that are useable by residential, farm and industrial customers.
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