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How and where is all that electricity made?

Posted on December 15, 2017

NH electriciansA standard part of our everyday lives that we tend to overlook is the use of electricity. Every day, everything that we use on a regular basis uses some power, even if it is not running. NH electricians are capable of providing you with any service that you need. It is important to remember where the energy you are using originates.

Most of us have a basic understanding on how we receive the electricity that we use in our homes. Some may have forgotten from way back when in 4th grade or so, while others may have never learned. General Electric is a good source for all electrical information, so when we decided to talk about where it comes from, we went to them.

The first thing to remember is that electricity is not just there for us to harness. It needs to get created from elemental energy. To get this energy, we need to break down a fuel source to “charge” up the next step. Typical fuels used for this process include:

  • Water
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Coal
  • Oil
  • Natural gas
  • Nuclear
  • Agricultural waste

 

The Process

As the plant takes in its fuel of choice, it cycles through the turbines at the plant. As the fuel is heated/burned, it creates one of three things. It will produce steam, gas, or fluid. It allows for the blades that are inside the turbine to move due to the pressure. These modules can run faster than 3,000 times a minute, incredibly fast. Once the turbine starts, it runs into the generator to turn the mechanical energy from the steam or fluid into electrical energy.

The turbine connects to a rod that is inside of the generator. When the turbines get enough energy, they begin to turn a giant magnet that is inside the generator. Copper wire coils surround this magnet. These coils have electrons that surround them. As the magnet turns, the particles begin to move. When the particles start to move through the wire, you have created electricity, and the first stage of production is complete.

When the current finally gets created and is powerful enough, a set of thick wires takes the current from the generator into a transformer. This transformer is used to increase the voltage of the electricity up to 500,000 volts at least. Once it has the correct voltage, it can move into the power grid.

The power grid is made up of multiple interconnected “substations” that help transfer the power to the right customers. Electricity gets sent to these substations using high voltage lines, where the transformers that are housed here actually lower the voltage once again. It is so the consumers can use the power that isn’t at too high of a voltage.

 

The Results

From these little substations, the electricity begins to travel through power lines to even smaller transformers. The power lines can be above or underground depending on the area. These small transformers at the local level aren’t at a substation, but rather will be on poles or concrete pads. Those gray boxes ate the transformers! These particular transformers reduce the voltage even more, to about 110-220 volts, a level deemed safe for your home and the business around you.

Once at the home front, your meter measures how much power you use. The control panel allows the energy to distribute through the wiring in your home, and when you plug something in or flick a switch, you complete the whole electrical circuit from plant to consumer.

NH Electricians can help you find out exactly what goes on with your electricity. They can let you know how your meter works for you and how you can gauge your usage when they come to complete in-home diagnostics and repairs.

For any issues with your electrical, call Chamberlin Electric at (603)-595-9473 and speak to one of our NH electricians.