2 Generating Electricity An electric generator converts a mechanical power source into electricityThe United States used coal, methane, biomass, and nuclear fuels for most power plantsThese plants heat water into steam which then turns a turbine, which then turns the generator
3 The electricity created at a power plant has high voltage. This is why we have high voltage power lines (on large metal towers)This voltage is stepped down with transformers until it is finally the 120 volts that enters your home
4 Alternative EnergyAll power plants described so far heat water to turn the turbines and generate electricityHydroelectric power plants use moving water to turn the turbinesWind generators use wind to turn the propellers, which then turns the turbine and generates electricity
5 Solar EnergySolar energy can be used in two methods to generate electricityThe first method is to focus the light and heat water, which turns a turbine like most other power plantsSunlight can also be used by photovoltaic cells (solar cells) to directly convert light into electricityThis is what happens to in your solar calculator
6 Using ElectricityHousehold use of electricity typically is in one of three formsMotion – motorsHeat – ovens, toasters,Light – lightbulbsA meter on the side of the house measures how much electricity you use so the power company can send you a bill
7 An electric bill measures and charges based on kilowatt hours A standard incandescent light bulb uses 100 watts; therefore, using it for 1 hour will use .1kW hoursA local power company chargesEnergy $ per kWh
8 Additional appliance info The 100 watt light bulb uses 100 watts of power (.9 amps and 110 volts)Additional appliance infoHeat pump or central air 15,000 wattsWater heater or clothes drier 4,000 wattsWater pump 3,000 wattsSpace heater 1,500 wattsHair dryer 1,200 wattsElectric range burner 1,000 wattsRefrigerator 1,000 wattsComputer and monitor 400 watts
9 Additional Sites and info How much coal is required to run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for a year?About Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL)Why are my power bills so high? Which appliances use the most power?