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Electricity Generation

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Electricity is a secondary form of energy, the primary being fossil fuels, which are used to generate it. The world’s production of electricity was twelve trillion kilowatt hours in 1997, and is expected to be close to twenty-one trillion kilowatt hours by 2020. (Fay and Golomb, 2002, 16) This is a cause of concern because based on the United States Department of Energy’s International Energy Outlook 1997 the world’s electricity generation is primarily (63%) from fossil fuels, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned. The unnatural amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already beginning to make some changes in our weather patterns, and predictions for the future look grim. Therefore, alternatives in electricity generation must be explored.

In order to be able to take alternative electricity generation techniques into consideration, one must know the basics about how electricity is generated. The generation of electricity is usually done in a power plant of sorts and then sent out over the power grid to homes. The employment of step up transformers that convert the twelve kilovolts normally outputted by the power plant, into four hundred kilovolts for long range transmission over high voltage transmission lines are critical to insure minimal power loss during transport. (Urone, 2001, 573) A step down transformer is then used to bring the voltage down to levels that are safe for home use, thirteen kilovolts over normal power lines, and two hundred forty volts or one hundred twenty volts (Europe and United States respectively) to the actual home.

The actual driving force behind electric powered appliances is electric current. Electricity is merely electric current used as a ...

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...logy, could take off in the future. Of course, as with any type of technology, each method does have it’s own list of pros and cons. However, one thing is for sure, the current trend calls for fossil fuels to continue their domination of the energy market, which poses severe environmental risks for the future. Advancements in research and technology are making people more aware of the dangers that lie ahead. The time is now to demand a responsible energy policy from the government, in hopes of a brighter tomorrow.

List of Sources:

Fay A., James and Golomb S., Dan. 2002. Energy and the Environment. Oxford University Press, New York.

Ristinen A., Robert and Kraushar J., Jack. 1999.Energy and the Environment. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.

Urone Peter, Paul. 2001. College Physics, 2nd ed. Wadsworth Group. Brooks/Cole. Thomson Learning, Inc., New York.