Energy can be defined as physical or chemical means that produce work. In most cases, the energy coming to your home is produced by your power company’s generation facility in the form of physical force. The facility contains turbine blades that are spun by water, steam, or wind to create energy in a generator.
When you pedal your bicycle really fast, you create more energy and ride at a higher speed. A power company uses this same concept with energy turbines; the faster they are spun, the more energy they create.
This energy is then transferred through a series of wires and transformers that eventually end up at your house.
How Energy Is Transferred
“Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be changed from one form to another.” This quote by Albert Einstein explains simply how energy behaves.
The steps below show how energy is transferred in an everyday life situation:
- The Sun – Energy from the sun’s rays is absorbed by plants.
- The Plants – The energy in the plants is used to make them grow, and the plants are eaten by a cow.
- The Cow – The cow has gained energy from eating the stored energy in the plants, and the cow’s meat is eaten by a person.
- The Person – The person has gained energy from eating the stored energy in the cow’s meat, and uses that energy to play baseball.
Forms of Energy
As you can see, the energy never “dies.” In other words, energy is continuously being transferred through various forms. Stored energy, called potential energy, was seen in the plant and the cow’s meat. Kinetic energy, or energy in motion, was seen in multiple steps in the example. The cow moving to eat the plant, the person moving to eat the cow’s meat, and the person moving his or her arm to throw a baseball are all examples of kinetic energy.
The energy that makes it to your house runs through a similar process. Electrical energy coming from your power company is transferred through different mediums, such as wires and transformers before finally making it to your home in the form of light or heat energy.
Come back next week to read our next post about how energy makes it to your home or learn more at IGS Solar, where you can get information about residential (rooftop) solar, solar for business and community solar farms.”