Electricity Generation and Distribution.
Electricity comes from many sources, Water (Hydro), Wind, Solar, and the more traditional methods of Gas, Coal, Nuclear and Oil (there are others but there contribution to the world output is quite miminal).
The Renewable sources I will mention later as they again only form a small part in the contribution to world output.
The traditional ways of providing electricity are what I'm going to focus on Coal, Gas, Nuclear and oil.
Below is a somewhat traditional overview of our electrical supplies:
1. Generating Station
2. Step up transformers in a substation.
3. Transmission of Electricity via Pylons.
4. Step Down transformers in a substation.
5. Distribution by cables to our homes.
1. Generating Station - Where the electricity is made
They come in all shapes and sizes from the large (Drax In Selby) to the Small (North Sea gas fired power stations by the North Sea Coast)
In common they all have a Turbine and use Steam to drive the turbine at a speed of 3000 revolutions per minute (3000/60=50Hz), the size of the turbine does vary from the Huge to the Small.
Most of the electricity in the United Kingdom is produced in steam turbines. A turbine converts the kinetic energy of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) to mechanical energy. Steam turbines have a series of blades mounted on a shaft against which steam is forced, thus rotating the shaft connected to the generator. In a fossil-fueled steam turbine, the fuel is burned in a furnace to heat water in a boiler to produce steam. Coal, petroleum (oil), and natural gas are burned in large furnaces to heat water to make steam that in turn pushes on the blades of a turbine.
2. HV Transformers - Step up the Voltage
The transformer at this point is there to step up the voltage from Low Voltage to High voltage.
The transformer allows electricity to be efficiently transmitted over long distances. This makes it possible to supply electricity to homes and businesses located far from the electric generating plant.
The electricity produced by a generator travels along cables to a transformer, which changes electricity from low voltage to high voltage. Electricity can be moved long distances more efficiently using high voltage. Transmission lines are used to carry the electricity to a substation.
3. Transmission Lines - Connecting Substations
Here in the UK you cannot go very far with out seeing Electricity pylons, these pylons are linked together with cables and form the National Grid, where electricty is transferred between hundreds of Substations and networks
4. Substations - Step down the Voltage
Substations have transformers that change the high voltage electricity into low voltage electricity.
5. Final connection - Homes and offices
From the substation, distribution lines carry the electricity to homes, offices and factories, which require low voltage electricity, these can be via smaller pole style pylons or underground cables which is the more favoured way.
In all it's a fascinating way to produce something that the eye cannot see and we cannot do without, most things in our homes need power and there it is how to generate and distribute electricity