Learn About Energy Energy-SMART! Home

Electricity Is Produced in Power Plants

Have you ever watched a pinwheel spin in the wind? The mechanical energy of the wind causes the blades of the pinwheel to turn. Energy is transferred from the wind to the pinwheel. A similar transfer of energy happens when electricity is generated.

Generators in power plants produce most of the electricity we use. Inside a generator, an energy source is used to turn the blades of a wheel called a turbine. Energy is transferred from the energy source to the turbine blades.

The turbine is attached to an axle and a very large magnet. The spinning of the turbine causes the axle and magnet to spin. Mechanical energy is transferred from the turbine to the magnet.

A huge coil of wire surrounds the magnet. As the magnet spins, it creates a flow of electricity in the wire. The mechanical energy of the spinning coil changes to electrical energy in the wire.

The wire is hooked up to power lines that allow the current to travel between the power plant and the electrical wires in homes, schools, and businesses. When you turn on a device like a TV or a computer, you direct the electricity to travel through the wires to run that device.

BackNext Section