Electric power generation
Fravel, Maris T. Bechtel Power Corporation, Ann Arbor Power Division, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Reddoch, Thomas W. Electric Power Research Institute, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Last reviewed:March 2019
Show previous versions
- Electric power generation, published January 2017:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Electric power generation, published June 2014:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- General considerations
- Generating unit sizes
- Voltage regulation
- Synchronization of generators
- Fossil-fuel plants
- Steam power plants
- Gas turbine plants
- Hydroelectric plants
- Pumped storage
- Alternative power sources
- Solar power
- Geothermal power
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The production of bulk electric power for industrial, residential, and rural use. Electric power generation generally implies large-scale production of electric power in stationary plants designed for that purpose. Historically, these plants have mostly burned fossil fuels such as coal (Fig. 1), oil, and natural gas. Hydropower, driven by the conversion of falling water to energy via hydraulic turbines, is also an electric power generating source with a legacy going back to the late 19th century. Nuclear power plants, where energy is obtained through the controlled fission of atoms, emerged in the 1950s. In more recent decades, concerns about global climate change caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, of which a significant portion is related to electric power generation involving fossil fuels, coupled with improving economics and technologies, have led to increased interest in and utilization of alternative energy sources. These sources include wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal, as well as hydroelectric power. Because these forms of potential energy constantly and rapidly renew themselves, they are termed "renewable" energy sources, in distinction to nonrenewable fossil fuels, which exist in finite quantities within the Earth. See also: Electrical energy measurement; Electricity; Energy; Energy sources; Generator; Geothermal power; Global climate change; Nuclear fission; Nuclear power; Prime mover; Solar energy; Turbine; Wind power
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