From Clean Energy

Electricity is, without doubt, the most versatile form of energy. It is also one of the cleanest, although it has to be remembered that this is only on account of having transferred any pollution from the point of use to the power station smokestack. There, at least, it is discharged at a considerable height and dissipated over a wide area. Most electricity is generated using fossil fuels, especially coal and gas, although nuclear energy and hydroelectric energy, both make sizable contributions to the world's electricity supply. These latter two energy sources are clean in the sense of not liberating carbon dioxide or other pollutants into the atmosphere.

3.1 Electricity Generation Statistics

Before examining the scale of electricity generation, a word about measurement units is appropriate. The standard unit of domestic electricity supply is the kilowatt-hour (10 3 Wh). When discussing national or international electricity generation, it is conventional to use larger units, i.e. the megawatt-hour, MWh (10 6 Wh); the gigawatt-hour, GWh (10 9 Wh); the terawatt-hour, TWh (10 12 Wh); or even the petawatt-hour, PWh (10 15 Wh). The installed generating capacity of a nation is expressed in megawatts (MW) or gigawatts (GW). For the major countries, the quantity of electricity generated is expressed in TWh.

The total world electricity generation by fuel in 1973 and 2001 is given in Table 3.1.1 Electricity production is 2.5 times more than what it was 28 years ago and now represents 15.6% of the world's energy...

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Topics of Interest

Overview From earliest times, humankind has burnt wood - a prime source of renewable energy - in order to keep warm and to cook food. Long before fossil fuels were exploited, wood was the universal...

kilowatt (kW) = 1,000 (one thousand) watts megawatt (MW) = 1,000,000 (one million) watts gigawatt (GW) = 1,000,000,000 (one billion) watts terawatt (TW) = 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) watts...

1.6 The Central Electricity Generating Board In April 1948 the entire industry in Great Britain (except the North of Scotland HydroElectric Board, already a public board) was nationalized when the...


G-I gas Natural gas, flammable gas, or other toxic or corrosive gas. gas cap A layer of gas that rests above oil in an underground porous structure or reservoir. gas casinghead (wet natural gas)...

Power generation is the production of electricity from sources of primary energy; for utilities, it is the first process in delivering electricity to customers.