The Science Behind Electricity
We are surrounded by electricity, or "electron-jumping," every day. Electricity is created from many types of fuels, from coal and gas to solar and biomass, in generating plants like those operated by Southern Company. Whether the fuel used is natural or human-made, the basic scientific principles are the same. Get a quick refresher on the basics.
In this segment we will explore the science behind electricity and how it is created. We are surrounded by electricity every day. Electricity comes in many forms. From the lightning storms that sweep through on a hot summer night to the light fixtures that illuminate our homes with a flip of a switch. Whether natural or manmade, the principal's of electricity are the same. Electricity is the movement of tiny atomic particles called electrons, particles so small that you can't see them. As these particles move, they generate energy which is in the form we call electricity.
At Southern Company, we produce electricity at our generating plants. The simplest type of generator has two main components, a rotating magnet called a rotor, which turns inside stationary coils of copper wire, called the stator. When the rotor rotates through the magnetic field it causes electrons to jump across the coils of copper wire, the stator. This electromotive force, or electron jumping is essentially what we call electricity. Generating plants must use some type of energy to turn the rotor.
At Southern Company, we have many different types of power plants including hydro, gas, coal fired, and nuclear. We are also exploring new forms of renewable energy including solar, biomass, and wind technologies. We use a variety of fuel sources to ensure that our customers have a reliable power source 24/7. Now, you know the basics of energy generation, which is the cornerstone of our business here at Southern Company.