As we go about our lives using various appliances that run on electricity, we rarely give much thought to where all that power comes from. Harnessing energy and turning it into electricity that the average household can use as-needed takes a sizeable infrastructure and quite a bit of work.
There are many different methods of accomplishing this, each with various levels of efficiency. Some work best when combined with others while others yet are enough on their own. Here are four of the most common types of power for homes, sorted based on cost-efficiency and/or amount of energy.
Types of power for your home
Coal: If your home has electricity, there’s a good chance that a large chunk of it comes from coal. This fact isn’t commonly known, as many people associate coal with old-fashioned and out-of-style forms of heating. In truth, coal remains one of the cheapest, safest and most effective ways of creating electricity. The biggest risk associated with coal-based power comes during the mining period, as mines can sometimes collapse or trap miners for lengthy periods of time. Once it’s out, though, processing coal is fairly safe and inexpensive with the appropriate power plant. In fact, it’s a safe guess that your home might use up several thousands of pounds of coal every year just for electrical energy as the material is abundant and not too hard to come by.
Nuclear: Coal’s biggest rival in terms of efficiency is nuclear power, more specifically uranium. The process of converting nuclear power to electricity isn’t too dissimilar from the coal-based method, although there are more risks involved and governments as well as the general public are still reluctant to rely on nuclear power too much. After uranium is mined, it goes through a lengthy processing period that makes it usable for electrical distributions. Among the chief issues with nuclear power is the possibility of a devastating power plant meltdown – there’s a series of spooky video games called S.T.A.L.K.E.R. that are based on the „What if?“ of such a scenario and will make anyone reconsider using nuclear energy. Still, many nations already make heavy use of it and U.S. nuclear plants are some of the safest out there – eventually, nuclear energy is bound to become more widespread.
Wind: One of the oldest ways of generating power wherever possible, wind energy is harnessed by sophisticated turbines that translate it to electricity. The ‘windmills’ of present day are a far cry from the simple mechanisms of grassy Dutch plains and require tens of millions of dollars of investment on average to get a single field running, not to mention the low dependability of wind as a power source.
Solar: Many have been enamored with solar energy for a while now due to how ecological it is – the Sun has more than enough energy to spare, and finding a way to use the abundant power source for our benefit(past absorbing it through our skin) is in everyone’s best interest. As it stands now, though, solar power technology isn’t quite there yet and could take up to several more decades before it can start replacing standard ways of powering urban and rural areas.