The process of generating electric power from its primary source is known as Electricity generation. Therefore electric power is the energy that individual use in the home and the industries. The main electric utility in the electricity industry is to deliver electricity to the consumers, and the other utilities are distribution, transmission, storing energy and recovery. The property of the electrical energy is that is not naturally present. Therefore it must be produced. The production of the electric power is done in the power plant. Thus electricity in many cases is generated in the power station by the electromechanical generator. The generator mainly is driven by the heat engines that are fueled by the nuclear fission or the combustion fusion. But in other ways, the kinetic energy of wind and water can also the used to generate electric power. The other source of the electric power is geothermal power and solar photovoltaic.
Historically, the fundamental principles of the electric generation were first discovered in 1820 and the in 1830 by the scientist known as Michael Faraday. He discovered the principle of induction which is used in the development and operation of the transformer. The generator is the electrical device that converts the form of the energy into electric power. Generator operate base on the principle of induction. This is the relationship between the electricity and magnetism. Also, the generator can change mechanical energy (kinetic energy) into electrical energy.
The generator is the most common method of producing electricity. It normally uses an electromagnet to produce electricity. Inside the generator, there is series of insulated winding of the wire which forms a stationary cylinder. The cylinder surrounds the rotary shaft of the electromagnetic shaft; as the electromagnetic revolve, it usually induces the electric current in the wire on another coil. Every section of the wire winding become a small, separate conductor. Therefore the small current of the individual section combines its current to form the large current. The currents are the electric power that is supplied through the wireline to the users.
In the power plant, the turbine is used to drive the generator. There are the different type of turbine that includes gas combustion turbine, steam turbines, wind turbines, and water turbines. Hence turbine converts the moving kinetic energy into mechanical energy. In the turbine’s generator, there is moving fluid that pushes the series of the blades mounted to the shaft that rotates the shaft connected to the generator. Base on the relationship between the electricity and magnetism, the generator convert mechanical energy to electricity.
Type of the power plant
Steam turbine power plant
It is the traditional power plant that makes electric energy through burning of the fuel like coal and oil to release heat. It is also called thermal power plants. In this power plant, fuels are burned to release heat energy that boils water which produces steam that drives the steam turbine; then the turbine rotates the shaft in the generator to produce electricity.
Gas turbine power plant
It is natural gas plant work uses the gas to rotate the turbine that in turn drive the shaft in the generator as it produces electricity.
Nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant works similar to the thermal plant, but the difference is that the atoms are smashed apart produce heat energy. Heat produced here is used to boil water to produce steam that in turn drive the steam turbine that enables rotation of the shaft in the generator finally they produce electricity,
Hydroelectric power generation
It is the plant that is designed to funnel that vast amount of water past enormous water turbines. It is constructed at a point of the waterfall of the river. As the river flow, the water turbine constrict along the river will continue to spin and the dam produces hydroelectric power. The generation of the electric power fluctuates due to a fluctuation of the amount of water present to the water source like the decrease in the water led low power generation unless there is reserved water for generation of electricity.
Solar power plant generation
In the solar plant, there are two means of generating electricity from the sun radiation by use of the solar panel. They are the parabolic and photovoltaic trough. Parabolic trough absorbs heat energy from the sun to heat up salts to its melting state which enable it to move past the boilers where high-pressure steam is produced. The steam produced is then used to drive the turbine that is connected to the generator. On the other hand photovoltaic normally use the semiconducting solar panel to output electricity in the form of direct current. Then direct current can then be changed to alternating current so that can feed into the electrical system.
Wind power generation
It is fast growing means of electric production where the wind propelled turbines are used to give mechanical energy motion that is needed to turn the generator. The turbines can change depending on the direction and the speed of the wind. As the wind turns the turbines, then the turbines cause the movement of the shaft in the generator cutting on the electromagnetic fields hence the current is induced to form electric power. The speed of the wind determines power generated that is high-velocity wind blowing will generate high electric power generated due to increase in the electromagnetic field that will result in high power generation.
In the generation of the electricity in the power station, the amount of the electric power generated cannot be distributed and transmitted with the same capacity for long distance. Therefore it’s important that the capacity can be increased for better transmission and distribution of power for the long distance without reducing the original capacity generated. In this case of increasing the capacity of the electric power are reducing become the functions of the transformer. Therefore transformer is the device that manipulates the electric power taken and generate different capacity depending on the needs of the end user base on the Faradays principle of induction. There is two main type of the transformer that controls that flow of the electric power on distribution. The two type is a step-up transformer and steps down transformer.
Step up transformer is normally installed in the power station to increase the capacity of the electricity for the distribution or transmission of that energy. The transformer is made of two main windings or coil which are not directly interconnected. They are named primary coil and the secondary coil which are winded on the soft iron core. The primary coil takes electric power from the electric generator and induces those power to the second coil by the process of electromagnet induction. In a step-up transformer, the process there is an expectation of the increase in the capacity of the electric power taken and that one produced. The number of the turns between the primary winding and secondary winding determine the reduction or increase on the capacity produce on the secondary coil. Therefore in a step-up transformer, the number of turns in the primary coil is lower than those turns in the secondary coil. Hence the current taken by the transformer on the primary coil increase with the increase of the turns on the secondary coil through electromagnetic induction process. Step up transformers are important in the power station plant they increase the capacity of the current to be distributed or transmitted over a long distance without problem. Also, this is the type of transformer that is inbuilt in the generator as where they generate electricity as it multiplies the mechanical energy that it is induced by the turbines on the shafts high capacity electric current generated.
The other transformer is the step-down transformer where it reduces the capacity of the current supplied to relatively low current capacity. This is due to the reduction of the number of turns on the secondary coil as compared to the primary coil. The current that is taken by the transformer (primary coil) is more than that one produced by the transformer (secondary coil). The number of turn on the secondary coil is less than that of the primary coil that leads to decrease in the current product on the secondary coil. This type of the transformer is installed in residential areas where it connects power to the community.
Maintenance of power generating equipment
There is need to maintain the equipment that generates electric power. It is subdivided into main activity, which is mechanical maintenance and electrical maintenance. The electrical maintenance deal with the electric power interconnection in the power station and winding of the transformer to increase the smooth supply of the electricity to the consumer. Mechanical maintenance deal with the installation of the machines in the power station. Therefore the skills of mechanical and electrical maintenance are important in the operation of the power station plant. The distribution of the electric power depends on the connection grid that is determined by the engineer in the power plant station. And the transformers connected base on the specified number of the end user connected to that transformer. However, the overload of the transformer leads transformer damage.
United Nations. “Energy Statistics Yearbook.” New York: United Nations (1995).
US Department of Energy. “Electric Power Annual.” (1994).