Coal – coal is turned into electricity by burning it to make steam to turn a turbine; unfortunately, this makes carbon dioxide that causes global warming
Cooling towers – these are used at power stations to get as much heat as possible out of steam that has been used to make electricity; this makes the power stations more efficient. They are normally very wide towers, and sometimes look as though they have clouds coming out of them!
Dams – used to block up valleys and create a lake behind them; the force of the water leaving the lake is used to turn a turbine
Electric shock – what you get when electricity runs through you; electric shocks can easily kill people, so it’s a good idea to be very careful with electricity
Efficiency – energy efficiency means only using the energy that you need to use; this means turning things off when you aren’t using them so that they don’t use electricity. It saves money, and helps the environment.
Gas – gas is turned into electricity by burning it to make steam to turn a turbine; unfortunately, this makes carbon dioxide that causes global warming
Generate – when we make electricity using any of the methods described on this page, we say that we’ve ‘generated’ it
Green electricity – green electricity is electricity that has been generated in an environmentally friendly way; people usually use this to mean wind power, solar power and hydroelectricity.
High voltage – very strong electricity (see voltage) It’s more efficient to move electricity long distances if it is high voltage; this saves money and is good for the environment, but it makes it more dangerous
Hydroelectric – power that is generated using water to turn turbines; this is normally by using a dam to create a lake, but sometimes waves or tides in the ocean are used
Nuclear power – nuclear fuels get very hot, and the heat is used to make steam to turn a turbine; this doesn’t make carbon dioxide, but the used fuel is dangerous and has to be stored carefully for a long time
Nuclear waste – nuclear fuel that has been used up making electricity; it can be very dangerous, and lasts a long time
Power station – a huge building that is used to make electricity; it has cooling towers and turbines, and needs a fuel to use to generate the electricity
Pylon – high voltage electricity is used over long distances from the power stations to towns and cities; it is more dangerous than low voltage electricity, so the cables are put at the top of big metal towers called pylons
Solar power – electricity made using special panels that absorb light from the sun and turn it into electricity
Solar panels – flat panels that are specially made so that when sunlight hits them, they generate electricity; you often see them on the roofs of houses
Turbine – a special kind of machine that you can turn to make electricity; most electricity is made using turbines, often with steam that is made by burning fuel to heat water
Voltage – a measure of how strong the electricity is; the higher the voltage, the stronger it is, and the more dangerous it is
Wind power – electricity that is generated by turbines turned by the wind
Wind turbines – used to generate wind power; they have big blades that catch the wind so that the wind makes them turn, and they turn the turbine to make electricity
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