MicroLesson Two: Be able to explain why electricity is a secondary energy source. Be able to explain why the public began to see electricity as a stand alone energy source.
Electricity is a secondary energy source because it requires a primary energy source for its generation. To generate electricity turbines have to power generators and turbines are run by steam. To produce steam coal has to burned, or in the case of nuclear, reactions have to take place to produce heat. Wind is the primary energy source for wind power. Solar-generated electricity depends on the sun as its primary energy source.
Society began to see electricity as a stand-alone energy source because electrical current is invisible and consumers are far removed from the generation of power. Yes, your cellphones do ultimately run on coal and steam!
The main takeaway from this lesson is that electricity is a secondary energy source because it requires a primary energy source for its generation. This in turn separates generation from consumption which tricks us into believing that it is a stand-alone energy source.
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