Interesting Facts about Electricity

  • A spark of static electricity can measure up to three thousand (3,000) volts.
  • A bolt of lightning can measure up to three million (3,000,000) volts – and it lasts less than one second!
  • Electricity always tries to find the easiest path to the ground.
  • Electricity can be made from wind, water, the sun and even animal manure.
  • Burning coal is the most common way electricity is made in the United States.
  • The first power plant – owned by Thomas Edison – opened in New York City in 1882.
  • Thomas Edison invented more than 2,000 new products, including almost everything needed for us to use electricity in our homes: switches, fuses, sockets and meters.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn’t discover electricity – but he did prove that lightning is a form of electrical energy.
  • One power plant can produce enough electricity for 180,000 homes.

Alternative Energy

  • The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation known. It uses five times less energy than walking.
  • B.C.’s forest industry obtains 25% of its electricity from biomass — in this case, the waste material from their own industry.
  • A system of distribution and transmission lines brings electricity to southern Manitoba through 70,000 km of lines. That’s enough lines to circle the globe five times!
  • 16% of Canada’s electricity is produced by nuclear fission.
  • In terms of nominal capacity, the largest solar electric power plant is the Harper Lake Site in the Mojave Desert, California. The site covers 1,280 acres, and has two solar electric generating stations which have a nominal capacity of 160 MW.
  • Wind tunnels are used to test models of cars and bridges to see if they can stand up to strong winds. Olympic skiers use them to determine the crouch position with the least wind resistance.
  • The city of San Francisco gets 25% of its electricity from wind energy.
  • A wind turbine at Fort Severn on the shores of Hudson Bay supplies power to 30 homes when the winds are high, reducing the need for costly fuel from the community’s diesel generator.
  • Wave power has been successfully tested off the coast of Scotland. Its use is limited to coastal areas where wave action is reliable and strong and other energy sources are expensive.
  • Water provides the power to meet 1/5 of the world’s electrical demands.

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