All power plants in the USA together use more than 900 million short tons of coal to generate 40% of America’s electricity each year. The USA, China and Japan are some of the largest electricity producing countries in the world. This article contains information about these electricity generation giants.
The first experiment with electricity was carried out by a Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus, applying amber (or fossilized resin) to fur that would attract fixed objects. This phenomenon has been explained as static electricity and hence the word electricity comes from the Greek word electron, meaning amber. Electricity can be produced in several ways and the most commonly used method is electromagnetic induction. In this method, mechanical energy developed by heat engines, hydroelectricity, tidal power or wind energy rotates or forces an electricity generator to rotate. Most of the electricity generation in the world is attributed to this generation method.
United States of America
Net electricity generation by the US Government was measured at a staggering 4.120 billion kilowatt hours, making it the world’s largest power producer. Among the main energy sources used to generate electricity in the USA are thermal sources, hydroelectric, wind energy, nuclear energy, geothermal energy and other renewable sources. According to President Barack Obama, the recent development and application of renewable energy to generate electricity marks a new era of exploration.
In second place, China has a net electricity production of 3.965 billion kilowatt-hours. It is among the top three countries with abundant coal reserves and hydroelectric resources. The electricity sector experienced a major breakthrough in April 1996, when the Electricity Energy Law came into effect. This law ensured the optimum development of the electrical energy industry by properly regulating electricity generation, distribution and consumption. The law also aimed to protect the legal rights of investors, managers and consumers regarding the electrical energy sector.
Third, Japan, which produces 1013 billion kilowatt-hours of net electricity, is not just self-sufficient when it comes to electrical power supply; It is also an important exporter of equipment needed in the energy sector. The electricity sector in Japan is heavily dependent on nuclear resources and nuclear energy has been the answer to all electricity generation problems. However, unreliable seismic activity has been dangerous and most nuclear power plants have had to shut down. Japan produces most of its electricity from hydroelectric and other renewable sources such as biomass, wind, and solar energy.
Russia is proud to be the second largest region with abundant coal reserves. The USA is Russia that comes after China and Japan. Electricity is mainly produced from natural gas and coal. More than 60% of its electricity is produced by thermal power plants. Other sources of Russia’s electricity generation include nuclear reactors, hydroelectricity, wind and other renewable sources. It is the fifth largest hydroelectric generator in the world. Russia, Poland, Latvia, Finland, Turkey, and is known to export electricity to countries such as Lithuania.
India ranks fifth in the list of the world’s top ten electricity producing countries. The vast majority of India’s electrical energy, almost over 50%, comes from coal-fired power plants. Hydroelectric and renewable energy sources contribute less to electricity generation. India’s power generation capacity has increased from 66 GW in 1991 to 199 GW in 2012 in the last two decades. This growth has led to India being one of the fastest growing markets for electricity generation, distribution and consumption. Many reasons such as rapid growth in the economy, household incomes and urban development have stimulated the electrical energy sector in India.
Canada ranks sixth on this list. Besides renewable resources and nuclear power plants, hydropower has played an important role in electricity generation in Canada. Other sources of electricity generation include wind energy, coal and natural gas, wood, fuel, oil and coke. With its integrated public services, the Canadian government has taken steps to maintain a stronghold on electricity generation, distribution, transmission, and consumption.
Germany is not only the world’s largest country to generate electricity using non-hydro vehicles and renewable sources, but also the second largest operator of wind-powered electricity generation. Not far behind is Germany that ranks seventh among the world’s top ten electricity-producing countries. Fossil fuels, biomass fuels, wind and solar energy are some of them and the sources used to generate electricity in Germany.
France generates 538,963 billion kilowatt-hours of net electricity production and ranks eighth on this list. The primary energy source in France is nuclear power. More than 75% of the country’s total electricity generation is from nuclear energy. For France, exactly 78.8% of nuclear energy was used to generate electricity. For this reason, the nuclear power and nuclear power industry has been labeled as a success story that provides efficient, carbon-dioxide-free, cheap and pollution-free electricity. In 2012, France became the largest electricity exporter.
While Brazil is not the world’s largest electricity-producing country, it has the largest electricity market in South America. However, it has the largest water storage volume. Brazil’s electrical power sector is heavily dependent on hydropower to maintain its share in electricity generation, consumption, transmission and distribution. More than 80% of the electricity need and demand is met only by hydroelectricity. This extreme dependence on hydroelectric energy has made Brazil vulnerable to power cuts in times of drought. Other energy generation sources include nuclear energy, biomass fuel, natural gas, coal, petroleum and wind energy.
South Korea is ranked tenth in this list of electricity generating giants. They generate more than two-thirds of all electricity generation. South Korea’s shortcomings in using hydroelectric or other renewable sources for electric power generation have been addressed by focusing on and developing the nuclear power industry.
Different Electricity Generation Methods
There are basic methods used to generate electrical energy from other types of energy and these are as follows:
Electromagnetic induction: According to Faraday’s law, this is the most widely used form of electricity generation where kinetic energy is converted into electricity.
Static electricity: In this method, electricity is produced by physically separating it and carrying the charge, and an example of this is lightning.
Electrochemistry: As the name suggests, electricity is produced by converting chemical energy directly into electricity in this method, and an example is the battery.
Photoelectric effect: In this method, electricity is produced by converting light into electrical energy and an example is solar cells.
Thermoelectric effect: In the thermoelectric effect, temperature differences are directly converted into electricity and an example is thermocouple.
Piezoelectric effect: In this method, electricity is generated electrically from mechanical stress in anisotropic molecules.
Nuclear transformation: The formation and acceleration of charged particles, such as an alpha particle emission, generates electricity in this method.
It is not only difficult to imagine life without electricity today, it is also impossible. However, it is also true that more than 80% of air pollution originates solely from electricity generation in the USA. While its operation without electricity is unthinkable, the key is not to go overboard and take control while it is still doable.