When we talk about “energy,” we mean the electricity that makes other things work, like lights, refrigerators, air conditioners, and computers. Do you ever wonder where this energy comes from?
Electricity is made by power plants. Most of the power plants in the United States, and around the world, burn coal to make electricity. The problem is that burning coal creates air pollution. This air pollution is unhealthy for people to inhale. It’s also causing Earth’s climates to change, which is creating very strange weather for people around the world. Some areas are getting too dry. Others are having really bad storms. The messed up weather is affecting people’s lives!
The good news is that people around the world are developing other ways to create energy.
In the country of Denmark, I saw many wind turbines around the country. Instead of burning coal to generate electricity, the wind does the work! I saw the turbines in farmers’ fields, as well as offshore in the ocean. Take a look at my video below. The wind turbines are very quiet, but the wind created quite a noise blowing across my microphone.
When I was travelling around the country of Iceland, I saw hydro-thermal power stations making energy. The heat from magma underground is used to turn large turbines to generate electricity. Click here to see photos and videos.
Traveling through upstate New York, I saw another great way to create energy without causing a lot of air pollution: hydro-electric power. New York’s hydro-electric power station is located next to the Niagara River. There’s so much water flowing so rapidly down the river, that it creates a strong force. The force of the flowing water can be used to turn turbines.
The moving turbines generate electricity, just like burning coal, or blowing wind, or the pressure of hot steam.
Yet another way to generate energy is by harnessing the sun’s heat. Solar panels convert the sun’s heat into electricity. The town of Clarkestown, close to our own school district, has set up over 6,000 solar panels to generate energy for its government buildings. Click here to see photos and videos.
Can you think of other ways to generate energy without creating air pollution?