How Do we Make Energy?
Coal, Natural gas, and nuclear energy are used to make heat to convert liquid water to steam.
Steam spins the turbine. Within the spinning turbine a big magnet is rotated around a length of wire, creating a magnetic field that electrifies the wire. Electricity goes out of the wire to transformers, and from transformers to us!
Instead of steam, wind power or running water can be used to spin the turbine.
How Do We Measure Energy?
Energy is measured in joules, the derived SI unit to find as m2·kg·s-2, or applying the force of one Newton over the distance of a meter.
A joule measures energy in forms of heat, electricity, and mechanical work.
Although we measure energy use in different forms in our daily life, each system of measurement can be converted back into joules.
For instance, power companies tell us we use a certain number of kilowatt hours each month. However, one kilowatt hour is actually 3.6 MJ.
We also measure the energy automobiles use by measuring how many gallons of gas each consumes. There are 131.845 MJ of energy consumed for each gallon of gas used.
To heat our houses we use heating oil. One gallon of heating oil burned represents 146 MJ used.