Ask the Superexpert about Electricity & Natural Gas
Have you ever wondered why shoes hanging on a power line don’t get fried? Or why natural gas flames are blue? Now you can get answers to these and all your energy-related questions. Just Ask an Superexpert!
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Answer: Wind power starts with the sun. When the sun heats air close to the ground, the warm air rises. Wind is created when cooler air rushes into the empty space left by the rising warm air. When the blades of a wind turbine capture wind energy and start moving, they spin a shaft (long rod) that connects to the hub of the wind turbine. The energy of the spinning shaft is transferred to an electrical generator. The generator produces electricity by spinning a magnet inside a coil of wires. When the magnet turns, it pushes electrons through the wires and generates electricity.
Answer: Lights run on electricity. If you leave lights on when you’re not using them, you waste electricity. Turning off lights when you leave a room not only saves electricity, it also helps reduce your family’s energy bill. For more ideas on how to save energy, check out the Energy Efficiency page of this website: http://www.pgesafetyeducation.com/school/elec_safety-smart/tell-me-more/efficiency.html.
Answer: Electricity is measured in voltage (abbreviated as volts) and amperage (abbreviated as amps). To understand the difference between them, think of water in a hose. Opening the hose faucet supplies the pressure to move the water, and this pressure is like voltage. The amount of water that moves through the hose is like amperage. There is a third unit of measurement, wattage (abbreviated as watts) that describes the work electricity does. Watts are the product of volts and amps. Or, to say it mathematically, watts = volts x amps.
Answer: The energy cycle is a process by which some of the sun’s energy is cycled through plants and then released back into the environment. The cycle starts with photosynthesis, in which plants capture sunlight to produce sugars. The sugars are used by plants as food to give them energy to grow. Because animals can’t produce their own food the way plants can, they get their energy by consuming plants, or animals that have eaten plants. When the animals die, they decompose and the energy that is stored in their bodies is released back into the environment, completing the cycle.
Answer: PG&E provides both natural gas and electricity to our customers (hence our name, Pacific Gas & Electric). We serve approximately 15 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California.
Answer: Turbines turn electromagnets that are surrounded by heavy coils of copper wire. The moving magnets cause the electrons in the copper wire to move from atom to atom, generating electricity.