BC Power Story

         In today’s world electricity is a thing that everybody relies on and can’t live without but how is electricity really created and brought to your house. In Port Coquitlam most power is generated from either the hydroelectric generation in Buntzen lake or thermal generation in the Burrard inlet. The way these work are different and there’s pros and cons to the way both power generators work and that is what I’m going to tell you about today.

         Hydroelectric generation is using water as a fuel. A dam raises the water level of the river to create falling water which forms a reservoir. The dam can control the flow of water which is how much water that can go through the turbines. These turbines are near the bottom of the dam where water can flow through. Attached to the turbines are blades causing the turbine to spine because of the pressure of the water. A water turbine is much like a windmill using water to spin the blades instead of wind. The turbine converts the kinetic energy of the water into mechanical energy. A generator is connected to the turbine by shafts so that when turbine spines the generator also spins, this converts the mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy. Of course there are many pros and cons to this process and some pros are that it is renewable, which means we can’t use the water up. Another pro is that this is a very reliable way of creating energy and there is no pollution. Also this process is very safe because the only fuel is water. Some cons are environmental consequences such as water flow, damning water, construction of roads and power lines. The biggest con I believe is the affect on fish because it changes there habitat such as shelter, food, water velocity and lifecycle. Hydroelectric generation is also very expensive, droughts could stop water flow and it is hard to find good spots to build these damns.

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Hyperlinks for this section: http://energyinformative.org/hydroelectric-energy-pros-and-cons/ http://search.howstuffworks.com

Thermal Generation is a more dirty way of creating electricity because you have to burn natural gas as a fuel. This natural gas is burning water in boiling tank to create steam. The superheated steam drives a turbine in a circular shaft which creates kinetic energy. This drives the generator to turn kinetic energy into electrical energy. The pros of creating energy through thermal generation are that fossil fuels are the easiest form of energy that can be found in the earths crust. These fuels can easily be transported through pipelines or in semi trucks. Also this type of electricity generation gives lots of employment. The biggest con to thermal generation is of course the pollution which creates greenhouse gases and if we use up all the fossil fuels there won’t be any left for the next generation to come. Also these work places are usually pretty unsafe and the waste from the plants are hazardous and can go into our wild.

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Hyperlinks for this section: http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/pros-and-cons-of-thermal-power-13991.html www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/

Now we know how electricity is generated but how does it get to our houses? Well after electricity goes through a generator at the power plant. In order for the transmission lines to carry the electricity over a long distance the voltage must be bumped up by a Step-up transformer which has two coils inside and a iron core.The secondary coil has more turns of wire than the primary coil. Which makes the output twice as much as the input because the secondary coil has twice as many turns of wire than the primary coil. Next the electricity is passed through high voltage transmission lines which usually contains one or more conductor. These high voltage transmission lines are supported by tall metal towers carrying high voltage electricity over long distances. After that the electricity goes to a terminal station to control the power flow on grid transmission lines and reduce the grid voltage to sub transmission voltage levels using a step down transformer which also has two coils and an iron core but the secondary coil has less as many turns as the primary coil so the output is smaller than the input. Then this electricity is passed on to sub transmission lines that run at lower voltages to large industrial costumers or large distribution stations for heavy equipment. These lines are usually held up by an “H” frame made out of wood and also use conductors to transfer the electricity. After that the electricity is brought to a distribution station where electricity is lowered again by more step down transformers and is in a system of meters, control and protective devices. Then this electricity can finally be brought to our houses at a safe electricity level at 120,240V by low voltage power lines. In conclusion that is how power is generated in our area and how it is brought to our houses. Now we finally now about this great thing we cannot live without!

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Hyperlinks for this section: www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/our_system/generation/electric_generation.html wwe5.bchydro.com/grid/

By Anthony Van Hulsen