Electrical energy comes from renewable and nonrenewable sources; it is generally inexpensive and readily available, but it leaves many appliances and heating units defunct when power supplies are interrupted. The benefits and drawbacks of electrical energy depend primarily on its source. Electricity created from fossil fuels is generally less expensive for consumers than electricity derived from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, but centralized forms of power can leave households and business offices disabled during severe weather.
Electrical energy derived from fossil fuels is one of the most common sources of energy in the United States. It makes its way to consumers through power lines, which are located above ground in most areas. Electricity, in stable environmental conditions, provides a reliable and steady source of power for consumers: Flip on the household switch, and people instantly have brighter kitchens and living rooms and can use appliances like microwaves, washing machines and hair dryers. Electrical energy derived from renewable resources, such as solar and wind, is generally more expensive for consumers, but is considered better for the environment, as it does not emit harmful atmospheric pollutants. In storms, however, and other events that disrupt electrical power supplies, homes and businesses may be left virtually useless.