What Are the Different Types of Electricity?

There are many different types of electricity, including solar, wind, fossil fuel, hydro, and nuclear. Most of the electricity generated in the world comes from fossil fuel, nuclear and hydro power plants, although, as of 2014, renewable energy is quickly increasing in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Most power plants that run on fossil fuels, such as coal, gas or oil, burn the fuel to create steam. The steamis then used to spin massive turbines to create electricity. Nuclear power plants work in a similar way, except the heat comes from the splitting of radioactive atoms. Although nuclear power doesn't produce CO2 or other greenhouse gases, there are still concerns about its potential environmental impact.

Hydro and wind energy is also generated using turbines, which are powered by water and air respectively. Hydro power plants require a dam and a large reservoir of water, which passes through the turbines and back out into the river. These plants also produce no emissions, but the damming of the river still causes a major impact to the surrounding environment.

Solar electricity is generated by harnessing the power of the sun, either in the form of photovoltaic solar panels or solar thermal power plants. Solar thermal plants use a huge array of mirrors to concentrate the sun's heat, which is used to create steam to power a turbine.