Although mankind started utilizing electricity in the 19th century, its discovery dates back thousands of years; the Ancient Greeks first discovered static electricity around 600 B.C. However, it's from the 17th century onwards that scientists such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison made crucial electrical discoveries and inventions.
Electricity travels at the same speed as light, which is more than 186,000 miles per hour. A single spark of static electricity can have carry a voltage of up to 3,000 volts. Lightning occurs when electricity discharges in the atmosphere. Lightning bolts can move at speeds of up to 130,000 miles per hour and measure up to 3 million volts.
Hydropower is a common means of generating electricity. Here, water spins turbines connected to a generator. However, the biggest source of electrical energy is coal; coal burns in a furnace, the heat boils water until it turns to steam, and then the steam turns turbines connected to a generator. Other sources of electricity include solar energy, the wind and animal waste.
Whereas volts are units of measure for electrical potential energy, amperes are units of measure for electrical current. Two positive or negative charges repel; similarly, two opposite charges attract.
The U.S. Energy Administration anticipates the consumption of electricity to increase by 51 percent by the year 2025.