Electricity is an energy currency, rather than an energy source, which means that electrical generation needs to start from a primary energy source like a fuel or a primary energy flow. These fuels and flows are usually turned into electric current which transmits electric power to the grid.
Power plants are the most commonly used energy conversion technology to create electricity from primary energy. Common types of power plants include coal, nuclear, and hydro. While it is possible to have both AC electrical generation and DC electrical generation, almost all electricity that is produced with a generator is alternating current. Motion (kinetic energy) is converted into the electric and magnetic fields that create an electromotive force, which makes current flow in a wire. This electricity usually travels through the electrical grid allowing some electrical device to use the energy in the electrons and then send the electrons back. This is what is meant by an electric circuit, the electrons must be capable of making the round trip.
The map below shows how different countries generate electricity from various primary energy sources. Click on the region to zoom into a group of countries, then click on the country to see where its electricity comes from.
To explore a graph of world electricity use in the context of other energy uses, please click here.
For further information please see the related pages below: