Power Plants

Find power plants. Power plants provide information on electric utilities and energy created through solar, wind turbine, biomass, hydroelectric and tidal, nuclear, alternative, renewable, natural resources, coal, oil, gas and geothermal power.

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About Power Plants

What is a Power Plant?

A Power Plant is a facility where energy is converted to bulk electrical power from other sources and distributed to the electrical grid for delivery to electricity consumers. Power Plants are typically categorized by the source of fuel that they use for generating electricity. There are between 7,500 and 8,000 Power Plants in the United States that have a generation capacity of at least one megawatt.

A Thermal Power Station is powered by fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas. The fuel source is burned to boil water and create superheated steam, which drives steam turbines. The turbines are coupled to alternators that generate electricity. Many power plants are equipped to use a combination of coal and natural gas.

Nuclear Power Plants also use superheated steam to generate electricity by turning turbines. However, instead of fossil fuels, they rely on fission reactions in nuclear reactors and the use of heat exchangers to boil water for steam production. A radioactive fuel, usually the Uranium-235 isotope, is necessary for the fission reaction.

A variety of renewable energy sources may be used to generate electricity. Hydroelectric Power Plants use the energy of falling water to turn turbines that generate electricity. Wind Farms rely on wind energy to turn turbines. Photovoltaic Power Stations, or Solar Parks, convert light directly into electricity. Other renewable energy sources include biomass, geothermal, and tidal power.

Power Plants may be privately owned or owned by government entities. Public Power Plants are usually owned and operated by a Power Authority or Power District. Power Authorities and Districts operate as government agencies with some degree of autonomy from the state or local government. They are self-sustaining and use revenues from the sale of electricity to support operations and capital improvements.

In some states, the power companies and Power Authorities that provide electricity to customers may not own any Power Plants. In those cases, the power company or Power Authority may own the transmission and distribution lines that deliver electricity to customers, while the electricity is generated by a variety of suppliers that feed into the grid.