Electricity generation, the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy, is typically the first process in the delivery of electricity by electric utility companies to consumers. In 2015, the United States recorded an electricity generation capacity of approximately 1.2 million megawatts and in that same year, around 1.6 billion megawatt hours of that electricity was generated by independent power producers alone. Electricity is most often generated at a power station.
The first power plants ran solely on water or coal following the discovery of the fundamental principles of electricity generation by English scientist Michael Faraday in the early 1800s. Today, power plants now rely on a variety of traditional energy sources such as coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind generators, and petroleum, with supplementary amounts from solar energy, tidal power, and geothermal sources. In 2016, U.S. electricity generation from natural gas climbed to about 1.4 trillion kilowatt hours while consumption of coal energy for electricity generation fell to about 678 million short tons in that same year. The net generation of U.S. nuclear power plants stood at around 805 terawatt hours of electricity in 2016.
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