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Copper in health  Introduction 
Electricity and efficiency
Photo of smog
Picture 1. Renewable energy generators and modern fuel burning technologies help to reduce the city smogs of the nineteenth century.

Electricity is a uniquely convenient way of using an energy source.  It gives us instant energy at the flick of a switch; it allows us to use energy in densely populated areas while burning fossil fuels remotely; and recently it has allowed us to capture energy from renewable sources such as the wind.

However, this convenience comes at a price. Electricity is not a primary energy source.  This means that there have been losses in the system before it reaches the point of use.  There are further losses in all electrical appliances.  Reducing all these losses can lead to great savings to the economy and the environment.

In this resource we'll look at how electricity is generated, distributed and used and copper's role in making these activities more efficient.

Graph of relative fuel costs
Picture 2. The cost of electricity is so high because it is not a primary energy source. There are big losses associated with its generation.
The e-source has 5 units:
  1. Using electricity
  2. Electric current
  3. Efficient motors
  4. Generating electricity
  5. Transformers and the grid

Using this e-source
There are a number of interactive features in this e-source:

A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted. Clicking on the word will open a new window with a definition of that word.

Quick questions: at the end of each page is a quick question to test your understanding of that page. Type in your own answer then click on the button to see how well you did.

Quiz: at the end of each unit, there is a quick quiz to see how well you understand the ideas.

Roll over diagrams: many of the diagrams have highlights or sequences. You can see these by rolling your cursor over part of the picture or part of the text. The text has a roll over highlight.

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