How Do Coal fired Power Stations Produce Electricity

Australia has an abundance of coal which is mined and exported overseas as well as used in the production of electricity at our coal fired power stations.

But how exactly do Australia’s coal fired power stations work?

I’ll try to simplify the explanation for you.

Firstly, electricity is the flow of electrons through a conducting material such as copper wiring in your home or workplace.  The majority of electricity in Australia is produced by using a spinning magnet to move electrons back and forth in a conducting material.  This is known as an alternating current (AC).

  1. At a power station, the coal is used to heat up water which produces steam.
  2. The pressure built from the steam is used to spin large turbines.
  3. The spinning turbines are attached to large magnets that are wrapped in a conductive material.
  4. The conductive material wrapped around a spinning magnet allows electrons to move back and forth to create electricity.
  5. The conductive material is connected to our energy grid and allows us to watch TV, Charge our phones, use our computers and the list goes on.


The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.