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Advantages and Disadvantages of Electricity

Nature provides us humans with air to breathe, water to drink, land to move, trees to survive, and natural lighting with the sun that lightens our lives from top to bottom (that we take for granted) but what happen after the sunset. Without the sun, It's all darkness everywhere, which was lightened up by artificial light termed "electricity". As the sun is a natural source of energy and light opposite to that, electricity is an unnatural energy and a basic part of our life, also known as the flow of electrons.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electricity

Before the invention of electricity, almost 100 years ago, people used to burn fires, lighten up diya's, and use whale oil lamps, candles, and kerosene oil lamps to make visibility in the dark. Still, these could have been more efficient in lightening every area and corner. Science has solved this problem and invented a secondary energy source to lighten our every room of life. Scientists such as Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison contribute to our need for and use of electricity.

In today's era, can you imagine life without electricity for just a few minutes? A few hours without electricity wreaks havoc in our lives. Much of our work go to waste without electricity because humans depend on electronic items. These electronic items run on electricity or take electricity as an energy source. This 21st century is techno-savvy in which techno gadgets and electronic items like laptops, mobile phones, refrigerators, washing machines, television, computers, and electronic kitchen essentials like mixers, grinders, ovens, microwaves, heaters, etc., surround everyone. Even the construction of the home is incomplete without electric wiring. This is how electricity has impacted our life from birth to death.

It's a myth that electricity was particularly invented, instead, it's always been a part of nature, like all elements. It's present around us, including the rubbing of two charged materials, static electricity, discharging to the earth, or in the form of lightning. The invention of electricity proved that necessity is the story's mother. It was found that electricity could be generated by an electric generator and transmitted to the user as an electric current through wires. Electricity is a kind of energy with two points -ve (negative) or + (positive) that flow through a wire to produce electricity. "Electricity can be defined as the movement of electrons through wire producing current." Electricity can be made by various renewable and non-renewable sources such as hydro, oil, natural gas, nuclear, coal, solar, wind, and biomass.

  • Hydro: Hydro (water) energy is converted into electric power. A huge amount of water with potential energy is converted into kinetic energy when dam water falls from a height to drive turbines that produce electricity.
  • Coal: The heat energy of burnt coal is used to produce high-pressure steam. Further, that steam is converted to produce electricity.
  • Oil and natural gas: Oil and natural gas are burnt to produce high-pressure steam to drive turbines and produce electricity.
  • Biomass: Burning of biomass also produces heat energy to generate electricity.
  • Wind: One of the natural and oldest methods where the wind makes windmill move fast, and kinetic energy is converted into electricity.
  • Solar: A most convenient method for every individual where solar panels or cells store solar energy, which is converted to electric power. They can be implemented anywhere on the roofs of houses, workplaces, or any place where sunlight is easily available.
  • Nuclear: At nuclear power stations, atomic fission energy produces high-pressure steam to drive a turbine that produces electricity.

Types of electricity

Generally, electricity is of two types:

  1. Static electricity: Static electricity generates when charged particles are transferred from one body to another. It generally happens in the case when objects are rubbed together. It is considered as the imbalance between negative and positive charges. In regular life, it can be noticed when we rub wool on a balloon and hold it up to the wall, and when woolen cloth strikes, another object (skin, fabric, hair, etc.) produces sparkle.
  2. Current electricity: The rate of electron flow is considered current electricity. Electrons or charged particles move through a wire that can be measured in amperes or voltage, and the measuring unit of electricity is watts. Current electricity is of two types: direct current and alternating current. Through a conducting material, the current electricity flow over some time as it is allowed by the user. For example, an electric heater heats up after receiving a present through the heater wire.

Advantages of electricity

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electricity

a. Easily accessible and produced

Using a wide variety of renewable and non-renewable source of energy in producing electricity make it easy to assemble. Everyone can access electricity.

b. Renewable source of energy

Electricity is generated by humans by various methods regularly to fulfill their electric needs of humans. Therefore, it is considered a renewable energy source as it can be produced daily.

c. Easy to manage and transport

With proper planning or management, electricity transmission is possible on a large scale over a long distance. Electricity can transport and cover long distances through mediums like wire.

d. Versatile and easy to transform

Electricity is versatile as it can be transformed into another type of energy according to user utilization. It can be converted into motion (via engine), light (lightning a bulb), and heat (lightning an electric radiator).

e. Reduces greenhouse emission

Electricity can be produced via renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, which are much cleaner and environmentally friendly. Due to this, electricity and its production process don't produce greenhouse gas emissions.

f. More efficient and convenient

Electricity is a convenient and efficient energy source, making many appliances and devices functional. It has minimal energy loss in the generation process and transmission over long distances.

g. Have lower maintenance

Once the setting of electricity is done, it should only be needed to maintain at regular intervals when electric equipment (bulb, tube light & other) is damaged with time. Electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain due to no oil changes, fewer parts to wear down, and engine less to maintain because electric cars do not have internal combustion engines.

h. It requires less labor force.

Implementing electricity requires labor, but only 2-3 hours is enough. It doesn't need a force of work.

i. No emission of waste or gases from the hydroelectricity plant

In hydroelectricity power plants, water produces electricity, and no fossil fuel or smokestacks are involved. This plant doesn't make direct greenhouse gas emissions as they don't release pollutants into the air.

j. It can be set up in many sizes.

The generation capacity of electricity can be measured in multiples of kilowatts like gigawatts(GW) and megawatts(MW). The flow of electric current can be controlled according to the user's needs. For example: About 2KW or 3 KW of electricity is used in the home, but a commercially significant amount of electricity is used.

Disadvantages of electricity

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electricity

a. Carelessness in electricity can be dangerous for everyone.

How often do we get news of someone (including humans or animals) dying due to electric shock? When living beings come in contact with live electricity without safety, they get the high voltage of electric shock that may be life-taking, creating severe burns, seizures, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest or muscle spasms, and other injuries. The human body already conducts electricity, and after meeting live electricity, an electric current flows through tissues that cause an electric shock, also called electrocution. Damage depends on the amount of current, but in some cases, even a small amount of electricity can be fatal, depending on the circumstances. Current over 0.01 amp can result in painful to severe shock, or more than this 0.1 amp to 0.2 amp flow of current can be lethal.

b. Cause Injuries

An electric shock may result in injuries divided into four parts: flame, lightning, flash, and true.

Flame injuries In this, injuries current may or may not pass through the skin because they happen when an arch flash ignites an individual's clothing.
Lightning injuries This injury happens when the extremely short but very high voltage of electric current flow through the individual's entire body. It can be considered a light electric shock.
Flame injuries In this, superficial burns occur due to electric current or other reasons, but electric current doesn't travel past the skin.
True Injuries In this case, when an individual becomes a part of the electrical circuit. It can cause severe damage.

c. Electricity causes fire breakout.

More than 60% of fire accidents reason are electricity on account of electric short circuits, use of non-standard appliances, carelessness, improper electric wiring, ignorance of the electric problem, overheating, overloading, illegal tapping of electric wires, and use of extensions, cables, wires, faulty outlets (receptacles), circuit breakers or improperly grounded sockets. All these reasons are behind fatal accidents and lead to serious fires. Places having electric wiring are most prone to fires due to electric short circuits.

d. Electric power plant creates pollution.

Electric power plant creates water, land, and air pollution that impact the health of living beings. Coal-based power plant emits harmful gases and chemicals such as nitrates, sulfates, mercury, and secondary particulate material (formed by SOX emission). Thermal power plants (coal and oil-fired electric generating unit) emit harmful pollutants like acid gases, non-mercury metallic toxins, mercury, and organic air toxins such as dioxin.

Noise pollution Electric power plants use large equipment like turbines, boilers, and crushes, emitting high noise that affects people working in the plants.
Land degradation Coal power plant emits waste (toxic gases and acids) that pollute air and water. If air and water pollutants remain untreated, they can affect the water, flour, and fauna areas, making them unfit for living or livelihood activities.
Air pollution Coal power plant emits several pollutants into the air like CO (carbon monoxide), O(ozone), SO (sulfur dioxide), NOx (oxides of nitrogen), lead and non-methane hydrocarbons, and SPM (suspended particulate matter).
Water pollution Water is important in coal power plants as it is used in boiler furnaces to produce steam, wash coal, and cool equipment. If hot water is directly poured into the water bodies, it raises their temperature and affects aquatic flora and fauna. Water is used to clean the items in power plants, and that dusted water contaminates groundwater.

e. Impact on health

Electricity power generated from power plants causes severe damage to health. The emitted chemical pollutants impact the different areas or organs of the human body that cause diseases. For example:

Chemical pollutant Its impact on health
Ammonia Create skin & eye burns and respiratory problems
Mercury Due to this nervous system, kidneys, brain, and liver are damaged. It also creates birth and neurological defects.
Lead Lead can damage a child's kidneys and nervous system, affecting memory, learning, and behavior. It can cause anemia and cardiovascular disease.
Uranium Affect the lungs and lymphatic system and cause kidney disease
Radium Result in brain swelling, anemia, lung & bone cancer
Dioxins and furan These chemical affects endocrine, reproductive, and immune system & can cause stomach cancer
Hydrogen chloride and Flouride Results in irritation in eyes, throat, nose, skin, breathing passage
Sulfur dioxide Does eye irritation cause asthma, cardiac disease, or chronic bronchitis? It also affects the respiratory system and lung functions
Nitrous oxides Results in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cardiac arrest, and stunts lung growth

f. Cost of construction

Electricity or electric work in construction can charge about 10%- 12% of the total construction cost, excluding land costs. Construction and maintenance of power plants need money.

g. Electricity is more expensive than gasoline.

It's true gasoline is cheaper than electricity, as electricity can be charged or have a standard rate set by the state or central government. Electricity can be generated with gas and fossil fuel as gas burning creates heat and steam that produce electricity. We can see that electricity is more expensive than petrol or diesel in terms of maintenance and use. Electric vehicles have fewer service stations, and installing a level 2 charging station can be costly compared to gasoline because gas stations are available and affordable. A rather electric vehicle battery has a long shelf life (10 years), but its replacement cost can be hard on the pocket. Gas used in the kitchen is cheaper than electric conduction, which uses electricity for everything.

h. Electric vehicles are not emission-free

Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline, petrol, or diesel vehicles because of the power plant emission. These electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions and a smaller carbon footprint.

i. Loss of species

Acceleration in human activities results in biodiversity loss (at 100-1000 times prehuman level). Electricity generation is one of the major reasons that pollute a large amount of freshwater during electricity production. Globally electricity generation has risen, including thermal power (77% of the total) and hydropower (16%) in 2018. During the thermodynamic conversion of heat to produce electricity, a large amount of freshwater held in reservoirs affects aquatic biodiversity. It may result in species loss by disturbing their habitat and way of living. It does water pollution or brings drought to some areas that may hold various aquatic or land species.


Electricity is a second source of energy that can be received from the conversion of another energy source, such as natural gas, nuclear power, coal, and other natural resources. Electricity is a basic part of nature, one of our most widely used forms of energy.

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