What is Electrical Energy?

Matter is composed of atoms. In these atoms, there is some even small stuff called electrons that are always moving. The movement of these electrons depends on how much energy it has. That means every object has potential energy, even though some have more than others.

Humans can force these moving electrons along a path from one place to the other. There are particular mediums (materials) called conductors, that carry this energy. Some materials cannot pass on energy in this form, and they are called insulators. We generate electrical energy when we succeed in causing these electrons to move from one atom to the other with the use of magnetic forces.

Electrons moving from atom to atom
Electrons moving from atom to atom

Once we harness electrical energy, it can be used for work or stored.

How does an electric current work?

A battery transfers stored chemical energy as charged particles called electrons, typically moving through a wire. For example, electrical energy is transferred to the surroundings by the lamp as light energy and thermal (heat) energy.

Lightning is one good example of electrical energy in nature, so powerful that it is not confined to a wire. Thunderclouds build up large amounts of electrical energy. It is called static electricity. They are released during lightning when the clouds strike against each other.