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The Law of Conservation of Energy

The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred or transformed from one form to another. It is a fundamental principle in physics.



preserving energy through laws

We all know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. But have you ever wondered how this fundamental law shapes the world around us?

The Law of Conservation of Energy governs a wide array of natural phenomena, from the simple act of throwing a ball to the complex workings of the universe. It's a principle that underpins countless scientific theories and technological innovations, and its implications stretch far and wide.

But how exactly does this law work, and what are its practical applications in our daily lives?

Key Takeaways

  • The law of conservation of energy states that within a closed system, the total amount of energy remains constant and cannot be created or destroyed.
  • Energy can only be converted from one form to another, such as from mechanical energy to thermal energy.
  • Non-conservative forces, like friction, can transform mechanical energy into heat energy.
  • The mass-energy equivalence principle, represented by Einstein's equation E=mc^2, shows that mass and energy are interchangeable, providing a deeper understanding of energy conservation.

Origins of the Law

The concept of the conservation of energy has ancient roots, with early philosophers like Thales and Empedocles hinting at the idea of a conservation principle for some underlying substance. Over time, this concept evolved and found its place in scientific discourse.


The law of conservation of energy states that within a closed system, the total amount of energy remains constant. This means that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another. For instance, potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy, or energy can be transferred from one part of a system to another.

This foundational principle has had a long and complex journey, with contributions from various thinkers such as Simon Stevin, Galileo, Christiaan Huygens, Gottfried Leibniz, Daniel Bernoulli, Isaac Newton, Emilie du Châtelet, and Johann Bernoulli. Their work laid the groundwork for our understanding of the conservation of energy, setting the stage for the modern interpretation of this fundamental law.

Mechanical Equivalent of Heat

conversion of mechanical energy

Pioneering experiments by James Joule laid the foundation for understanding the relationship between mechanical work and the production or absorption of heat, contributing significantly to the development of the first law of thermodynamics.

The concept of the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat quantifies the relationship between mechanical work and the amount of heat produced or absorbed. This pivotal relationship is integral to our understanding of the conservation of energy, emphasizing that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but merely changes form.

The specific quantification of the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat as 4.18 joules of work producing one calorie of heat demonstrates the transformative nature of energy. It highlights how mechanical energy can be converted into heat, providing a quantitative link between these two forms of energy.


This relationship is crucial in comprehending the interconversion of energy forms and the principle that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant, as the first law of thermodynamics, or the law of conservation of energy states.

Mass-Energy Equivalence

Pivoting from the concept of the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat, we encounter the fundamental principle of mass-energy equivalence, which revolutionized our understanding of the interrelationship between mass and energy in the universe.

According to Einstein's mass-energy equivalence equation E=mc^2, mass and energy are interchangeable. This equation demonstrates that mass can be converted into energy and vice versa. It has profound implications, particularly in nuclear reactions and understanding the energy content of matter. Essentially, mass can be seen as a form of stored energy, with a given amount of mass corresponding to a certain amount of energy.

This concept is fundamental in understanding the interconversion of matter and energy in the universe. It provides a deeper understanding of the conservation of energy, as it shows that energy is transferred from one form to another, and the total energy in a closed system remains constant.


The mass-energy equivalence is an essential component of the conservation law, which underpins the conservation of momentum and other conserved quantities. This principle was further developed and connected to symmetries in nature by mathematician Emmy Noether, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the conservation laws.

First Law of Thermodynamics

conservation of energy principle

As we delve into the fundamental principles of thermodynamics, we encounter the First Law, which dictates the conservation of energy within a closed system. Here are the key points to consider:

  1. Conservation of Mechanical Energy: The First Law of Thermodynamics emphasizes the conservation of mechanical energy, highlighting that the total amount of mechanical energy in a closed system remains constant unless acted upon by external forces.
  2. Internal Energy: This law recognizes the concept of internal energy, which encompasses the potential and kinetic energies of the particles within a system. It asserts that the internal energy of an isolated system remains constant unless energy is transferred in the form of work or heat.
  3. Energy Conversion: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed within a closed system, but it can change forms. For instance, the initial potential energy of an object can be converted into kinetic energy as it falls due to gravity.
  4. Non-Conservative Forces: The First Law also accounts for non-conservative forces, such as friction, which can transform mechanical energy into thermal energy, leading to a net increase in the internal energy of the system.

Understanding the First Law of Thermodynamics is essential for comprehending the fundamental principles governing energy within physical systems.

Applications in Science and Technology

In science and technology, the principles of conservation of energy find diverse applications across various fields, driving innovations and enabling the development of efficient systems and processes. The table below illustrates some key applications of the law of conservation of energy:

Application Description Example
Gravitational Energy Energy is conserved as an object moves in a gravitational field, changing between potential and kinetic energy. Calculating the final velocity of a falling object.
Forces like Friction Energy is conserved in systems experiencing friction, with some energy transforming into heat. Determining the work done against friction in a mechanical system.
Chemical Energy Energy is conserved in chemical reactions, with potential energy being converted to kinetic energy. Understanding the energy changes in a combustion reaction.

These applications demonstrate how the law of conservation of energy serves as a fundamental principle in various scientific and technological contexts, providing a basis for understanding and predicting energy transformations. Whether it's analyzing the dynamics of a falling object, accounting for energy losses due to friction, or studying energy changes in chemical reactions, the conservation of energy principle offers valuable insights into the behavior of natural phenomena and the design of efficient systems.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Law of Conservation of Energy?

We understand the law of conservation of energy as the principle stating that within a closed system, the total energy remains constant, being transformed or transferred but never created or destroyed. This concept applies universally to all forms of energy and is fundamental in various scientific fields.

It has practical implications for designing efficient machines and energy systems. It's a foundational principle in understanding the behavior of energy in the universe.

What Does the Law of Conservation of Energy Imply?

We understand the implications of the law of conservation of energy. It states that within a closed system, the total energy remains constant over time. This means energy can't be created or destroyed, only transformed or transferred.


This principle has wide-ranging applications in mechanics, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics. Understanding this law is crucial for designing efficient machines and energy systems.

It also relates closely to the concept of mass-energy equivalence, as described by the famous equation E=mc^2.

What Is the Law of Conservation of Energy in a Simple Sentence?

We define the law of conservation of energy as the principle that the total energy within a closed system remains constant. This means that energy can't be created or destroyed, only transformed or transferred.

It's a fundamental concept that applies across various fields, including mechanics, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics. This law helps us understand the behavior of energy and its transformations in different processes and systems.


What Is the Law of Conservation of Energy of a Machine?

We can define the law of conservation of energy for a machine as the principle that states the total energy input into a machine must equal the total energy output, accounting for any energy losses due to friction, heat, or other inefficiencies.

This means that the energy put into a machine through its operation, such as fuel or electrical input, must be equal to the useful work output plus any energy losses within the system.


In conclusion, the law of conservation of energy is a fundamental principle in science, shaping our understanding of the world around us.


From its origins to its applications in modern technology, this law illuminates the interconnectedness of energy in all its forms.

With its mechanical equivalent of heat and mass-energy equivalence, the conservation of energy continues to captivate and compel scientists and engineers alike.

Hi, I'm David. I'm an author of where we teach people how to save energy and money in their homes and businesses. I've been a writer for most of my life and have always been interested in helping people learn new things. When I was younger, I would write short stories for my classmates and teach them how to do math problems. I love traveling and have been lucky enough to visit some fantastic places around the world.

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Electricity Power

Electricity Power Loss




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Electric power loss signifies the decrease or squandering of electrical energy during its transmission or distribution from the source to the final consumer. This phenomenon can arise from several factors, including resistance within the transmission lines, transformers, and additional elements, alongside inefficiencies present in the generation and distribution stages.

Power loss can result in increased costs for electricity production and distribution, and can also lead to decreased reliability and efficiency in the power grid. To minimize power loss, electric utilities use various methods such as upgrading equipment and infrastructure, improving energy-efficiency practices, and optimizing the use of transmission and distribution networks.

It’s important to note that reducing power loss has both economic and environmental benefits, as it can lower the cost of electricity for consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

electricity power loss

Electricity power loss, also known as blackouts or power failures, can have a negative impact on your life. It can interrupt your communication, cause you to lose sensitive information, and disrupt your business operations.

Power outages are triggered by a variety of factors including weather, damage to power lines and animals chewing on them. Knowing what causes these outages and how to prevent them can make all the difference.

Power Outages – Who Is Impacted and What Can We Do?

The issue of power outages is becoming increasingly common across the globe, with reports of major power losses affecting large cities and small rural villages alike. In some cases, these outages are lasting for days or weeks at a time, causing massive disruptions in both people’s lives and local economies.


For those affected by power loss, it can be a major setback to their day-to-day lives. Inaccessibility to basic needs such as food and water, inability to use appliances or contact services such as banking, can all become a reality with lack of electricity. Especially in developing countries where healthcare systems may rely on powered medical devices for treatment or support of patients, this can be life threatening.

Power outages also have implications beyond the direct impacts on people’s lives. Businesses may struggle to operate without sufficient electricity while schools may be unable to teach students effectively during an outage period. Massive economic losses may follow as production is delayed or services are inaccessible temporarily.

In order to address this issue, governments must work together with the private sector to improve existing infrastructure and create more reliable sources of electricity across regions. Innovative solutions leveraging renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power should be explored to reduce reliance on fossil fuels which are prone to extreme weather events that often contribute significantly to blackouts and other outages. Furthermore, investments into research and development would contribute towards finding new solutions that could help make electricity generation more abundant and resilient against unforeseen challenges in the future.

Transmission Lines

Electrical power travels miles and miles through long, high-voltage lines, usually across the country. These transmission lines are a vital part of the electric grid, designed to meet society’s electricity needs and connect generators and distribution networks.

But when one of these lines goes down, there’s a big problem. That electricity power gets lost, along with the heat it generates.


That heat builds up and can cause problems, such as a fire or a power surge. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce that loss of energy.

Another way is to use technology that directs electricity away from overloaded wires and onto underused ones. This can help get more renewable energy generation capacity out of existing infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of building new lines or substations.

Australia’s grid is undergoing a major change as coal-fired generators exit and more wind and solar power stations connect throughout the system. The new connections are causing the system to become more heavily loaded, which is also resulting in higher losses.

The Joule Effect

Electrical power loss is a major concern, especially when electricity is transported over long distances from the energy plant to the consumer. This is mainly due to the Joule Effect, a process in which heat is produced when an electric current flows through a conductor.

To reduce the losses, electrical lines are insulated and the resistance of the lines is reduced as much as possible. However, even then a significant amount of energy is lost as heat during transmission.


The Joule Effect, discovered by the English physicist James Prescott Joule, shows that the amount of heat generated in a conductor carrying a given electric current is proportional to its resistance, expressed in terms of joules per second. This equation is known as the Joule’s heating formula.

The Resistance of Conductors

When an electron moves from one terminal to another in a circuit, it encounters resistance. This is a hindrance to its movement and discourages the flow of charge.

The resistance of conductors is directly related to their length and cross-sectional area. It is also influenced by temperature.

Power loss is caused by the Joule effect, which occurs when high currents induce more heat in electrical conductors. This extra heat causes the conductors to become hot and increase their resistance, thereby decreasing the amount of energy that is transmitted through them.

Power loss can be reduced by increasing the voltage of a source or by reducing the current. However, both do not reduce the power loss to an appreciable extent.


The Temperature of Conductors

The temperature of conductors is one factor affecting electricity power loss. It also affects their resistance and efficiency in transmitting power.

The resistance of conductors results from the thermal vibrations of the atoms and ions in it. This causes the atoms to collide and scatter electrons.

This causes the resistance of metals to increase, resulting in lower current flow. This effect is not the same for all materials. Some materials, such as Nichrome, Manganin, and constantan, are less likely to change their resistivity with temperature.

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Electricity Power

Electric Service Providers




Electric utility companies obtain energy from generating sources like coal and gas plants, hydroelectric facilities, and nuclear power stations, before delivering the electricity to end users.

In deregulated areas, suppliers compete for your business, offering better rates and a wider range of plans. Some offer time-of-use rates that adjust to your energy consumption patterns.

Electric Service Providers in the US

electric service providers

Electricity is an essential part of modern life, and electric service providers are the companies that provide it. In the US, Texas is a great example of a state with many different electric service providers.

Austin Energy is one of the largest electric utility providers in Texas, serving Austin and several other smaller municipalities in Travis and Williamson Counties. Just Energy, Amigo Energy, Direct Energy, Discount Power (part of NRG), Gexa Energy, Green Mountain Energy, Pulse Power, and Central Energy Northeast are some of Texas’s major electricity providers.

Consumers can compare energy plans and electricity rates from these companies to find the best energy provider for their home or business. provides information about competing Texas Electricity Companies to help consumers make informed decisions about their energy needs. Consumers can also use to compare plans offered by different electricity suppliers in their area.

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It’s essential for consumers to understand all the options available to them when choosing an electricity supplier to ensure they get the best deal possible. Constellation offers a guide on choosing electricity in Texas which explains all the factors that should be considered when selecting an energy plan such as price, length of the contract, green energy options, and more.

In addition to comparing plans from different suppliers, customers should check out reviews from existing customers before deciding which provider to go with. provides ratings and reviews for various electricity suppliers in Texas so that customers can make informed decisions about who they want to do business with.




Utilities provide electricity, gas and other forms of energy to households, businesses and public agencies. They also maintain and repair the infrastructure used to deliver these services.

The most common utilities are water, sewer and electric. Additional services include cable TV, internet, security and phone service.

They are often regulated by local governments. They may be privately owned or government-controlled monopolies.

Depending on where you live, they may be your only source of electricity. They are primarily responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their electrical lines.

The cost of utility service is based on how much you use. This can be lowered by making changes to your home or using more efficient appliances.


Electric cooperatives are a special type of utility provider that has strong ties to their communities. They were created to deliver electricity to rural areas and aren’t focused on profit – instead, they want to ensure their customers can afford reliable, affordable energy.


Today, more than 900 electric cooperatives serve more than 42 million Americans. These co-ops power everything from Alaskan fishing villages to dairy farms in Vermont.

They deliver electricity through generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives, or through distribution co-ops that gather electricity from a variety of sources and distribute it directly to their members.

Unlike private investor-owned power companies, electric cooperatives are governed democratically and are owned by their members, not shareholders.

Using a unique business model, co-ops keep rates low by giving consumer-members a voice in decisions about their electric service. They also have a commitment to a clean energy future that benefits people and planet.

Independent Power Producers

Independent power producers provide electric service by generating electricity and then selling it to utilities or directly to consumers. In New York State, IPPs supply about 20 percent of the state’s power.


IPPs may sell power to a single utility or directly to customers through a power purchase agreement (PPA). They can use the national electric distribution system or a private wire direct to the customer.

During times of high demand, IPPs provide backup power for utilities, and they often sell steam to other industries that use the heat generated by their plants. This steam is a valuable resource that helps keep the operations of businesses running smoothly, even during outages.

In addition, IPPs are an important source of reliable power for remote sites in the mining industry and other industrial and institutional facilities that are often unable to meet their power needs on their own. This can be critical to a business’s success and to the community where it is located.


In a regulated market, power companies own the generation (where the electricity is generated) and transmission lines that carry it to consumers’ homes and businesses. Customers can only choose one of these power companies as their utility provider.

In deregulated markets, other electricity market participants own power plants and transmission lines and sell the electric generation to a wholesale market. These include power marketers, independent power producers, and a regional transmission reliability organization RTO.


Electricity generation can be purchased through bids and offers using supply and demand principles to set the price. Generators can also be paid for providing capacity to the grid, or for performing certain functions to maintain frequency and ensure grid reliability.

In a deregulated electricity market, wholesale markets offer competitive pricing for power purchased by retail energy suppliers, who in turn resell it to their end-use customers. The wholesale market is operated by an ISO or RTO, which facilitates grid planning and operations to ensure reliable power delivery.

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Electricity Power

National Grid For Gas and Electricity




National Grid delivers electricity and natural gas to consumers across New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and throughout New England. Additionally, the company manages a liquified natural gas (LNG) storage site located in Fields Point, NY.

National Grid’s “fossil-free vision” aims to eliminate fossil fuel from its gas networks, replacing it with renewable natural gas and green hydrogen. It also aims to maximize energy efficiency and help customers electrify their heat, if they so choose.

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How It Works

The national grid consists of high-voltage power lines, gas pipelines, interconnectors and storage facilities that enable the transmission and distribution of electricity to homes and businesses across the country. The network also supports other energy related services like heating and cooling.

The best part of the national grid is its availability to everyone. As a result, we’re proud to deliver clean, reliable energy at competitive prices.

Aside from our commitment to providing you with the highest quality energy, we constantly strive to improve your experience with us. Whether you’re looking for better customer service or more accurate rates, we’re here to help.

As the nation’s premier electric and gas utility, National Grid is a leader in safety and innovation. That’s why we’re committed to identifying and implementing the most advanced technologies in our field, including smart systems and predictive maintenance. We’re confident that our customers will appreciate the innovative solutions we deliver for years to come.



For residential customers who use an average of 713 therms this winter, National Grid predicts they will pay $263 more for gas than last year. About 87% of that forecast rise is due to higher wholesale natural gas prices, and the other 13% is a combination of delivery price increases approved in its multi-year rate program and other bill surcharges, the utility said.

National Grid has launched a “winter customer savings initiative,” encouraging customers to conserve energy and apply for financial assistance. It also outlined ways to defer costs, like turning off lights when you leave a room or setting your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Over the border in New Hampshire, Eversource has announced its electric rates will double this winter for many residents due to higher natural gas prices fueled in part by the war in Ukraine. It submitted a proposal Wednesday to the state Department of Public Utilities seeking to raise its natural gas rates, which it expects will take effect November 1.

Service Areas

National Grid serves more than 20 million customers across the Northeast, including New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is part of the NYSEG group, which operates in the UK.

The company delivers electricity and natural gas to homes, businesses and institutions in its service areas through a network of power lines. It also manages the gas lines that supply its customers.


This holiday weekend, National Grid is asking its 1.9 million natural gas customers in the New York metro-Long Island area to reduce usage to help ensure the system is able to keep up with demand. It cites interstate pipeline equipment issues due to frigid temperatures challenging the Northeast’s ability to provide adequate amounts of natural gas.

The company is urging its customers to conserve their use of gas through tomorrow afternoon without sacrificing safety. It is also utilizing its liquefied natural gas units to help provide additional supply to customers as needed.

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