Keeping the nation rolling

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One characteristic of modern society is that we use lots of vehicles and machinery, both privately and to do business. All these machines need energy to keep them running. Previously, humans and animals were the main energy sources, but today we rely on energy from fuels such as coal and oil and renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun. Ours is the Electric Age.

Wall sockets give your home machines access to the energy they need to work, right from your computer, television and phone on down to fridges and power tools. Hand-operated washing machines have long-since disappeared, and we have become so dependent on electricity that a power outage is remembered for years. But by the turn of the 20th century electricity was still a new technology, and it spread only slowly to Danish homes. Often it competed with town gas. Town gas has almost disappeared today, but at the dawn of the 1900s it lit up many Danish towns and cities.

Sources of power
How the electricity that comes out of the outlet is produced – by burning coal, in a nuclear reaction, as water flowing over a dam turns a turbine, as the breezes make wind turbines turn or by the sun shining on a solar panel – is irrelevant for our use of electricity. But the choice of power source is not only a matter of technology. It is also about politics.…

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