The florescent lights in this picture is being exited from the electromagnetic field. Are they utilizing lost energy that disbursed in the atmosphere or are they pulling the power from the power lines indirectly by absorbing the magnetic field then the voltage and/or amperage therefore is lowered in the wire?

enter image description here picture by: https://www.wired.com/2008/02/1301-glowing-fl/



1 Answer 1


The question correctly distinguishes between two possible scenarios:

  • The lightbulbs simply use 'lost' energy which is radiated by the power lines as an inevitable part of the transmission process, and which would be wasted regardless of whether the lighbulbs were there; or
  • The lightbulbs 'pull' energy from the transmission lines, adding to the load on the generating station and causing energy losses that would not be present if the bulbs were not there.

The correct answer is the second one: the lightbulbs add to the load on the generating station, since they are essentially like a transformer loop connected to the transmission line (which can also be seen as a transformer loop) through electromagnetic induction. The cost is minor, compared to the huge power carried by the transmission lines, but it is a nonzero increase in the power the generating station needs to send.


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