How is electricity measured?

The ability to generate electricity is measured in watts. Watts are very small units, so the terms kilowatt (kW = 1,000 watts), megawatt (MW = 1 million watts), and gigawatt (GW = 1 billion watts) are most commonly used to describe the capacity of generating units like wind turbines or other power plants.

Electricity production and consumption are most commonly measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). A kilowatt-hour means one kilowatt (1,000 watts) of electricity produced or consumed for one hour. One 50 watt light bulb left on for 20 hours consumes one kilowatt-hour of electricity (50 watts x 20 hours = 1,000 watt-hours = 1 kilowatt-hour).