A measure of the rate of doing work or transferring energy.
In physics, power is the rate of doing work. It is the amount of energy consumed per unit time. The unit of power is the joule per second (J/s), known as the watt (in honor of James Watt, the eighteenth-century developer of the steam engine). For example, the rate at which a lightbulb transforms electrical energy into heat and light is measured in watts (W)—the more wattage, the more power, or equivalently the more electrical energy is used per unit time .
Energy transfer can be used to do work, so power is also the rate at which this work is performed. The same amount of work is done when carrying a load up a flight of stairs whether the person carrying it walks or runs, but more power is expended during the running because the work is done in a shorter amount of time. The output power of an electric motor is the product of the torque the motor generates and the angularvelocity of its output shaft. The power expended to move a vehicle is the product of the traction force of the wheels and the velocity of the vehicle.
Examples of power are limited only by the imagination, because there are as many types as there are forms of work and energy. Sunlight reaching Earth's surface carries a maximum power of about 1.3 kilowatts per square meter (kW/m2). A tiny fraction of this is retained by Earth over the long term. Our consumption rate of fossil fuels is far greater than the rate at which they are stored, so it is inevitable that they will be depleted. Power implies that energy is transferred, perhaps changing form. It is never possible to change one form completely into another without losing some of it as thermal energy. For example, a 60-W incandescent bulb converts only 5 W of electrical power to light, with 55 W dissipating into thermal energy. Furthermore, the typical electric power plant converts only 35 to 40 percent of its fuel into electricity. The remainder becomes a huge amount of thermal energy that must be dispersed as heat transfer, as rapidly as it is created. A coal-fired power plant may produce 1,000 megawatts; 1 megawatt (MW) is 106 W of electric power. But the power plant consumes chemical energy at a rate of about 2,500 MW, creating heat transfer to the surroundings at a rate of 1,500 MW .