An industrial plant that generates electricity, a power station, or a powerhouse.
Power plants of today mostly use the energy of the fossil fuels, water, nuclear power, solar power, wind and biomass energy. They transform these various forms of energy into electricity, which is then distributed to the users.
The first hydroelectric power plant was a waterwheel on the Fox river in Wisconsin, U.S. built in 1882.
The most efficient power plants are the nuclear ones, but they also pose a great environmental risk because of the risk of accidents and because of the toxic waste they create. The cleanest power plants are those based on exploitation of water, wind and solar power, but they often don't produce quite as much energy. Somewhere in the middle are those plants powered by natural gas. Plants that are powered by crude oil and coal tend to be quite dirty, and they contribute significantly to the global warming (the greenhouse effect) and create acid rain.
Power plants have to work around the clock, so workers in the power plants are subject to strain and stress. Most accidents in the nuclear plants are said to be caused by human errors.
One of the interesting types of power plants are the reversible hydroelectric plants, they function in two phases. First phase is production of energy by having water turn the turbines run down the river, from a lake (an accumulation of water) on a higher altitude than the power plant itself. This usually happens during the day. In the night, the plant pumps that same water back to the lake using huge pumps and pipes. These require quite a lot of energy to run, however, the electricity is sufficiently cheaper in the night and it all pays off.
darn tangentialism :-)