# [Physics] Is voltage just energy per electron

chargeelectronspotentialpotential energyvoltage

I know that voltage is just a difference in electrical pressure, but if voltage doesn't increase the velocity, or charge of electrons, then it must just increase their energy, right? How else would an increase in voltage result in more power?

Imagine there's two conducting wires exactly the same in every way.

The first has 1 volt times 1 amp of electrical power travelling through it.

The second has 5,000,000 volts times 1 amp of electrical power travelling through it.

In both cases:

The velocity of each electron is the same.

The charge of each electron is the same.

The quantity of electrons passing a given point in the wire in one second is the same.

Does this mean that the only difference between an electron in the first wire, compared to an electron in the second wire, is that the latter is 5,000,000 times more energetic?

When you move a specific amount of charge across a particular voltage difference, then a specific amount of work is done.

Since electrons have a constant charge, then moving an electron across an increasing voltage difference requires (or produces) more work.

Imagine there's two conducting wires exactly the same in every way.

The first has 1 volt times 1 amp of electrical power travelling through it.

The second has 5,000,000 volts times 1 amp of electrical power travelling through it.

The important part about the above is that the charge has to move across a specific voltage. "Wires" are normally conductors, and they usually have very little voltage difference from one end to the other. So a wire being at "1 volt" or any other amount isn't the big deal. It's the voltage difference between that wire and some other location. The energy is released or expended as the charges move to the new potential.

Think of it like trying to get energy from a falling weight. You can hook up a weight to a rope and get energy from it. But for the same rock and the same harness, you can get more energy if you can let it fall farther.

The charges in the wires are the same, but you can get more energy from them if you have a larger potential difference with some other location.