2

In the third book when Harry is in Lupin's office, Lupin brought a kettle to the boil with a tap of his wand. Given that most of our means of energy-production is by turning water into steam to power a turbine, does this mean that wizards were sitting on a source of endless energy? Seeing as how most of our wars are over resources, sharing this could've stopped a lot of wars.

I guess it boils down to how this magic works. Was there boiling water somewhere else which was teleported into the kettle (like food is "created")? Or was the water boiled via magic (thus allowing for the premise of this question)?

14
  • 1
    q.v. Legend of Korra, where Firebenders are running power stations that supply steam-generated electricity
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 20:48
  • 1
    No, because doing so would violate the laws that prevent Muggle/Wizard contact.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 20:48
  • 2
    Note that free energy is not necessarily the same as infinite or unlimited energy.
    – Adamant
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 1:22
  • 1
    This seems to be a perfectly factual question.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 2:03
  • 1
    @Alex - I fail to see how this could be answered without masses of opinion-based guesswork. Can a wizard boil water endlessly? Can they boil industrial-sized amounts of water? Would they be willing to do so? Would the Ministry of Magic be willing to allow them to do so? Is magic endlessly available? Etc etc
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 12:02

1 Answer 1

4

Endless, yes. Limitless, no. Useful, Maybe.

I don't think there is a definite canonical answer but my opinion is that Lupin boiled the water by instantly adding energy. Hermione made a fire in a jar to warm her friends, so why not?

There are also examples of objects being conjured out of either nothing or "thin air", which from a Muggle science perspective sounds a lot like creating energy.

Magic itself is limited - some spells require several magic users to work together, and Dumbledore told Harry that the amount of magic in an individual is finite and can be measured. On the other hand there is at least one "permanent" energy-producing spell, "eternal fire", which is said to burn forever. Maybe the magic channels energy from another source, or maybe that finite bit of magic can produce infinite energy.

Either way, the amount of power available seems to be limited - it might burn forever (infinite energy) but it produces heat at a limited rate (finite power).

It's likely that a sufficiently powerful witch/wizard could provide enough eternal fire to run a small Muggle turbine. There is probably a more efficient way of doing it, the likely problem is the relatively small population of magic users. There might be only a few individuals in each generation that can make a long-term energy spell, the spell might take a long time to prepare and it might only provide a relatively small amount of power. If the energy-producing spells truly last forever then enough generations of wizards might eventually overtake the Muggles' power requirements, but it might take a while (especially if Muggle gadget makers think they have free power to work with) and wizards and Muggles don't always play well together.

Also, as Valorum pointed out, it would be a breach of the International Statute of Secrecy so some kind of legal fudge would be needed to let it happen.

There is another unknown factor here: It is stated that certain things can't be conjured, and aside from "good food" we aren't told what they are. There is a chance that "large amounts of useful energy" is also on the list.

2
  • And of course it would be a total violation of the law to do so.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 14:07
  • Yes it would, but exceptions can be applied to the Statute of Secrecy, so I imagine it could be done here if it was considered important enough. For example, Hermione's parents were allowed to change money at Gringott's, and the Muggle Prime Minister was given updates in person by a wizard (heralded by a wizard painting that he couldn't get rid of). Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 16:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.