Power generators are buildings that generate Energy. They cost nothing to maintain, and, except for Hydrocarbon power plants, can't be built anywhere. The Hydrocarbon power plant can only be built on hydrocarbon deposits. There are four generators for every faction: Tech 1, Tech 2, Tech 3 power generators, and the hydrocarbon power plants. All power generators explode on death, damaging all units in their surrounding. If one or two Tech 1 power generators around a factory explode, they will most likely start a chain reaction destroying other power generators within the vicinity and possibly a factory. Tech 2 and especially Tech 3 power generators have a much higher death explosion so therefore if you construct a power base, if one goes up in smoke, most likely at least half of your power base will do the same. Defend your power generators well! Hydrocarbon power plants do not explode on death.
Power generators can be built by engineers and command units. The power generator's production can be increased by placing energy storages around them. A power generator surrounded by energy storage produces an extra 50% Energy. Placing a power generator next to a power consuming building will lower its consumption. In particular, factories are often surrounded by T1 power generators, and T2/T3 shields are usually placed next to a T2 power generator. Most players estimate it is better to use a power plant's adjacency to lower the production costs of another building, than to surround it with energy storage. See the Energy Storage's page for a discussion on why surrounding a generator with storage is rarely economically advantageous.
Hydrocarbon power plants have the best cost/production ratio in the game, and should be built as fast as possible. Furthermore, the fact that they don't explode on death makes them ideal for adjacency bonuses.
* : The space taken up by a Hydrocarbon Power Plant is nine squares but since nothing else can be built on the hydrocarbon deposit, it could be considered the power to space ratio is infinite.
Building a power generator is expensive, especially when you are building one of a new tech level. Tech level 2 is especially expensive compared to Tech level 1, but the output is 25 times higher. You should have a stable Energy production before attempting to build a power generator of a higher Tech level, but as soon as you can, build those, and forget the lower level Tech.
For details about a specific power generator, click the corresponding icon in the Unit Navigational Box, at the top of the page.
For a list of all power generators, see the Power generators category.
For the article on Mass extractors, see the Mass extractor article.
For the article on Mass fabricators, see the Mass fabricator article.