Electricity plays a vital role in the day-to-day lives of everyone powering everything from homes to communication to transportation to businesses. Understanding the generating, transmission and distribution of electricity is complex and involves many different aspects. Let’s take a closer look at each aspect of electricity and how they interact on the power grid.
Generation of electricity itself is the first part of the process. This is typically done using power plants, which convert various forms of energy into electricity. The most common power generation sources are fossil fuels (such as coal, natural gas, and oil), nuclear power, and renewable energy sources (such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric).
After electricity has been generated at a power plant, it must be transmitted to the areas where it is needed. Electricity that is transported over long distances is done so through a network of high-voltage transmission lines. These transmission lines are typically made of copper or an aluminum alloy and are supported by tall, sturdy towers.
Once electricity has been transmitted to the appropriate area, it must be distributed to individual consumers. This is done through a network of lower-voltage distribution power lines that carry electricity from the transmission lines to individual homes and businesses. These distribution lines are typically made of aluminum wire and are supported by shorter, more widely-spaced poles.
Distributed Energy Resources
In recent years the power grid has had to accommodate two-way power generation. Distributed energy resources are much smaller scale power plants that also generate power from homes or businesses that connect back into the power grid.
Managing the Power System
At each stage of the electricity generation, transmission, and distribution process, the main goal is to ensure safe and reliable delivery of power throughout the system. Management of the power grid is done through a combination of careful planning, regular maintenance, and advanced technologies such as smart grids and automation.
Electric Power Engineers is an energy engineering firm dedicated to supporting operators and owners of generation, transmission and distribution systems. Learn more about the work of Electric Power Engineers.