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From power plants to power lines to you

Electricity cannot be boxed and shipped to customers, nor can it be easily stored. It must be delivered instantly, at the precise moment a customer needs it from power plants through power lines, to you. The four basic elements of the electric system are:

Power source

Generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts), like Great River Energy, operate power generating facilities. At a steam generating plant, the fuel (coal, nuclear or biomass) heats water to make steam and drive a turbine. In a combustion turbine, the fuel (gas or oil) is burned and the hot gas drives a turbine. Wind hydro and solar are other forms of energy producers.

High-voltage transmission line

Transformers at the generating plant increase the voltage up to a transmission voltage (69 kV, 115 kV, 230 kV, 500 kV, 765 kV), so it can travel long distances over high-voltage transmission lines. G&Ts operate these lines, which carry the electric energy from the generating stations to the places where electricity is used.

 

Transmission substation

Transformers reduce the electric energy down to a lower voltage (69 kV, 34 kV) making it suitable for high-volume delivery over short distances.

Local distribution substation

Transformers reduce the electric energy down to a lower voltage (69 kV, 34 kV) making it suitable for high-volume delivery over short distances.

Large industrial user

Most industries need 2,400 to 4,160 volts to run heavy machinery. They usually have their own substation at the facility.

Distribution Lines

Lines belonging to local electric co-ops carry electricity to transformers that reduce power levels to 120/240 or 120/208 volts for use in schools, farms, small businesses and homes.

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