When we want light, we flip a switch, and the light comes on. Pretty simple. But at the same time, we know that it’s quite a complicated process to make that light turn on. Electricity has to come from somewhere, so where is it coming from, and how is it transferred to your home? In this article, we’ll walk you through how electricity is generated and how it gets to your home to bring you all the modern comforts we enjoy. We’ll break the process down into three steps: generation, transmission, and distribution.
How is electricity generated? Most electricity is created in a power plant by a generator. Inside the generator is a turbine that relies on an external energy source to rotate. The turbine rotates an electric conductor, such as copper, with a magnetic field. The result is mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy.
What generates electricity?
As noted above, in order to turn the turbine, an external source of energy is needed. The external source comes from a variety of sources and can include coal, natural gas, wind, nuclear power plants, and hydroelectric dams.
Now that we have electricity generated, we must find a way to transfer it to your home. To deliver such a massive amount of energy, a network of transmission lines, substations, sub-transmission lines, and distribution lines are needed. This massive network is commonly referred to as the “power grid.”
How the Power Grid Works
• Electricity is generated at the power plant
• Electricity is sent via a transmission line to a large nearby station
• Substations up the voltage to transfer electricity efficiently over long distances
• A second substation lowers the voltage to prepare for distribution
• Sub-transmission lines carry lower-voltage electricity to distribution networks
After traveling hundreds of miles at times, winding through transmission lines, and changing voltages a few times, the electricity is ready for distribution. Electricity leaves the local substation through powerlines before being reduced in voltage once more by pole-top transformers. The lower-voltage electricity is now suitable for powering your lights, dishwasher, laptop, etc.
Power passes through a service line, called a “service drop,” which is wired to your home. The line will run either underground or overhead and then run through a meter to monitor use. From there, it’s wired into your home’s breaker box. A simple flip of the switch and you have light.
Now you know the story about how your home is powered. If you have an electrical project, you need help with, concerns, or just want peace of mind, schedule an electrical safety inspection with us today.
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