Turning on a small reading lamp by your bed is as easy as flipping a switch. But, the electricity that powers your tiny light starts miles and miles away and takes a fantastic journey through high voltage power lines, transformers and regulators before reaching your home.
All energy in the U.S. is powered and regulated through the National Power Grid. This grid controls the flow of energy between power plants, businesses and homes. As the demand for energy increases, the grid operators must constantly keep up. If they fail to meet the demand, or if any plants or power lines go down, then everyone risks the dreaded blackout.
If energy is that difficult to balance, what keeps it flowing on hot summer day and frigid winters when usage spikes? The following animation explains how the grid works to power not only your house, but every house on the block, in your city, town, state and beyond at all times of the day.
As demand continues to increase, the need for a better way to regulate power and utilize green energy more efficiently also rises. The “Smart Grid” is developing as we speak and lawmakers continue to pass legislation to help modernize the grid.
So the next time you turn on your lights or use the microwave, you can really appreciate the journey that your electricity has taken to power the lives of you and everyone around you.