The availability of electricity is generally made possible by a system known as a power grid. This system is made up of many components, one of which is the electric power station. This can be considered the head of the power grid because it is here that production and transmission of electricity begins. Every power station is not exactly the same, but most operate on the same general premise.
An electric power station can be compared to a generator. Many people are familiar with these machines, which are commonly used to generate electricity when the primary source is unable to do so. Most generators rely on fossil fuels to create energy that is then used to generate electrical power. A power plant works in much the same way and actually contains a generator.
The energy at an electric power station is one of the things that can make one power plant different from another. The energy can be derived from a number of sources, including coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy. It is usually simple to figure out what type of energy is used to produce the electricity at a given electric power station because most are classified by energy type. For example, those that use water power are commonly called hydroelectric power plants.
The energy generated is used to power huge generators. For example, at a hydroelectric power plant, water may be used to turn a turbine. The turning of the turbine will create electricity. However, a complete power grid, which is used to distribute the electricity from the electric power station to individual users, can cover hundreds of miles. This means that electricity at the power station needs to be sent, or transmitted.
To begin the electricity’s journey, it is pushed from the generator to a transmission station. The transmission station is usually also located at the power station. When the electricity reaches this point, it is increased to a voltage that makes it suitable to travel and cover the vast territory usually characteristic of a power grid.
This transmission station is linked to transmission lines. There should always be at least three transmission lines because the electricity produced has three phases, or three balanced loads of current that run simultaneously. The transmission lines usually run through transmission towers, which carry the electricity to its next stop on the power grid, which is a power substation.