How power gets to you

Today’s energy grid is dynamic and smart

The fundamental elements of the energy grid that we are all familiar with will long be part of the system that delivers electricity to you. But with rapid advancements in technology and the popularity of wind and solar energy, the energy grid grows smarter and more dynamic every day.

 

The basics

Power generation

A diverse mix of energy sources supply Great River Energy members with clean, reliable, affordable electricity. We generate power from coal, natural gas, wind, solar, biomass and hydro. We are part of a regional network that helps makes sure co-op members get the reliability and affordability they expect.

High-voltage transmission lines

Electricity from power plants travels along high voltage transmission lines (69 kV, 115 kV, 230 kV, 500 kV, 765 kV) to the places where electricity can be “stepped down” and used.

Transmission substations

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 substations

Transformers reduce the electric energy down to an even lower voltage (7,200 – 14,400 volts) making it suitable for high-volume delivery over short distances.

Distribution lines

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

Distributed energy resources

Some homeowners and businesses have installed solar panels, wind turbines or other generators. They use these to help power their homes, but still use the grid to bring electricity to their homes when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. During the times they generate more electricity than they need, they may sell that additional electricity to their electric co-op.