Generation, Transmission, and Distribution of Electricity

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The delivery of electricity from production to consumption requires efficient generating facilities, access to reliable networks, powerful transformers and relaying stations, accurate metering, and other procurement services such as scheduling and dispatching (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Electrical power distribution from generating plants to consumers.
Figure 1 Electrical power distribution from generating plants to consumers.

At all points, the quality of electricity must be assured to maintain its frequency and voltage stability. This is particularly important in large networks in which electricity is continuously added and consumed at various nodes within the grid. Without this, a potential failure can propagate quickly, damaging a large part of the network and causing a blackout over a large geographical area (a).



(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Additional Comments

(a) The largest power failure in US history occurred in August, 2003, following a problem resulting from a fallen tree in Ohio on an unusually hot summer day when demand was especially high. This created an overload that triggered a series of power failures across the grid. To prevent equipment damage, more than a dozen nuclear power plants and over 80 fossil fuel generating stations in the United States and Canada were automatically shut down within nine seconds. Over 50 million people lost power.

Further Reading

Bureau of Naval Personnel, Basic Electricity, Dover Publishing Company.

The Environmental Effects of Electricity Generation, IEEE, 1995.

The Electricity Journal, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company, This journal addresses issues related to generating power from natural gas-fired cogeneration and renewable energy plants (wind power, biomass, hydro and solar).

International Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company.

Home Power Magazine (

External Links

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (

Energy Information Agency, Department of Energy (

California Energy Commission (

National Council on Electricity Policy (

Southern California Edison (

Pacific Gas and Electric (