The Grid: A Complex Set of Wires, Devices and Technology Keeping Your Lights On

When you unplug your phone, you expect it to be fully charged. When you go to flip a switch, you expect the lights to turn on. And when you press the button on your coffee maker, you expect to smell the sweet aroma as the good stuff begins to pour. But how does it all work?

Steanrs Electric Association and our wholesale power provider, Great River Energy, work together to ensure your electric devices operate as intended each time you go to use them.Together, we keep the electrons flowing from power plants, wind and solar farms so that they reach you just as intended.

A complex set of wires, substations, transformers and switches are interconnected to ensure you have electricity when and where you need it. High-voltage power lines efficiently carry electrons at a larger and faster rate, so they can flow on distribution lines. Those electrons then “step down” to smaller voltages at substations eventually reaching your home, farm or business.

Great River Energy owns more than 4,500 miles of such high-voltage power lines and over 100 substations to provide resilient, reliable electric service.

When planning for new power lines or substations, Great River Energy engineers look for the most robust solution at the lowest possible cost. With new technologies maturing every day and lower pricing available, Great River Energy works with Stearns Electric to ensure a resilient grid able to meet growing demand and address the complexities of integrating renewable resources.