The Power Grid

How does the electricity that you use for everyday life get to your house? Americans use a lot of energy every day and we count on electricity for almost everything we do, and the amount of electricity we use is continually growing. Where does this energy come from, and how does it get to us? The answer is The Grid. Here are some videos from around the web that help explain how it works. Can you answer the questions below after watching these short videos?

Mr. Hurd’s POE Class: Answer the questions after the last video using internet resources, and then hand them in electronically!

Power Grid from Practical Engineering channel 10:24

Electrical Grid 101 : All you need to know! by Engineering World 3:46

How does the Power Grid Work? #TheShortAnswer w/Jason Bellini 2:43

Conclusions Questions:

  1. What are the three main uses of electricity in the US?
  2. How is electricity different from other utilities like fresh water and sanitation systems?
  3. How many electrical grids serve all of North America? Who are the “Separatists”?
  4. What are the three major components of The Grid?
  5. List at least five different ways used to generate energy that goes to The Grid.
  6. What is used to transport the energy long distances in the grid?
  7. What is used in The Grid to boost the energy when moved long distances?
  8. Explain what a substation does?
  9. What kind of electricity is transported on the Grid? AC or DC? Why?
  10. Explain simply how a transformer works?
  11. What are three overarching goals that engineers use to design and maintain The Grid?
  12. Give three examples of how The Grid is getting smarter.

Going Beyond:

  1. What are the systems used to step down energy so that it can safely be delivered to a home or other building for use?
  2. What systems are used to ensure that energy forms can travel long distances?
  3. What kinds of energy are produced closest to where you live?
  4. What are some inexhaustible resources available in your area that can be utilized to procure energy?
  5. Do you think customers should be able to choose how their energy is produced, even if it means that they may need to pay more for the energy they choose? Defend your answer.

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Jim Hanson

Chris Hurd

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