Transmission vs Distribution

Transporting electricity is pivotal in the way our energy system is structured as supply is a key component. In simple terms it’s structured into two buckets:

  • Transmission grid which accounts for the very large pylons and infrastructure that cross large distances with often very large voltages. Usually it moves electricity from the power stations to the distribution girds but sometimes can supply very energy intensive industry direct such as steel works.

  • Distribution which is responsible for supplying the vast majority of businesses and homes via huge networks of cables to almost every home, business and corner of the country.

The below image is a great easy diagram showing how the system works in principle. Note that both work on the three phase set up. Read more about three phase electricity in another story.

Historically, the grids have been required to move electricity from very large generation stations in often remote areas through to the areas it’s required such as industry, towns and cities. This is however beginning to change as our energy story develops.

With the rise in the proliferation of renewable generation as well as micro generation such as small solar panels on people’s roofs, there has been increasing strain on this mono-directional system to become more flexible and often bi-directional.

The exciting developments and multi billion pound investment required in both grids will be the subject of further stories.

What are your views on transmission or distribution?

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