Twenty or so years ago, things were a lot simpler. Home computers were just getting connected to the Web through dial-up connections. Appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, and televisions ran on electricity, but they didn’t have internal computers fine-tuning every aspect of their operation. Smart phones, smart home technology, and a host of other Internet-based consumer products had yet to be developed.
Now, nearly every aspect of our lives is digitally driven, often through Internet-enabled devices (known as the Internet of Things), and all those things not only rely on electricity from the electric grid but are more vulnerable to disruption—or worse—from their power sources are interrupted.
A spike in voltage 20 years ago—say from a major storm or lightning strike—might have caused a minor setback like a temporary power outage. Today, a power surge could wipe out any number of devices that we rely on day to day, amplifying both the cost and inconvenience to personal and business lives.
That’s why the way in which energy is delivered to our homes and businesses—and the infrastructure that we use to deliver it—is just as important as the sheer volume of energy we produce.
One of the key challenges is that electric energy is created and transmitted at a much higher voltage than it needs to be at when it enters your home or business. Below, we take a look at how energy gets “stepped up” and “stepped down” so it’s able to be delivered when we need it, where we need it, and in the exact amounts we need.
Investing in Michigan’s electric infrastructure is vitally important. Local energy providers need to be able to invest in, expand, and modernize our state’s energy delivery system to ensure smooth, reliable service that addresses the way today’s electricity demands are different than they were when many of today’s consumers were just children.
With our lives becoming more connected—to the Internet and to each other—we just can’t afford to take a risk on unreliable energy.
What questions do you have about the electric grid or power delivery? Let us know here.