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The Purpose of the National Grid

Updated July 19, 2017

A national grid is a country's method of transmitting electrical power to end users. To meet electrical demands from residential and industrial users, a national grid allows consumers power availability when demand exceeds supply.

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Capturing Electricity

Electrical power is generated by a source, such as hydroelectric, nuclear, natural gas, wind or coal, to spin turbines. These turbines are the workhorses of electrical generation. Electricity is then captured at the generation station and sent to substations. Substations are used for the collection, distribution and transmission of power, and are referred to as "yards."

Consumer Use

On the receiving end of the national grid are commercial, industrial and residential users. Users are grouped together geographically and serviced with electricity by the yard on a grid. Grid areas can service a substantial number of customers for anticipated demand while electrical power is transmitted along power lines. Because power lines have a maximum capacity of electricity they can carry at one time, electrical kilovolt-amps (kVA) are based upon regional and seasonal usage

When Demand Exceeds Supply

Once the demand for electricity exceeds what is available, power companies contact other power providers and schedule for more kVA. The idea behind this is to ensure that consumers have electricity readily available for use at all times. The purpose of a national grid is to ensure that geographic areas have more than one source to draw from for electrical power.

Other National Grids

England and Ireland use a national grid reference system. It is a geographic mapping system used to pinpoint locations on a map. A business that provides electrical service to these countries, as well as the U.S. New England area, is also named National Grid.

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About the Author

Writer and photographer John Lightle writes out of the Plano/Dallas, Texas, area. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Texoma Living!, Southwest Food Service News, and Just Labs Magazine. A former greenhouse worker for two years, he managed a seven-year xeriscape project.

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