How Do Substations Work?

Untangling the various equipment you might see in an electrical substation.
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In many ways, the grid is a one-size-fits-all system – a gigantic machine to which we all connect spinning in perfect synchrony across, in some cases, an entire continent. On the other hand, our electricity needs, including when we need it, how much we need, and how reliably it should be delivered vary widely. Substations play a critical role in controlling and protecting the power grid.


Writing/Editing/Production: Grady Hillhouse
Animation: Stephanie White, Connor Claver, Dayan D’Aniello

Tonic and Energy by Elexive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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33 thoughts on “How Do Substations Work?

  1. Very well explained. I agree that the power factor/phase angle/ voltage/ current correction is best done in a further post. Stealing that copper ground can turn one to really smelly carbon.

  2. I hear that generator operators complain about the amount of solar power generated by panels on homes. Can this be explained. I don't understand how home generation can affect a grid generator

  3. i like how he mentions safety but uses lots of stock footage with people lacking full or proper PPE on

  4. solar power has the issue of storing energy for the night
    a sollution for this could possibly be a global grid transporting power from the one side of the planet to the other
    this way countries can help each other

    this can drasticly reduse the need for storage of power

  5. Big ups to the person who caught that footage of that massive arc. This video was awesome thanks Grady

  6. I used to spray substations for weed control. It was always fun standing inches away from a Transformer handling tens of thousands volts and spraying herbicide everywhere lol. The substations I visited ranged anywhere from 0.1 acres with a handful of transformers to 30 and 40 acre behemoths that handled multiple circuits.

  7. I don't think anyone has ever seriously said (except in this video) that substations look like chaotic messes. They look more like little temples or castles.

  8. I love this video. you mentioned that the voltage has the same idea with the pressure of a fluid, how about the power and current in terms of water/fluid?

  9. I watching the video at the 2:52 I see the area of the substation and I said what thats my substation, and sure enough its the one down the road. How funny

  10. I worked as an Apprentice Transmission lineman for a couple of years; the job wasn't for me, but it definitely made me appreciate all that goes into getting power to the people.

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