The Electric Grid Connecting Us All - Message from the President & CEO

  Jeff Wadsworth
President & CEO

Today, Americans rely on electricity more than ever to power their lives. Without a reliable electric grid, we’d all be left in the dark. And – once our cell phones ran out of battery life – most of us would be cut off from family and friends.

The electric grid is a complex system of power generation sources, transmission lines, substations and distribution lines that transmit electric power from the place where it’s generated, all the way to members like you at the end of the line. In fact, your co-op started building our piece of the electric grid way back in 1939. And over the years we’ve improved and added to it to bring electricity to northern Colorado.

Here’s a breakdown of the path electricity takes to get to your home. Electricity is generated at a power plant or other facility, such as a hydro-electric dam. In fact, most of the country’s electricity comes from power plants that can generate steady, reliable electric power around the clock. The electricity is then sent over vast distances via high-voltage transmission lines. The electricity arrives at your co-op’s substation, where transformers lower the voltage, and lastly is sent on to your home using distribution power lines.

But not all power is generated at large power plants and hydro-electric dams. Some power comes from renewable resources, like wind and solar. While renewable energy is a great source of energy to provide to our members that is environmentally friendly and harnesses natural resources, it cannot provide power 24 hours a day to meet all the energy needs of an individual household.

Think of the electric grid like a bathtub filled by multiple faucets. Each faucet is a different generation source, such as wind, solar, fossil fuels, and hydropower. When you use electricity in your home, you’re draining all the different energy sources from the tub. Our job as your power provider is to make sure the bathtub stays full enough to provide reliable power to our over 40,000 homes and businseses at any point of the day.

Think about it: Some days, the sun doesn’t shine. PVREA’s solar facilities are not always generating power. Some days, the wind doesn’t blow, and large wind farms are not generating. By remaining connected to the electric grid, and the steady supply of reliable power, members have access to the electricity they need – whenever they need it!

There is still significant value of the electric grid – I strongly believe your co-op has invested significant dollars over time to build and maintain over 2,000 miles of electric line. This is why being connected to the existing electric grid is valuable, and still an important piece of our everyday lives. If you’re considering member-owned generation for your home, talk to your electric co-op first! We can help you make smart energy investments to meet ALL of your energy needs.

Date Posted: 1/25/2017