The Electrical Grid and You

by Rob English

You probably know that when you turn on a light in your home or office the electricity to energize the light travels from industrial power plants to your room via “the grid,” a vast network of many power plants interconnected to each other and to you via electrical cables and wires that touch on large and small transformers and other sophisticated devices and monitoring instruments that work harmoniously together make your space light up when you flip the switch. Because of the grid your refrigerator can refrigerate, your cell phone charger can charge your cell phone, the grocery store and hospital can exist, and so on; the list is long.

More uses are constantly being found for the grid’s electricity. To mitigate Climate Change by reducing the use of fossil fuels, the US is rapidly changing over to all-electric cars, all to be charged by plugging into the grid. New York State plans to convert every home in the state (yes, EVERY home in the state!) from natural gas heating to electric heat pumps, heat pumps that will get their energy from the grid. New York is not alone in this.

Just imagine how much MORE electricity the grid’s power plants will need to generate to accommodate these changes! America’s car fleet uses 30 percent of America’s energy right now and soon all that energy will have to be electrical! That will cause an enormous jump in demand and place a crushing load on the existing grid!

The power plants, the cables, the transformers and substations and control centers, …everything, ALL the elements of the current, aged, at-capacity grid will have to be re-thought, updated, renewed, expanded, and in large part, replaced.

Fortunes will be made.

MOVING all that electricity to our City Water pumps and our televisions and electric tooth brushes and electric cars and heat-pumps will require a new grid. HOW all that additional electricity will be generated is another fascinating question. I have some thoughts about that, and I would welcome yours.

Photos by Satya Nemala and Cottonbro Studio of

Rob English is a member of People for Animal Rights, a grassroots organization in Central New York. This article was translated into Spanish by Rob.

Contact People for Animal Rights
P.O. Box 3333
Syracuse, NY 13220
(315) 708-4520


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