Electric power transmission
Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy from a generating site, such as a power plant, to an electrical substation. The interconnected lines which facilitate this movement are known as a transmission network. This is distinct from the local wiring between high-voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electric power distribution. The combined transmission and distribution network is part of electricity delivery, known as the electrical grid.
Efficient long-distance transmission of electric power requires high voltages. This reduces the losses produced by heavy current. Transmission lines mostly use high-voltage AC (alternating current), but an important class of transmission line uses high voltage direct current. The voltage level is changed with transformers, stepping up the voltage for transmission, then reducing voltage for local distribution and then use by customers.
A wide area synchronous grid, also known as an "interconnection" in North America, directly connects many generators delivering AC power with the same relative frequency to many consumers. For example, there are four major interconnections in North America (the Western Interconnection, the Eastern Interconnection, the Quebec Interconnection and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid). In Europe one large grid connects most of continental Europe.
Historically, transmission and distribution lines were often owned by the same company, but starting in the 1990s, many countries have liberalized the regulation of the electricity market in ways that have led to the separation of the electricity transmission business from the distribution business.