How Basin Electric maintains reliability and stability when the Laws of Physics won't change

Do you love learning mind-blowing facts about physics?

  • Did you know time moves more quickly the farther you get from earth? It's called time dilation and it's related to Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
  •  Water can freeze and boil at the same temperature, and it's possible when the pressure of the water is just right. It's called triple point, and the three states of water - solid, liquid, and vapor - coexist in equilibrium.

Now let's talk about electricity. Let's focus on the G&T (generation and transmission) function of the electric business.

At every second of the day, the amount of electricity being generated needs to match the amount of electricity people are using.

Basin Electric has 3 million members across a nine-state service territory. Each of these members is represented by meters. Each meter keeps track of the electricity used by hot water heaters, blenders, irrigation systems, oil rigs, data centers, and the list goes on.

The Laws of Physics say that at the very second electricity is being used, it must be generated somewhere. So, every time you turn on a light switch, imagine somewhere machinery is turning to generate electricity and move it out onto the transmission grid to your home.

That balance must be maintained. If it's not, major damage can be done to the equipment that makes up the electric grid. The June 26, 2019, story, "What Led Zeppelin can teach us about the electric grid in Texas," by Austin NPR's Mose Buchele, describes that balance and how it's maintained in Texas.

There must be a balance between customer demand (including various electrical losses) and resources. Graphic concept credit: North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

To learn more about how Basin Electric bring solutions to maintaining the balance, read Fixed on physics: How Basin Electric maintains reliability and stability when the laws won't change in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Basin Today.

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