Generation is the process of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, or electricity.
Generation facilities are the first link in the chain in providing electricity to consumers. There are currently about 3,200 electric utilities throughout the United States, but only about 700 of them operate facilities that generate electric power. Once electricity is generated, it needs to be transported via high-voltage transmission lines. In Tennessee, most all electricity is generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. They utilize a mixture of resources to produce energy for Tennessee including fossil fuel, hydro, and nuclear power.
Transmission is the process of carrying high voltages of electricity from generation facilities over long distances.
The Tennessee Valley Authority provides transmission service for most utilities in the state. In order to move electricity among utilities, they operate and maintain an extensive system of high-voltage transmission lines. This transmission network permits electricity trading between utilities; without transmission facilities, electricity could not be moved from power plants to the thousands of distribution systems serving millions of consumers of electric power.
Distribution is the process of carrying electricity from transmission substations to homes and businesses.
Tennessee’s electric cooperatives have an all-requirements contract with TVA—that is, they purchase all wholesale power from TVA to distribute it, over their own distribution lines, to the consumer. For example, a distribution cooperative is a cooperative that maintains the lines and equipment necessary to distribute to our consumer-members the electricity that arrives in our service area via transmission lines.