Learn Where Your Energy Comes From

While flipping the light switch in your bedroom instantaneously illuminates it, the processes which have allowed for that technology to be commonplace in homes today are far more complex. It is important to recognize the energy required to facilitate on-demand residential, commercial, and industrial power and the impact that generating, distributing, and using that energy has on our environment. 

The energy process begins at a power plant that generates electricity from burning coal and biomass, or increasingly from wind turbines, solar panels, and hydropower turbines. The power plant then transmits voltage through a transformer to transmission lines. These transmission lines carry electricity from the power plant to another transformer in your neighborhood that transmits it to distribution lines connected to you and your neighbors homes. 

In Duluth, you pay your monthly home electric bills to Minnesota Power—a large utility company based in Duluth, but which also supplies electricity to much of Northeastern Minnesota. Minnesota Power relies on a blend of wind, water, biomass, and coal to generate a supply of energy that is, as of 2019, made up of 30% renewable sources. While Minnesota Power continues to make efforts towards its transition to a renewable future of energy generation, coal remains the backbone of its operation.

If your home’s heat is powered by the burning of natural gas, then you pay your heating bill to ComfortSystems—a City-owned utility company that provides municipal services for gas, water, sanitation, stormwater management, street lights, and overall street maintenance.

These companies make decisions every year about how to produce their energy. As a consumer, you can become part of the conversation about a transition to a future powered by renewable energy. 

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