A typical substation at a power plant

Transmission Substation

The three-phase power leaves the generator and enters a transmission substation at the power plant. This substation uses large transformers to convert the generator's voltage (which is at the thousands of volts level) up to extremely high voltages for long-distance transmission on the transmission grid.

You can see at the back several three-wire towers leaving the substation. Typical voltages for long distance transmission are in the range of 155,000 to 765,000 volts in order to reduce line losses. A typical maximum transmission distance is about 300 miles (483 km). High-voltage transmission lines are quite obvious when you see them. They are normally made of huge steel towers like this:

All power towers like this have three wires for the three phases. Many towers, like the ones shown above, have extra wires running along the tops of the towers. These are ground wires and are there primarily in an attempt to attract lightning.