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The Traditional Power Generation Problem
Traditional power generation in the United States is based on large power generation plants utilizing coal, nuclear, solar, etc. The source feeds a grid where power flows to the premises like water from its source to its destination. However, power is different than water in our pipes. If the power isn't used the instant it is put on the grid, it is wasted. It is like water that flows out of the mouth of a river and into the ocean to be lost from the system forever.
Power companies spend a significant amount of time and effort analyzing power usage in a given area to be sure that they don't waste fuel and money by producing too much power, while at the same time never running so thin as to cause a brownout. The current system, no matter what the source, has built-in waste which negatively impacts our environment.
This phenomenon is compounded by the fact that coal-burning generation plants must be placed far away from the communities they serve. We suffer from NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). Nuclear generation plants need to be even farther away from the communities they serve. 75% efficiency due to line loss is considered good in urban areas. In rural America, 50%-65% efficiency is considered good. The result is that economic growth in rural America is stifled due to higher energy rates.