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Powering the Dream by Alexis Madrigal

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chapter 9
Compressed Air and Electricity
AROUND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, transmitting power was quite difficult. In order to move power, it needed to be touching something else. Energy markets were local, so people tried to tap local resources. For those who lived on the beach, the waves sure seemed like a good bet.1
The development of high-voltage power transmission, however, changed the dynamics of power generation and usage. The ability to transmit electricity made tapping local power sources less appealing. If one could send 100,000 horsepower from a coal plant on the edge of town, why bother with a small wave or sun motor out by the pier? Transmission reshaped where and how people could live and work. As much as the fossil-fuel plants ...

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