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Idea of powerlines kind of dated?

  1. Apr 26, 2004 #1
    I been thinking... isn't the idea of powerlines kind of dated? I mean... Tesla did propose this idea of wireless power transmition like ages ago... Yet, today, we are using the same stuff they were using ages ago, nothing new... And, of course, wasting 1/3 of our nation's power plants to make up for the loss of current in lines...
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2004 #2
    I actually wondered about this myself.

    Why not have smaller, more localized power plants for different areas?

    For instance, some buildings we are creating or have created are almost large enough to qualify as a small town. Why don't they have their own local power generator and therefore waste less energy?

    There are so many benefits to this that I honestly can't see the hindrances. Well, maybe I can. If the localized plants were to be coal burning, they would probably violate some environmental impact code somewhere. If they were nuclear, it would freak everyone out because they're scared to death of nuclear power. However, it would make the country a lot more redundant and thus would prevent catastrophies such as the NYC power outtage entirely.

    I guess another drawback is because this would then put nuclear power in the hands of private industry, unless the government was to control every nuclear plant, regardless of how small it is, everywhere. Aren't there also strict controls placed on materials such as uranium?

    In order for it to work, I guess what I'm saying is that it would require either a massive deregulation or a massive expanding regulation. I am in disfavor with the latter.
  4. Apr 26, 2004 #3
    there are ways to get power for free... Tesla's course on free energy was closed down at some University in Germany because it teaches ways to utilize "free energy" and use that the generate power... Because with this kind of knowledge power companies and such would go out of buisness teh class served society no purpose, people need to eat afterall... Yet, I do not see people closing down Computer shops because they lost their job due to technological innovations that replaced them with a machine... So if someone does come up with superconductive powerlines and there is no powerloss... say good bye to some powerplant workers!

    Then end of my thought is... Whats the use of a doctor if the patient is always good in health? :O
    Whats knowledge if we know it all? Whats school if we can learn by ourselves? Oo wait, we can learn by ourselves, ha!
  5. Apr 26, 2004 #4
  6. Apr 27, 2004 #5


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    Economies of scale.

    The losses in the lines is only one small part of the story, the losses in the transformers and all the other pieces involved in the transmission and distribution are a factor as well. But to suggest that everyone firing up a coal generator on every block would be more efficient seems to be an antiquated idea that even Edison himself gave up on years ago.

    Watch the History Channel for the next time they run their "Modern Marvels" series on power generation. They discuss how some private companies and homes are using alternative energy (solar,wind) or fuel cells to provide for some or all of their power needs. But without clear economic incentive from solid return on investment, its a mere proverbial drop in the bucket. If a completely de-centralized system with a power generator in every structure is the best solution, the developing contries around the world without a decades old investment in infrastructure will show the future of power. IHMO anyways.

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