|MLA Citation:||Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 719"|
How Everything Works 19 Mar 2018. 19 Mar 2018 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=719>.
When Thomas Edison set out to electrify New York City, he used direct current of the highest practical household voltage. Nonetheless, his relatively low voltage power transmission lines wasted so much power that he had to scatter generating plants throughout the city so that no home was far from a power plant. But when George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla realized that using alternating current and transformers to temporarily convert the household power to high voltages and small currents, they were able to send power long distances without wasting electricity. That realization eventually destroyed Edison's direct current electric system and gave us the modern alternating current system. It's now common to send electric power several hundred miles through high voltage transmission lines. At those distances, perhaps half the power is lost en route. I doubt that transmission of power more than 1,000 miles is practical.