Central Generation.

When Thomas Alva Edison developed the commercial, widespread use of electricity, he envisioned small plants located where the power was needed. However, arguments for the “economies of scale” using “new AC current” generating facilities won out. “George Westinghouse and other Edison rivals” promoted a “’grow and build’ strategy that encouraged increased electricity use to stimulate large central plants. … The build-big approach was also furthered by broad consensus that … [the electric system] should be defined as a ‘natural monopoly.’” (Seth Dunn, Micropower, the Next Electrical Era. Worldwatch Institute; Worldwatch Papers, 2000)

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), perhaps the world's largest hydropower facility, has proposed the Energy Web alternative.
The Energy Web, or, Thomas Edison and the Future of the Electric Utility Industry
by Terry Esvelt, Bonneville Power Administration
Presentation to the Energy 2000 Conference
Read the speech here.

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