The storage of DC electricity (Direct Current) is the most important element of any renewable energy system and it will work extremely effectively in reducing the cost of electricity if it were the only part utilized. We must change the way we think about how electricity is generated and distributed. Instead of primarily starting at large power generation facilities and transmitting and distributing power to end-users, we need to start with the end-user and work outward. This is how microgrids are created that can operate idependent of the main electric grid when needed. To start the process, we should add DC power generation (solar/wind) and battery power storage equipment at local substations throughout America. This will ensure that power is always available to U.S. consumers at their home or building even if the main grid power is cut due to storms, blackouts, or terrorism.
Thomas Edison George Westinghouse
Thomas Edison demonstrated DC power in Lower Manhattan in 1882 and by 1887 he had created 121 power stations in America. DC electricity was still being used by 1600 customers in New York City as late as 2005. Thomas Edison also patented DC electricity third-rail subway systems in 1882. Today, this is the most common system used in subways worldwide to power commuter trains because it is less expensive and more reliable than AC (Alternating Current).
AC was first developed by George Westinghouse in 1886. It gradually replaced DC because during those early years, DC could only be sent efficiently 1.5 miles. Today, modern equipment can send DC 1500 miles more efficently than AC power. We should use a combination of AC and DC electricity as well as battery power storage to reduce energy costs and pollution, and strengthen and flatten electric power grids throughout the U.S. and globally. All of these efforts will significantly reduced energy consumption and that will reduce global warming and improve worldwide water quality. China is currently in the process of changing their entire electric infrastructure from AC to DC electricity and this will help them achieve them goal of switching from fossil fuel vehicles to all-electric vehicles within 30 years. This will lower the cost to operate a vehicle each year and it will reduce pollution.
In 1910, there were more electric vehicles in the United States than gasoline vehicles. This gradually changed over the next 10-15 years to favor gas vehicles because of the discovery of large crude oil deposits in several states. Thomas Edison made three prototype electric vehicles starting in 1896 and he worked with Henry Ford, a former Edison Electric employee, in trying to deveop electric vehicles. The major reason that fossil fuel vehicles eventually prevailed by 1920 is that the cost to build them was 50% less and they were typically faster than electric vehicles, partly due to the added weight of the batteries in electric vehicles.