CHAPTER 1

Historical and Conventional Power Production

I couldn’t have electricity in the house, I wouldn’t sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about.

—Dowager Countess Violet Grantham, Downton Abbey

It may seem hard to believe, but electricity is a new development. Only 100 years ago it was a terrifying idea to have the “power of lightning” in your home. We could compare this to the early 2000s when sharing personal information online became commonplace through platforms like Facebook, or today how it has become acceptable to get into a stranger’s car for a ride. Only 20 years ago both of these concepts would have been frightening propositions. Yet today, information and car sharing, like electricity, are accepted as normal parts of life. ...

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