SLATE | By Daniel Gross | Link to article
America’s cities import lots of things: food, building materials, electricity. That’s something of a problem. The best way to ensure the electricity is always there to run New York City’s elevators and power its hospitals is to generate the electricity as closely as possible to where it is actually used. Importing electricity to New York produced by coal-burning plants in Pennsylvania is wasteful and inefficient—about 6 percent of electricity gets lost in transmission and distribution. It also undermines reliability: The longer electrons have to travel, the greater the potential for a falling tree or failing piece of equipment to knock out power.