Interestingly enough; I have found that many early 20th century buildings in lower Manhattan, which were some of the earliest to be wired for electricity - used DC power. At that time, the only equipment requiring electricity were the elevators and the lighting. (Computers and air-conditioners did not exist; and there were few appliances if any, to plug-in to a receptacle.) These buildings used DC power for many decades; with many still using the original DC elevator motors to this day.
AC won out; especially in the suburbs, because it was possible to use transformers to raise & lower the voltage and transmit the power cheaply over long distances.
The short answer is that you can "transmit" AC power over longer distances with smaller gauge wire. This means you don't have to have mini power plants ever 2-3 miles. -- I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
There are still lots of modern buildings that run on DC power today. We have a pretty decent DC plant in ours. It's rare to find a CO or Data Center that does not have a DC plant of some size. -- I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
Obvoiusly you never watch the History Channel or could even imagine Googling or Wiki.
AC won because of transmission posibility of hundreds of miles through transformers, vs fixed voltage DC that could only go a few miles.
Just google/wiki Tesla or Westinghouse.
The one time in his life Edison proved himself the rather bombastic arrogant IDIOT he could be, just because he had heavily (but not hugely and wouldn't be HIS) vested himself in DC and didn't want to trash it for a HUGE future, that mostly Westinghouse got, as Tesla had no business sense and died a pauper, again that EDISON could have probably as easily gotten is not so damn arrogant. --
Because it's easier to increase and decrease the voltage of AC circuits by using transformers, making long distance transmission more efficient.
DC high voltage transmission lines are actually more efficient. Back when the selection was made, dc/dc transformers were not available.
The problem is generating high voltage DC where as you can easily make 100v AC into 10,000v (albeit at lower current until down converted again).... DC no matter what is what it is generated at PERIOD (unless you do an AC conversion) and line loss for DC is much higher.
There is no such thing as a DC to DC transformer with out some AC between.... an unshifting magnetic field can not be transformed other than resistively (and only down or burst capacitively up)... that's how transformers work its the AC acting as a rotating coil in a fixed structure and inducing electricity again static unshifting DC can't.
Your wall wart USB DC supply is transformed 120V AC, (25:1) reduced to 5VAC and then rectified to DC.
Now in most electronics circuits AC is useless other than power supply, and its all DC... but long line transmission is the thing AC does so well, and DC fails at.
If NYC were still all DC as it was turn of last century they would be power stations every 10 blocks not like 3 for the whole city.... That is how big the line loss for DC is... if you don't start at somerthing ridiculously BIG.
And another thing EDISON by EGO tried to do is say how DANGEROUS AC was.... by electrocuting both a Elephant and inmate with AC..of course no DC comparison.... Fact IS DC LOCKS your muscles can't let go if strong enough... the vibration of AC for an equivalant vlotage actually gives you the chance to let go if you can... again another stupid PURE GO EDISON thing leading to his lose and really credibility ever after... pretty much just retire after that, before proved stupid again.
Again astounding EDISON could be so EGO blind to it, though he had to see the science...unfortunately he didn't come up with and would get little income from, though likely would have considering how business dumb Tesla was... or altruistic depending on how you look at it... just wanting to give it to the world ... still died a pauper... should have been rolling in money, as those that capitalized on it did. (Like Westinghouse and even Edison (GE) finally)
And I actually take back that no DC to DC transformer thing ... you can induce a stepped up charge but you can not sustain it beyond a discharge before it must rebuild (like a capacitor fed off a DC circuit to store a back up punch) Why over driven audio amps crap out... the capacitors can't for that occasional big punch recharge fast enough... also why 500 watt amps are generally BS... yes they have the capacitor to intermittently deliver that big boom... but you demand that full time they turn it to what it is maybe 100 watt distorted crap.
Heck with copper wire and masking tape dual coil from a 9v DC batt built those shockers in school... up to maybe brief 100V zap but again they were basically a capacitor though do alter the voltage... but only stored burst not continuous... zapped you but then done until recharged.... feed by AC would be continuous big zap output, and the equivalent of todays stun gun.
Probably invented by someone that played around with masking tape momentously charged coils when they were a kid like I did, but had reason to say what if we do this (obviously from DC batteries but inverted to AC... kick your butt long duration) could be a non lethal weapon, instead of momentary practical joke.... hell wish I'd thought of that.
But never put near the condition to think of it but maybe they were.... just apply AC to a science oriented child's electronic joy buzzer practical joke.
Likely all it was.... and hey doesn't even need to be pure sinewave UPS... just X cycle pole shifting.... never even studdied them maybe even 25cps is fine forget our household 60 cps.
And again for years DC ignition coils were status quo but they again as basically capacitors can on recharge so fast but RPM going up.... led to new electronic methods... though digital not analog... so again get us away from physicality.
My childhood hand made momentary shock toy it today's AC (even if DC inverted to get there) powered stun gun... direct DC would never do it.
Again difference EDISON would never admit DC is DEADLY though that is what he tried to make of AC... in much PR
Problem is again equal voltage FACT is you have MUCH better chance of letting go of AC vibrating vs DC from 1st second locking you muscles.
Again makes you wonder how the Genius of the age EDISON could be so ABSOLUTELY EGO STIPID about it?
And pretty much went into retirement after for being that stupid... again having won WESTINGHOUSE big leaad for a while until EDISON gave, gave up and retired.
Wonder what else he might have done after if not so much never admitted retired... I mean that is how much tossed out the door by Edison Tesla was but really just stopped.
OK some refinement to phonograph deveopment but film really went to Eastman...basically after Teslas Edison gave up... something could be said of age... but not charachter.... he knew he was beat and age or not just gracefully faded away on his millions.
(youtube clip) was fond of electrocuting animals to show that AC was dangerous.
I believe I said that and profoundly wrong.... DC would have killed much faster.....
If not chained the AC elephant could have just stepped away likely.
Again the most stupid point in EDISON's life (I am sure he regreted) and NOTHING really ever after.... he retired semi in disgrace but for all he had done before. But really NOTHING after,,, that was the shameful end, but resting on his laurels. --
OK 1 of two thing happened here without reference....
Most obviouys no reference to sourse.... draw what evever... but you don't see source?
One of the limitations of AC is that the transmission lines act like radio transmission lines as they get longer. a quarter-wavelength of line at 60Hz is 775 miles in free space, probably about 500 in the real world. That's why the entire US cannot be tied into one grid. For long transmission lines, the load has to be matched to the voltage and the characteristic impedance of the transmission lines.
Los Angeles gets much of its electrical power as DC via two circuits called Path 27 and Path 65, also known as the Pacific Intertie.
The northeast has railroads that operate on 25 Hz AC.
Yeah actually as I recall that's what the NY/NH&H RR was into NYC Grand Central were, with their unique modified F diesel locomotives that had a 3rd rail shoe they could deploy, shut down the diesel and go all electric no exhaust into GCT. (600V comes to mind too) --
Another difference among AC and DC occupies the value of energy it could carry. Each battery is intended to create only one voltage, and that voltage of DC cannot move extremely far until it starts to lose energy.
So I'm just curious. How do they convert 1000MW of DC power to AC for eventual use? That's got to be one big honkin' inverter.. And how do they do it with any sort of efficiency.
Efficiency is not hard when there are no restrictions on size and weight. Banks of thyristors driving an iron core transformer work quite well. By the way a single 800kV DC line typically carries 8000MW, whereas three phase 760kVac carries only 3000MW.