How do you know so much about electricity production?
I can see the future where most homeowners and small business are generating their own electricity through solar and battery storage as opposed to today's model. The current model is confusing as to the regulations and lack of options in who delivers the electricity to my house.
What is the incentive for the power companies to storm proof of upgrade the power grid. Many people would rather get off the grid.
The large nuclear or hydro plants are cost effective but create huge impact if they go offline. I don't know what that probability is. I don't think there's a best answer right now. Personally I'd burn the coal while we improve the decentralized green energy sources.
Overall I really like electricity but the current oligopoly of power companies is not good for consumers.
Powergen is a hobby of mine, particularly nuclear
To your point, back in the day before the big grids and giant utilities that's exactly what was done. We moved toward centrally managed large-scale generation because:
A) It was cheaper
B) Maintaining your own generation assets is a big job
C) Large consumers need large amounts of electricity
Actually going "off grid" and not doing the solar/battery/grid-tie setup that still leverages the grid is extremely expensive. I have a friend currently working on it and he's going to be $50K into solar + batteries + massive diesel genset and most of his appliances will be propane. He's obviously not doing it for the green, he just wants to be truly off-grid.
Solar won't power most businesses. It's main strength is depressing daytime peaking, it's not a good standalone generation source and if you are wanting to pair it with storage you need to over-build massively.
I think there's a certain allure to being "off grid" and I think that's what people get wrapped up in. Once you look into what's involved in actually doing so, your opinion may change.