Imagine it’s the 1920s. Forty years earlier in 1882, Thomas Edison had just founded and formed the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York, and it initially lit a small part of Manhattan. The electricity takeover had been slow, and still only half of the American population had access to electrical power. Now your city wants to build a factory to produce kerosene. But you, and many other community members, see that electricity will dominate in the future, and you think the city should invest in an electrical power plant instead. But they build the factory anyway. A few years pass, and everyone in your community now has access to electricity in their homes. The kerosene plant has gone out of business even though the community is still paying for it; jobs have been lost, and the community’s economy has suffered.
This is an example of a stranded asset. And it’s what could happen in Grand Haven.