Wind Energy Needs Superhighway

John Davis

Right now, the U.S. gets just one percent of its energy needs from wind power, but experts say that could be increased 20-fold in a short time.

This story from the New York Times says the current electrical grid was thought up 100 years ago… designed to be kind of a system of “streets, avenues and country roads:”

“We need an interstate transmission superhighway system,” said Suedeen G. Kelly, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

While the United States today gets barely 1 percent of its electricity from wind turbines, many experts are starting to think that figure could hit 20 percent.

Achieving that would require moving large amounts of power over long distances, from the windy, lightly populated plains in the middle of the country to the coasts where many people live. Builders are also contemplating immense solar-power stations in the nation’s deserts that would pose the same transmission problems.

The article goes on to say that politicians in the nation’s capital have known about the grid’s limitations but don’t want to trample on states’ rights over the grid… although a 2005 energy law does allow the federal Energy Department to step in if states don’t act. But when the feds tried to do that, 14 U.S. senators signed a letter saying the department was being too aggressive.

I guess it’s back in Congress’ court as to whether this country moves forward with a clean energy source… and the infrastructure to support it.