Earlier this week, National Wind CEO Leon Steinberg, challenged President Obama to take a stand by insisting that legislators pass an energy bill establishing a federal oversight committee to implement an interstate transmission highway. Steinberg likens the challenge as similar to President “Ike” Eisenhower’s initiative of creating a federal interstate system. The only difference is that while the nation’s interstate system is for cars, the transmission highway is for electricity.
The Midwest is prime real estate for wind energy, especially Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa enabling the states to produce more energy than the people need. However, today, it is nearly impossible to capture and transfer the excess energy from wind turbines for use in overpopulated areas like California. The next logical step is to design a way to do just this all while providing lower cost energy to consumers.
Just like the biofuels industry is struggling to increase the blend wall (if not the country can’t meet the 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022), the electrical industry cannot meet President Obama’s goal of 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 if the grid is not overhauled and upgraded.
Steinberg writes in an op-ed piece, “President Obama’s goal of securing 25 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025 is restricted by state regulators who act only in the interests of their state and disregard the potential benefits of new, high capacity, interstate transmission line.” If the country is serious about energy security, he continues, then the President should emulate Eisenhower’s approach and, “demand action by Congress to bring our energy infrastructure into the 21st century.”
As many have said and will continue to say, including Steinberg, our government needs to get out of its own way in order to usher in new environmental and economic security for generations now and to come.