Our 21st-century nation is operating on an early-20th-century power grid.
Power outages are becoming more common — and not just because of natural disasters. Transmission lines are not equipped to handle the expected influx of wind and solar energy. And consumers have no idea how, exactly, they are spending their electricity dollars — or how to save them. That’s why the White House on Monday announced policies designed to speed development of a next-generation electrical network. Such a “smart grid” seeks to reduce consumption, efficiently deliver power from renewable sources, and reduce the frequency and length of blackouts, White House science adviser John Holdren said Monday at an event to roll out the initiative.
“The task is big but doable,” Holdren said. “The Obama administration, with utility companies, is in fact making it happen.”
The U.S. system is now so creaky that 19th-century electricity pioneer Thomas Edison “would feel really at home with most of today’s power . . . system,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “We do need a modernized electrical grid.”