How many more transmission lines do we need to get renewable energy to everyone?



  1. 0 Votes

    I don’t think it’s an issue of transmission lines; it’s an issue of power generation. Right now the US power grid, which is the system of distribution and transmission of electrical power, is fairly well-developed. Power can get to most people who need it, and excepting unusual events like the northeast blackout of summer 2003 or the infamous New York City blackouts of 1965 and 1977, for the most part it works pretty well. It’s just that most of the energy coming onto the grid is generated from non-renewable sources. In order to get more renewable energy on the grid, we need more sources of renewable power such as solar plants and wind farms. Some power companies are starting to increase their share of renewable energy; Portland, Oregon’s PGE, for instance, generates a significant slice of its power from wind turbines along the Columbia Gorge, and then there is the large wind farm near Altamont, California. Changing over to new generation sources is an expensive proposition, however. Basically a power company must make a large up-front investment to build some sort of renewable power source and then replace a non-renewable source with it once it comes on line. Given the economics of the power industry that’s a big commitment to ask, especially since renewable sources right now are usually more expensive than fossil fuels. That balance may tip, however, as emphasis on renewable energy increases, and customers’ demand for it goes up as well.

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