The debate around the Keystone XL pipeline has drawn new attention to the nation’s energy delivery system and the challenges and choices that policymakers and other stakeholders encounter every day.

A recent New York Times story “Drawing the Line at Power Lines” discussed the political and logistical challenges to transporting both traditional fossil fuels and renewable energy from remote regions to population centers across the U.S. 

The article explains:

Indeed, some of the most pitched energy battles being fought today involve not oil pipelines but ”next generation” energy transport: the expansion of pipe networks for natural gas and the high-voltage transmission lines that connect large-scale wind and solar farms to population centers. And these systems are expanding rapidly as the United States shifts away from traditional fossil fuels.

For the country to benefit from our wealth of renewable energy, we must expand our transmission capacity. However, expansion is contingent on a more strategic approach to planning and cost allocation – two key challenges that were addressed in FERC Order 1000.

Despite concerns, transmission lines do provide the best opportunity to utilize renewable energy, decrease the demand for foreign sources of energy and the need for controversial pipeline projects that carry fuel sources of the past.

As Michael A. Levi, of the Council on Foreign Relations said in the article:

“I live on Second Avenue, where they’re building a new subway, and it’s been really noisy for a long time now. But at some point we have to function as a society rather than as individuals, in order to get the things we need built.”

To read the full New York Times story, please click here.

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