By John Jimison, Executive Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid September 4th marked a barely noticed anniversary of one of the most significant achievements in human history: the birth of the modern electric grid. In 1882, Thomas Edison started generating electricity at Pearl Street Station to power 400 “electric lamps” for 82 Manhattan
The Rocky Mountain Clean Energy Transmission Summit is behind us and what an event it was! Headlined by an impressive host of public and private sector leaders, journalists, and other energy and transmission experts, over 100 attendees participated in our Denver summit. Owing to a remarkable array of perspectives and experiences, conversations covered many issues,
More than two weeks have passed since Hurricane Sandy brought the Eastern Seaboard to a standstill. Although life is slowly returning to normal, Sandy joins a long series of painful reminders of how dependent 21st century America is on reliable electricity: it powers nearly every facet of our lives. The potential silver lining in the wake of Sandy’s devastation is the influx of interest in our outdated and inadequate transmission grid, highlighting long ignored issues from the benefits of buried transmission lines to the importance of an integrated, redundant, resilient grid – built to withstand even Sandy’s fury.
The U.S. grid system was born in the 1920s, and has seen few major upgrades since the 1960s. With America’s growing population and exploding demand—bigger houses, A/C units, TVs, iThings—we have serious congestion and inadequate capacity on our nation’s power lines. This has led to more frequent power outages, which cost the American economy well over $100 billion each year. Investing in grid modernization would clearly save American consumers tremendous amounts of energy and money. So why aren’t we doing more of it?
Seth Kaplan, Vice President for Policy and Climate Advocacy at the Conservation Law Foundation, asserts that we need to create both a vast network of distributed solar on millions of rooftops as well as smart development of large solar in order to move towards a clean energy future.
Building transmission in this country has become an onerous and often overly contentious process that has kept the full scale deployment of clean energy at bay, and hurt consumers and businesses who deserve access to cheaper electricity and a more reliable grid.
FERC Order 1000 is likely the most progressive clean energy action the federal government will take this year. Order 1000 will fundamentally improve the way new transmission lines are planned and paid for, resulting in thousands of miles of new lines that will bring renewable energy to your house.