Updating America's outdated power grid

We've all heard talk of how desperately the nation's power grid need updating. Although we have the technology to generate much of the US's power from wind and solar energy, we don't have the infrastructure to store or transmit it.

Eric D. Isaacs, director of the Argonne National Laboratory, calls this "an enormous problem - and one that can undermine our country's progress toward energy security, carbon reduction and job creation."

In his blog on the Huffington Post, Isaacs explains how the nation's huge energy potential is useless if we can't save the electricity for times the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, and if we can't transmit it from rural areas for cities to use. 

Updating the grid would certainly require a lot of funding, especially for our already financially strapped country, but Isaacs says the investment could yield enormous returns for generations to come. 

He cites a report by the American Physical Society, which made some fundamental recommendations to the Panel on Public Affairs: 

 

-The United States must develop an overall strategy for energy storage at every level -- from car batteries to the national grid.

-We must create new, more powerful technology for long-distance transmission of renewable electricity, to balance rural supply and urban demand, and to integrate wind- and solar-generated electricity into the grid.

-The APS also recommends a thorough review of the technological potential for a range of battery chemistries and a significant increase in R&D in basic electrochemistry. 

He ends by comparing the updating of the national grid to Eisenhower's investment in the Interstate Highway System, and the extrodinary divadends it's yielded for the country and economy. 

Is this an accurate comparison? Do you think updating the national grid is a smart investment in this financial crisis? Do you think it could, or should wait? 

Let me know what you think!






 

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