The US Power Grid Can’t Support Its Climate Pledges, by Haley Zaremba

Green energy proponents have no magic wand to wave to conjure up battery storage and a compatible power grid. From Haley Zaremba at oilprice.com:

  • America’s ailing power grid can’t support the country’s climate pledges.
  • While Texas and California are producing enough renewable energy to share with other regions, surplus clean power is doomed to languish on the grid because of the dated infrastructure. 
  • The U.S. desperately needs to invest into creating “smart grids” that are capable of measuring and regulating a constant in- and outflow of energy.

The neglected domestic power grid is standing between the United States and its climate pledges. In many parts of the country, most notably Texas, California, and the Southwest, renewable energy plants are producing enough clean, emissions-free energy to share with other regions – but there’s no way to get it there. Instead, surplus clean energy is doomed to languish on the grid where it was produced instead of being sold to where there is demand. This phenomenon has led to the peculiar outcome of negative energy prices in parts of the country in the midst of a global energy crisis. 

It’s been over a year since Oilprice published an article titled “The U.S. Desperately Needs To Modernize Its Power Grid,” and while President Joe Biden’s administration has thrown considerable money and publicity toward the issue, the need is no less desperate today. More than $400 billion have been allocated for clean energy infrastructure and climate initiatives broadly through last year’s infrastructure bill and this month’s Inflation Reduction Act, but a the U.S. needs to spend $360 billion through 2030 and $2.4 trillion by 2050 on energy transmission systems alone in order to keep up with projected renewable energy expansion, according to a Princeton study from December of 2020.

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