Photo via Messenger and Advocate
One of the biggest hurdles to making alternative energy more widely palatable is establishing how to effectively transmit power from various renewable sources to the grid. After all, we can research and develop the most advanced alternative energy technology in the world, but without a good transmission system, there would be few outlets for it—and fewer market incentives for companies to get into the renewable energy game. Which is precisely why Sen. Harry Reid introduced an intriguing new transmission bill to Congress yesterday. It's boldly named (as legislation often is) the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act, and its purpose is to provide current and future renewable energy sources with a reliable green transmission grid. The bill would do a number of things if passed into law:
1) It would have President Obama designate renewable energy zones, or areas capable of generating more than a gigawatt of alternative energy. Most of these areas would be on federal or rural land.
2) It would (straight from the bill): "enhance transmission access for electricity from renewable energy in renewable energy zones, while recognizing national economic, reliability, and security goals.
3) Since "the U.S. electric transmission network is divided into three interconnections, the West, the East, and Texas," the bill would aim to integrate alternative energy into the interconnections: "this bill requires participatory and transparent transmission planning on an interconnection-wide basis for green transmission projects to integrate renewable electricity resources from renewable energy zones into the transmission grid."
4) It would attempt to expedite the process by which the transmission lines could be installed: as of now, each state has its own regulations for dealing with such lines. The bill would bring in federal government to smooth out the process.
Essentially, the bill's aim is to put develop a transmission grid that would link pre-existing infrastructure with renewable energy zones—and it would allow alternative energy to reach a wider market. The bill could go a long way in encouraging the development of both renewable energy markets and further technology to meet the market's demands.
Okay, so that's a basic, basic overview—you can read the bill for yourself on Harry Reid's website to get the details.
More on Alternative Energy:
How Obama's Plan to Double Alternative Energy Will Work
$31 Billion In Alternative Energy Tax Credits Approved by Senate
Landfill Gas to Energy : A Growing Alternative Energy Resource