How to Get New Renewable Energy Projects on the National Grid

Rows of Power Lines in Michigan Photo

Image via: Flickr

This week a major meeting of the minds took place to discuss clean energy and more importantly, how to get more of it where its needed, reports the Los Angeles Times. With new, massive solar farms being located in the desert, and wind farms off many coasts, seems like a great idea to set aside huge swaths of "unusable" land for renewable energy projects. The only problem is how to get that power from the middle of nowhere to the center of where its needed most. Former President Bill Clinton, Senator Harry Reid, T Boone Pickens, former Vice-President Al Gore, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi were among the attendees of this high profile clean energy conference. A few of the major highlights: First, it was overwhelmingly agreed that the current grid is vastly unprepared for current and future needs and will need a major overhaul. Second, that the federal government will be able to overrule states in citing new power lines and will have to take a greater role in making sure new lines are pushed through and constructed. Senator Reid said he will soon introduce legislation addressing this very issue.

Transformer Fire Photo
Image via: Flickr.Current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, "he's ready to open federal land to renewable energy projects." Senator Jeff Bingaman, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he also plans to introduce legislation in the next couple of weeks to work on upgrading the current power grid. Part of this legislation would also include a requirement for utilities to generate at least 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

This sets up what could become a major fight, as states are willing to work with the federal government but won't stand for an out and out takeover. While the US is in need of new (more) energy and clean sources, both to meet emissions targets and because of sustainability issues, it will come down to how important these new renewable energy projects are and possibly overriding states interests in order to get the transmission lines up and running before the 2020 deadline.

:The Los Angeles Times
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