FIX THE GRID
Why is it that when we need energy the most, we're asked by suppliers to cut down on our consumption? In the summer, when temperatures can rise to triple digits, the electrical grid struggles to stay lit. Both individuals and businesses are requested by energy providers to reduce the demand on the grid by conserving their use of lights, appliances, and air conditioning units.
I poked around the Internet for answers. First off, our nations electrical grid is in the same condition as it was in the 1950's when our population was smaller and our demand on the energy grid was much less. Some transmission lines in today's big cities are one hundred years old or more.
Secondly, government regulations and private ownership of energy sources are a tangled mess of state and federal infighting. Comparing the condition of our electrical grid to the Interstate Highway system, a cross country trip would mean driving from New York to Los Angeles on dirt roads.
One of the solutions to this problem is investing in more transmission lines and boosting existing wires to handle more power. Another is the introduction of high temperature superconductors. Like dropping a 1,000 horsepower engine in a '58 Ford. In other words, we upgrade what's in place and boost the capacity of the grid to handle it.
All this costs money. 56 billion is one estimate. Hell, we spent more than that tearing Iraq apart. Certainly we could invest a tenth of what we spent chasing Saddam Hussein around to fix the nations electrical grid.
Who'll pay for it? Most of the money will come from the Feds, private companies will toss in a few million, states will supply the workforce, and consumers will see higher charges for delivering energy to their homes and businesses.
The grid has to be fixed. If companies such as National Grid and others balk at the cost, the federal government will step in and take over. Energy markets will fold, trading will stop, and investors would lose millions. Lobbyists for the energy companies will be running around in Congress, trying to stuff as many dollars into the pockets of Congressmen as they can.
Unless you're ready to freeze your ass off in winter and sweat half to death in the summer, the upgrade has to happen. The private sector will have to work with the government, giving up some of its profits for the sake of a high speed electrical grid that will carry the juice without interruption to the anxious 21st century consumer. You'll pay more when the bill comes due but there is no alternative. If it's not fixed, we'll not only be out of luck but we'll be out of business as well.