Why the U.S. Electric Grid Isn't Ready for the Energy Transition
The U.S. electric grid is composed of three separate grids - one in the West, one in the East, and one in Texas - that have limited interconnections and little power sharing. This fragmented grid, which was primarily built to accommodate coal and gas plants, poses a significant obstacle to efforts to combat climate change and transition to clean energy sources. To tap into the country's abundant wind and solar energy resources, thousands of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines are needed to transport the electricity from remote rural areas to urban centers. However, the planning and development of these transmission lines face numerous challenges, including complex permitting processes and opposition from local communities. The lack of a unified entity responsible for coordinating the grid exacerbates the problem. Without substantial improvements to the transmission infrastructure, achieving the Biden administration's goal of 100% clean electricity generation by 2035 and reducing emissions effectively may be hindered.