First, why all of a sudden posts on electric grid? Just because of recent Texas crisis? No … the electric grid is a complex problem and will be a gating factor for two critical strategic vectors: electric vehicles and renewable, distributed electric generation (rooftops mostly). Neither of those strategic vectors can realize either the social, environmental or financial returns expected without a modern electrical grid. Hence, modernizing the grid is one of the most important infrastructure projects required (needed) in the upcoming months – the second most important will be water infrastructure (securing, storing, cleaning and monitoring).
While the Texas news was alarming for several reasons – the key one, however, is the absence of the political will power required to invest in future benefits. For some reason, Americans refuse to invest in elements that do not return benefits within a TV commercial duration. We have long had grid problems and it’s only getting worse.
Politico put out an article today comparing the issues in Texas and California – both have had grid issues and yet they both have different politics and approaches to the problem. The article is worth the read, but here is the key point.
Quote: “”The problem is not that transmission providers are looking for handouts,” said Larry Gasteiger, executive director of WIRES, a transmission builders association. “If the transmission [needs are] identified and put into a transmission plan, we’ll build it. Two real areas that are stumbling blocks for getting more transmission infrastructure built: One is permitting and siting, the other is cost allocation. Who pays for it.””