Why the Grid Isn’t Ready for a Transition to Renewable Energy

Wind turbines in Tehachapi, Calif., June 19, 2013.


Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS

Regarding “Power Warnings Grow Across U.S.” (U.S. News, May 9): Wind and solar resources are the de facto choices for new renewable generation. The best onshore wind resources are in the band of plains states running from central Texas to the Canadian border. The best solar resources are in a band that runs from Texas to California.

A look at a map reveals the problem. The grid of the future must transport large volumes of renewable energy from the middle of the country, where most of the best renewable generation sites are, to the coastal population centers. The transmission capacity of the U.S. electricity grid is wholly inadequate for that purpose.

Grid transmission capacity will be a gating factor that determines how much new renewable generation and new battery storage gets added to the grid and when. Failure to promptly solve the grid’s long-distance transmission problems will put the timetable for the energy transition at risk.

Randall D. Holmes

President, Meadowbrook Energy

Mount Kisco, N.Y.

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