June 21st, 2012
When will it be possible for the US to be powered mainly by clean, renewable energy?
This simple question, which could tell us so much about our national economic and health prospects, has been treated by many vested interests as nearly unanswerable. The fossil fuel and power industries, our federal and state governments have stressed, at various times and places, that it is ever-so hard to predict when the US could achieve a fully realized clean energy future.
Their characterization of the clean energy landscape as amorphous and unknowable has a basis in reality. The energy revolution faces many obstacles. There’s the fact that the US has three electricity grids (East, West and Texas grids) that will need updating to accept renewables. Accomplish that and you still have to deal with multiple government bodies that must move slinky-like in the same direction. That would be the federal government, the 50 state governments, the dizzying array of local, county and utility boards and entities. Permitting new energy already can be a nightmare even when all parties are trying to facilitate it.