Why it’s difficult for the United States to update its electric grid


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In the US, blackouts are happening increasingly frequently.

According to the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, regulators only approved $478.7 million of the $12.86 billion in grid-modernization investment that was under consideration during the quarter.

Politicians frequently entice certain state and regional authorities to oppose electricity grid reforms.

People who are directly impacted by grid modernization efforts point out that there are good arguments against such disruptive programmes.

In the US, blackouts are happening increasingly frequently. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the aggregate length of power interruptions in the U.S. has increased by more than twofold since 2015. The typical American suffered just over eight hours of power outages in 2020.

According to Alison Silverstein, an independent consultant with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “this is not because the system has changed, but because there is so much greater hazard from extreme weather.” “And over the last decade, in particular, the number of extreme weather occurrences of all kinds has increased dramatically.

Despite the Biden administration’s attempts to make things better, recent events would seem to indicate that the federal government is unable to compel a grid modernisation.

According to the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, there were a total of 549 policy and deployment actions on grid modernization during the second quarter of 2022, however of the $12.86 billion in investment that was under consideration, regulators only approved $478.7 million.

According to Romany Webb, senior fellow at Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, “electricity systems are a subject of combined federal and state jurisdictions.” “One of the things that adds to the complexity of the type of updating the grid and laying out extra infrastructure is the fact that we have this split power between the federal government and the states.”

Furthermore, certain state and local authorities frequently have political motivations to oppose improvements to the electrical infrastructure.

State public utility commissioners are the state organisations in charge of policing electric utilities, according to Webb. These commissioners are elected in some states. Therefore, if we’re talking about making investments that will be very pricey and raise electricity prices, they might have a lot of customer backlash about that, which could hurt [the commissioners’] prospects of being reelected.

Those who are directly impacted by grid modernization initiatives claim that there are good arguments against such disruptive undertakings.

Though we are not against solar power, it has no place on agricultural property. According to Susan Ralston, president of Citizens for Responsible Solar, “It doesn’t belong on timberland, it doesn’t belong in an agriculturally designated region. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to do what’s good for our county, but these projects are highly detrimental to the soil. We’re working hard to persuade our elected authorities that protecting our country’s rural character is more vital than giving in to developers.


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