New National Electric Grid grid, communications tower

Argument for a National Electrical Smart Grid

No MicroGrid, But A Smart National Grid

We need a smart national electric grid, not the smaller independent microgrids operated by utility companies. We did that with the Internet and we now have 2-3 Internet companies providing all your Internet. Those who have no Internet are at the mercy of those Internet companies to provide their Internet. This failed for broadband Internet and our national electric grid will fail if we don’t build smart national electric grid. Plus, it only creates limited jobs. We don’t need homeowners banding together to create community electrical grids. This just leads to geographic fiefdoms. We need to do more residential and commercial energy audits. We need a national electric grid capable of much more, of being smart. The current national electric grid comprised of several interconnect grids, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in Texas being one of them.   And we all saw what happened in Texas when you don’t take care of your grid and let private industry self-regulate. 

I am going to discuss three aspects of what needs to be done. First, we urgently need a smart national electric grid. It is an important national security asset and we need to ensure it remains robust and well taken care of it. Second, addressing climate change requires clean electric energy production. Third, we need to create jobs as a robust economy helps drive.

The Current Electric Grid Is No Smart National Electric Grid

Our current national electric grid is not at all smart and can be devastatingly affected by Mother Nature or nefarious actors. It is subject to too much downtime and relies too much on fossil fuels to produce power. It is subject to Mother Nature’s increasingly angrier wrath.  We need more a robust smart national electric grid powered by solar and wind. Capable of delivering tens of gigawatts on-demand to any point in the U.S. Combined, the deserts of California, Nevada, and Arizona can support building wind and solar farms.

These farms are capable of producing enough electricity to power the entire United States 10 times over. Harnessing that potential production is the issue. This means we need to store the power produced by solar and wind in batteries not there yet. As of today, insufficient capacity hampers our ability to store the power produced. As we produce all this power we need a way to store it. Batteries are how we’ll do this. We need large batteries and we do not have that yet. This technology is quickly becoming a reality.  A smart national electric grid will allow us to quickly deliver electricity to any utility companies anywhere in the U.S. on demand 24-7.

A Smart National Electric Grid Helps with Climate Change

 As the Department of Energy will own the smart national electric grid, to create jobs, private industry would manage it. The return on investment for solar and wind farms is about 5 years. We only need to pay for ongoing maintenance after this ROI is met. Maintenance and delivery fees are all the local utility companies are paying for. The savings can be passed on to the consumer, less the cost of the electricity itself. 

The infrastructure that generates the electricity itself is now free. Utility bills should go way down. Utility companies would lose revenue and yet save on maintenance costs. The utility companies will need to figure out something else to do. A good move would be to leverage their existing distribution grid. They could deliver broadband over their power lines to underserved rural areas. They can already monitor your usage with the smart meter. Now they will be able to extend Internet services into the house and to offer smart home services. Managed locally with a firewall by the homeowner. The homeowner will decide what they want to allow the local utility company to have access to.

Using Less Energy With An ASHRAE Energy Audit

As we improve the national grid, we must begin to reduce the energy we use in our buildings. We have no mandate for a national standard for energy codes. We need one. Today we have created a hodgepodge of solutions that just adds to the problem. This means ASHRAE energy audits for home, multifamily, and office. We will need to use the ASHRAE standards for conducting the residential and commercial energy audits and require each of our buildings to be more energy efficient. You can’t fix what you do not know is broken. A determination of what needs to be upgraded is needed. Commercial energy audits are energy audits for businesses and high-rise apartments and hotels. Residential audits are primarily for primary residences. It could become a Zero Net Energy (ZNE) home or office.

All ZNE simply means is everything you have in the house that uses energy is powered by electricity. Most appliances are efficient today that meet or exceed gas appliances. This effort would create many jobs that we’d be begging immigrants to come here to help us. There simply just aren’t enough bodies available to do this work. Here is more information on how to become energy efficient. simply.

Possibility or Pipe Dream

Pipe dream? Not really. We were able to be the first country to send a man to the moon. Eisenhower led our efforts to build out a national highway system as part of our national security. To be smart about how we use the electricity we generate. we need a smart national electric grid. All our older existing residential and commercial buildings account for 70% of all electrical use. We need to reduce the amount of energy our buildings use. Biden’s infrastructure plan is a good start.

We All Benefit

This is a win-win-win.  This is a win for the poor and middle class. A win for corporate America and yes they benefit greatly from a robust economy. A win for our national, state, and local governments. They too benefit from a robust economy.

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