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Why Sustainable Power Means More than Sunlight and Wind Why Sustainable Power Means More than Sunlight and Wind
Environment

Why Sustainable Power Means More than Sunlight and Wind

by Reno Ong

June 6, 2010

To most, clean energy conjures up images of green prairies with towering windmills, or wide expanses of solar panels as far as the eye can see. Often, we're tempted to say, "Okay, why not build more? Problem solved." But the reality of the matter isn't so simple.

In a recent Grist post, Guy Warner, founder and CEO of Pareto Energy, cited America's outdated power grid as one of the factors holding back progress on sustainable energy:

And, while the development of renewable energy technology has sped up rapidly in recent years, the technology to deliver this energy to the places where it is most needed is decades behind. America's current electricity transmission and distribution grid was built more than a century ago. Relying on the grid to relay power from wind farms in the Midwest to cities on the east and west coast is simply not feasible. Our dated infrastructure cannot handle the existing load—power outages and disruptions currently cost the nation an estimated $164 billion each year.

The mindset here is clear enough. Clean energy isn't just about installing a few structures and expecting grand results. It's about rethinking the way our energy system operates, and how we can make things work for the future.

Photo (cc) flickr user dahlstroms

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