August 30, 2008 | | Comments Off on AC/DC

Nikola Tesla

Improving energy efficiency in America is not just a matter of individual habit changes or policy shifts toward renewable sources. Our power grid is not currently equipped to handle the kind of energy innovations that could make us better, faster, stronger.

We’re still operating with a power grid conceived 100 years ago and based on power sharing in small regions. A member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently likened our power grid to interstate roads. What we have is a two laner with occasional stop lights. What we need is an LA-esque eight lane superhighway (without the congestion). Such a superhighway could efficiently deliver solar, wind, geothermal, and other types of renewable energy across the lower 48.


Energy policy makers may also have to revisit the War of Currents, an epic battle between AC and DC in which Nikola Tesla (Wizard of the West ) and Thomas Edison (Wizard of Menlo Park) determined the electrical fate of the country. We currently use AC power lines, which allow energy to dissipate over long distances. If we beefed up our transmission and added DC lines, the power grid could more easily send wind energy from the southwest all the way to the east coast. These efforts may take decades, but they will be worth it. It’s a long way to the top, so let’s rock and roll.


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