The push to develop alternative sources of energy continues to gain momentum and has created a sense of urgency among various federal, state and local governmental agencies and private power companies. The Detroit Free Press reported in an article in its Sunday, August 16, 2009 edition that one significant problem of increasing wind and solar energy is the overburdening of the nation’s electrical grid and increasing the threat of blackouts. The funding committed by President Obama to prepare high voltage lines for handling the additional load of alternative energy supply is less than 5% of the 130 billion that power users, producers and the US. Energy Department say is needed. The Free Press article quoted John Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as stating that “. . . as we add more wind power, the grid will get more stressed and there is going to be a point where the grid can’t handle anymore.” He further stated, “The first thing we need to do is build out transmission capacity.”
With that being said, a full refit of the U.S. grid would cost 13 billion dollars annually over ten years, compared with the 5 billion dollars per year averaged over the last decade according to Rich Lordan of the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry funded research organization located in Palo Alto, California.