Reid wants ‘green’ transmission included in stimulus bill

E&E News PM (subs. req’d) has a taste of what it will be like when progressives run things:

“Green” power transmission to move renewable energy to population centers will be part of the economic stimulus bill Democrats move early next year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today.

Finally, we can start to think strategically about how the government can enable the future, rather than disable the future, as we’ve seen for the past eight years. The government was critical to enabling most of the key infrastructure efforts in this country — the railway system, the electric grid, the interstate highway system, and the Internet.

The next big thing is a smart, green power grid that enables rapid growth of efficiency and demand management, wind power, solar baseload, and plug in hybrids (see “An introduction to the core climate solutions“). That grid is arguably the biggest bottleneck to the green transition.

Capitol Hill Democrats hope to have a large economic stimulus package ready for President-elect Barack Obama to sign when he takes office in January. The package, which is projected to reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars, is expected to include investments in various infrastructure projects and energy programs.

Reid said the major energy bill approved in 2007 represented “baby steps” toward expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency, and promised robust efforts in the upcoming Congress, in which Democrats will have a greater majority and will have Obama in the White House.

“We must … find new and efficient ways to get it [renewable power] from the source to the market,” Reid said at an energy forum hosted by Google and the Third Way think tank.

“We have a great opportunity to abandon the baby steps of the past,” Reid said. “We have to have some giant leaps forward.” He cited areas including solar and geothermal energy, plug-in hybrid cars, efficiency and putting a price on carbon. Reid also said that energy efforts should be bipartisan.

Reid admitted he is concerned that the steep drop in energy prices will sap efforts to develop alternatives to oil imports. He said he does not want to see a repeat of what happened after the oil shocks of the 1970s eased.

“Are we once again going to forget what we are going to face?” he said, predicting that oil prices would again rise. Oil is currently trading at roughly $47 per barrel, less than a third of the $147 per barrel peak reached in July.

PEBO has already made clear that he does not intend to let the drop in energy prices stall his efforts to push the green transition:

Our pattern has been that we go from shock to trance. And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It’s part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it.

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5 Responses to Reid wants ‘green’ transmission included in stimulus bill

  1. Paul K says:

    Solar Energy Forum
    Wednesday December 3
    Beverly Arts Center of Chicago
    2407 W.111th st.
    (773) 445-3838
    7 – 9 p.m.
    Topic: Meeting our energy needs
    Host: Paul Kelly
    Forums are also scheduled Dec. 10 & 17 and Jan. 7, 14 & 21. Everyone in the Chicago area should attend.

    The Beverly Arts Center is well suited for conversion to solar energy. It is an important community asset. The building is all electric, including heat. It has a large, unobstructed flat roof. The local utility has automatic buy back, a key to success.

    Unable to attend? Join in a replacing fossil fuel association. Buy a watt today. Send $10 to Beverly Arts Center 2407 W 111th St Chicago, IL 60643. Write solar on the check or envelope. You are now part of the solution.

    Let’s Replace Fossil Now

  2. Mark Shapiro says:

    A US Senate Majority Leader who understands the need for a modern electrical grid (presumably HVDC) and distribution system?

    The sun is starting to shine.

  3. hapa says:

    “Green” power transmission to move renewable energy to population centers will be part of the economic stimulus bill

    one wire “to move renewable energy to population centers” isn’t green.

    one big purchase of many single wires isn’t green.

    a distributing network of wires is green.

    so, will we get a mishmash that can’t then be brought together, in a wildcat rush to hand out money and to meet short-term 10% or 20% standards for a few ambitious cities?

    what’s our plan.

  4. red says:

    One thing to consider at the demo level is the “solar power relay” satellite to relay power using microwaves or lasers from a remote location on Earth to a location that needs the power. This would be analogous to the communications satellite as an augmentation of the land cable and wireless communications network.

    At current satellite launch prices, it’s probably only viable in high-value, niche applications where power is needed and difficult to arrange, like disaster relief, supplying power to military units in hostile or remote terrain, or supplying power to other infrastructure in space.

    At considerably lower, but reasonably achievable, launch prices (eg: Elon Musk reaching his goals), SPR might be able to make constributions on a scale similar to comsats.

    This should only be considered at the demo level right now, and should not distract from mainstream power grid efforts.

  5. patti k says:

    Here’s an idea for you: you can run huge pipes alongside the interstate highways that will carry water from flood areas (in a windmill/armature rotating inside the pipes which are catchbasins for rain) while generating electricity to large battery-type cells which can give some supply to the midwest grid & excess water can be carried into the southwest to stop the damage from all the summer fires…If you are going to rebuild the infrastructure, this would lower the costs to victims & government in flood as well as wild fire areas plus it can distribute water for farmers if you want to avoid drought, grow crops & for ranchers…The money it will save after the initial investment will astound people…it will also allievate some of our dependence on oil & gas…Please get this done as mother nature is willing to help us…Also, you may want to redesign windmills to include a horizontal rotating blade which can invigorate the vertical rotations…You may want to make the blades shorter & wider & have 2 vertical divided by 1 horizontal…I don’t know if this is possible, but my brain thinks it will generate more electricity…put them in a cage-type housing & run the wires to some generating plant? with the capacitance to hold power to be distributed…thanks for listening…I really hope you implement my suggestions