Different U.S. Power Grid Transmission Could End Blackouts And Save The Planet : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money So many players in the U.S. electrical game, but maybe less is more? A look into energy grids, how monopolies could topple, blackouts stop, and the climate impact of it all. On today's show, who controls the power?

The Electric Grid-Lock

The Electric Grid-Lock

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JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images
(Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP via Getty Images )
JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images

With recent news of power outages due to extreme weather patterns, the health and security of the electricity network is increasingly important. The Biden Administration has budgeted billions of dollars to modernize the electric grid.

Journalist Robinson Meyer argues that the three interregional electric grids need to unify into a national grid. It is a technological challenge. Currently electricity cannot transmit long distances, but a significant amount of low carbon electricity generation will come from states with low population density. The three interconnected grids must be together and have plenty of storage systems to remain flexible and reliable.

The challenge is also political. Utility companies, state agencies, and politicians do not always want to push for such bold changes. Utilities are usually natural monopolies, so a national grid will increase competition. The local regulators demand control and politicians are not always willing to gamble their careers for proposals that will only pay off in the long run.

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