The way we move electricity around in the United States isn’t designed to meet modern energy needs. Since the beginning of the electric grid, power companies have placed most power plants close to cities. Railroads and pipelines were used to ship fossil fuels from wherever they were extracted to the power plants where they would be burned to make electricity.
That model doesn’t work with solar and wind because many of the best places to generate lots of electricity are far away from urban centers. To maximize clean energy’s potential, we’re going to need much longer lines to move that power from where it’s made to where it’s needed.
Even if we were not working toward a clean energy future, though, we would still need to update our grid because our grid infrastructure is just plain old. Most of our current transmission and distribution lines were built between the 1950s and 1970s, and they only have a 50-year life expectancy. Beyond being old and outdated, t