In her new book, The Grid, Gretchen Bakke argues that the underfunded power grid is not capable of taking the United States into a new energy future. According to Bakke, the United States does not run on gas, oil, coal or wind or solar power. Rather, it runs on the electricity those energy sources create, and that electricity is being delivered to homes and industry via an electrical grid that is increasingly unstable, underfunded and unreliable.
Consider that from the 1950s to the 1980s significant power outages averaged fewer than five per year. In 2007, there were 76 power outages, and in 2011 more than 300. Perhaps even more disconcerting is that even as renewable power sources have grown substantially in recent years and promise to be ushering in a clean-energy era, the aging electrical grid is not capable of integrating them, meaning a lot of power is wasted.
One out of every eight homes in Hawaii is equipped with solar panels, producing more elect