I started to write this post fully intending to support the editors of the New York Times’s plea, spurred by the impetus of the disaster unfolding in Texas, that our national power grid is in serious, proximate need of expansion and rendering it capable of handling tomorrow’s challenges. Unfortunately, as I dug into the editorial I found it such a mess of throat-clearing, political posturing, and questionable claims I couldn’t do that.
Blaming George W. Bush’s stint as governor for Texas’s present problems? Was global warming really responsible for California’s wildfires? How about too many people living surrounded by poorly managed scrub? How do they explain California wildfires before electricity was in use and before human-induced global warming was conceivably a cause? And is it only the South that builds natural gas power generation with the structure used in Texas? Or are such plants in California, Arizona, and New Mexico built in a similar manner?
I will merely point out that we are likely to be increasingly dependent on abundant, reliable electricity rather than less. That is especially true if the Biden Administration’s visions of a U. S. less dependent on coal and oil is to be achieved. Private providers are unlikely to provide the necessary resiliency and redundancy. The economics just weighs against it.
When most think of “infrastructure” they mean our transportation grid but that is not the only infrastructure grid in the United States. There are also the telecommunications grid, the sewer systems, and the power grid. Increasingly, when we say “infrastructure” we should mean the power grid.