Before Green Energy, US Power Grid Needs Work

12/11/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • MATTHEW L. WALD New York Times

WASHINGTON -- Adding electricity from the wind and the sun could increase the frequency of blackouts and reduce the reliability of the nation's electrical grid, an industry report says.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation says in a report scheduled for release Monday that unless appropriate measures are taken to improve transmission of electricity, rules reducing carbon dioxide emissions by utilities could impair the reliability of the power grid. The corporation is the industry body authorized by the federal government to enforce reliability rules for the interlocking system of electrical power generation and transmission.

Such carbon-reduction rules are already in place in 27 states and four Canadian provinces, and new ones could be mandated nationally in both countries. They may force changes in the utility industry, the group said, including the shutting down of coal plants that are located near load centers, and substituting power from wind turbines or solar plants in remote areas.

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