This proposal seeks to revamp the energy infrastructure in the country in order to make alternative energy sources more accessible to different markets and to make such energy sources economically viable. The infrastructure in the energy sector is extremely important to the functioning of the overall economy because the energy sector enables other sectors to operate and grow. Approximately 48% of electricity is produced by combusting coal, 20% generated by nuclear power plants, and 22% by combusting natural gas, “the remaining generation is provided by hydroelectric plants (6 %), oil (1 %), and renewable sources (solar, wind, and geothermal) (3 %). The fact remains that our nation relies far too much on outdated distribution systems, has a bevy of general maintenance issues, and falls victim to the politicization of the energy sector that creates doubt and indecisiveness in the market. The United States needs to refocus on the critical infrastructure in the country, and construct a network of grids that allows for the most dynamic mix and flow of energy resources to be distributed throughout the country. The American energy system must be efficient, it must be (in part) homegrown, and it must include renewable sources of power that don’t actively accelerate the deterioration of the ozone layer.
Fully eighty percent of the country’s energy infrastructure is owned by the private sector, and there is a reliance on the energy sector to continually produce affordable power that can be used around the country. As is seen now, the U.S. is highly differentiated in terms of renewable energy support, and a wide range of energy products have been tested and implemented in the parts of the country that are deemed most hospitable to their growth (ex; solar energy in the southwest, wind farms off the coast of the eastern seaboard, etc.). The existence of so many fledgling types of energy is a good sign, and should provide reassurance that Americans are investing and attempting to achieve new efficiencies in the energy sector, however it has increased difficulties related to regulation and proper administrative oversight. Incentives to invest in renewable energy production have spurred the use of solar panels for small-medium size companies and homes, and allowed those investors to take a long-term position to finance the installation. As the technology innovations continue to have enormous impacts on the production of renewable energy sources, the country’s infrastructure must remain versatile and open-ended in regards to what will ‘fuel’ it in the future.
Obstacles to the infrastructure reform include capital costs, regulatory measures, and permit/siting issues for the planned 17,000mi of additional high-voltage lines that are to be installed within the next five years. The energy sector has long been worried about security, and lately, cyber security has been a major concern for energy producers. Regulating processes and systems is a hard enough job for the private energy companies themselves, without mention of the state and federal government roles in safeguarding American assets and ensuring their proper functioning in the market for its citizens – this issue is complex and far-reaching. Furthermore, the American energy infrastructure is still highly vulnerable to climate change. And a (July 2013) DOE report warned, “that increasing temperatures will stress the U.S. water system and enhance the likelihood of drought. That because conventional power plants require huge volumes of water to operate, lower water availability will mean less reliable power. And that the changing climate will prompt more extreme and frequent storms, increasing energy demand due to extreme temperature changes and threatening our aging and already stressed electric grid with potential blackouts.” The costs of maintaining such infrastructure are high, and unless there is money to be made (or a safety concern), the private sector is