Greening the Biggest Machine on the Planet

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To address climate change we need to improve the US electric grid.

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Unless you've been living off the grid, you've probably heard about President Obama's "all of the above" plan for America's energy future, which embraces everything from oil drilling and natural gas fracking to wind, solar, and even pond scum. In the last couple years the Obama administration has pumped billions into cutting-edge clean energy tech. But these all share a common problem: plugging into an electric grid that is mostly unchanged since the 1930s. Energy experts say meeting our carbon-footprint reduction goals will remain a pipe dream until we can revamp electricity distribution. The solution? The "smart grid," a nickname for a sweeping series of updates on everything from power stations to the meter in your home, which promises to save power and money by being sensitive to your energy use.

In the second installment of Climate Desk's Future Energy series, see how America is modernizing the largest machine on the planet.



3043.jpgThis piece was produced by James West with assistance from Tim McDonnell, both of The Climate Desk.

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The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration between The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Slate, and others, dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. Learn more at theclimatedesk.org.

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