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Articles by Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a senior policy advisor for Third Way's Clean Energy Program. He focuses on developing practical policies to be incorporated into a clean energy standard. Before joining Third Way, Fitzpatrick served as legislative assistant for Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) where he managed issues relating to energy, natural resources, transportation, immigration, and environmental policy. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Featured Article

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo by Shutterstock.

The unexpected storms that knocked out power to millions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic last month highlighted how fragile America’s electric grid is. But while front-page photos of fallen trees and utility repair trucks capture people’s attention, there’s a much more grave and fundamental threat to our electric grid.

The U.S. grid system was born in the 1920s, and has seen few major upgrades since the 1960s. With America’s growing population and exploding demand — bigger houses, A/C units, TVs, iThings — we have serious congestion and inadequate capacity on our nation’s power lines. This has led to more frequent power outages, which cost the American economy well over $100 billion each year [PDF]. The inefficiency of our old-fashioned grid also leads to enormous waste through “line loss.” In 2010, 6.6 percent [PDF] of the electricity generated in the U.S. simply disappeared before it could reach consumers. That’s $25.7 billion worth of electrons, lost into thin air.

Investing in grid modernization would clearly save American consumers tremendous amounts of energy and ... Read more