"If the goals of the 'Green New Deal' are a political minefield, so, too, are the most likely strategies for reaching its target of very high national levels of renewable energy output.
A shelf of authoritative studies under the Department of Energy's sponsorship dating back to George W. Bush's presidency define how to take a big step in that direction. Their answer — build a network of long-distance, ultra-high-voltage transmission lines to widely share wind and solar power across the continent's time zones.
But the strategy has faced overpowering headwinds of not-in-my-backyard opposition from residents and not-through-my-state political pushback. It's also been rare for Congress to put aside partisan politics and pass major legislation facilitating transmission corridors.
'If you're going to do a 100 percent clean energy portfolio — that is really 70 to 80 percent of electric power from renewables — I don't know how you avoid huge transmission builds,' said Richard Sedano, president of the Regulatory Assistance Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank advocating a clean energy future. 'It's either that or overbuilding the system so much with surplus renewables and batteries' that consumers will be hammered."