A view of a windmill farm recently built on the edge of Lake Nicaragua in Rivas, Nicaragua, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008. Energy Minister Emilio Rappaccioli said the $90 million project will be operating at full capacity by the end of January and contribute 6 percent of the country's total energy needs. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Wind and solar power are clean and renewable. But they are spread around the country. All that energy needs to be sent over long distances to people who can use it - or stored for another day. And it'll take updating the way we send and store electricity to make that happen.
Those updates may be coming soon. The federal stimulus package Congress passed in February includes funding and loan guarantees for a smart grid. That's a network that uses up-to-date technology to more efficiently transmit power. It's especially suited for remote wind and solar power generation.
In some cases, though, it's also possible to reduce the distances renewable energy has to travel. Wind and solar farms are being planned near population centers. For example, the upper Midwest could benefit from windfarms built offshore on the Great Lakes . These inland seas, with plenty of wind, smaller waves, and no corrosive saltwater, make them a good bet for generating power.