Magazine October 28, 2019, Issue

The Electric Grid in the Digital Age

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Wind and solar will not be able to power it

At the dawn of the 21st century, the National Academy of Sciences published a retrospective on the previous century’s most important inventions. The top three on the list were, in this order: the electric grid, the automobile, and the airplane.

In the book’s afterword, the late Arthur C. Clarke, last century’s most sagacious technology seer, wrote about how easy it is for us to take historical accomplishments “so completely for granted.” He noted in particular that the “harnessing and taming of electricity, first for communications and then for power, is the event that divides our age from all those that have

Mark P. Mills — Mr. Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is the author of Digital Cathedrals: The Information Infrastructure Era.

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