Ike's granddaughter calls for modern
Feb 12, 2009 - George Hohmann - Charleston
|Susan Eisenhower is a well-known
consultant on energy. AP
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Susan Eisenhower,
a noted consultant on energy matters, said a modern
electricity grid would boost the nation's economy
in numerous ways, just as the Interstate highway system,
which was conceived by her grandfather - President
Dwight D. Eisenhower - changed the country.
"The Interstate highway system is the
pride of this country," Eisenhower said Tuesday at
a gathering of business leaders in Charleston. "It
is the talk of the world. I don't think any other
country has a system quite like this. The interstate
aspect is analogous to the system we'll need for electricity."
"This is one of those really exciting
modernization ideas that won't require federal dollars,"
said Eisenhower, a Republican who supported Barack
Obama's presidential campaign. "I know President Obama
supports a modernized grid. I want to make sure he
knows it is possible to finance this with private
sources. The efficiencies gained and the return on
investment can make this work."
"To modernize the system, some regulatory
changes will be needed that will be challenging for
sure, but no more so than the requirements that were
needed for the Interstate highway system."
She said that getting a modern electricity
grid built also will require leadership at every level
and the rresident "has got to set the tone."
Eisenhower quoted an IBM executive who
said that if Thomas Edison came back to life today,
he would recognize the nation's electric grid as the
one he left.
She said the national grid is a patchwork
of local grids. It is remarkable how difficult it
is to move excess power from Colorado to Utah or the
other way around, she said.
It is reminiscent of her grandfather's
trip across the United States in 1919, she said. "That
July they left downtown Washington, D.C. and, pushing
hard, they got to San Francisco two and a half months
"By 1956 he had commanded forces in
Europe and noticed the way the Germans could move
military material with ease. He signed into law the
National Highway Defense System Act that created the
46,000-mile network of Interstate highways. The decision
to create this national network created unprecedented
opportunities for economic development."
Eisenhower said the interstate highway
system added $6 of productivity to the nation's economy
for every $1 invested. Just like the highway system,
"an enhanced electric grid can add value that can't
even be anticipated today," she said.
The nation's electric grid is rightfully
called "the backbone of the economy," Eisenhower said.
She said her grandfather "was the first
president - maybe the last president - to create a
definition of national security that went beyond the
military. He defined national security as military
capability, economic health and our moral authority
in the world. You know we're OK on Number One. Number
Two and Number Three are more challenging."
Eisenhower said she believes the need
for a modernized grid can be fairly characterized
as an economic security issue.
Eisenhower, 57, is president of the
Eisenhower Group Inc. She spoke to about 100 business
leaders at the Marriott.
The West Virginia Roundtable, a nonprofit
organization of chief executive officers, hosted Eisenhower.
She said American Electric Power, the Dilenschneider
Group and the Eisenhower Group made her appearance
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com