David, you would do well to look at the history of the utility industry, which has never had a "business as usual". It's been constantly evolving for over one hundred years, and what you see now is hardly outdated but a pinnacle of acheivement, modeled the world over.
Renewable energy will be completely dependent on a working, functioning grid - or it will be horrendously inefficient and polluting. Visit any one of the 170,000 or so Americans who is currently off the grid, and behind the house with the solar panels you'll either find a tank of propane, a diesel generator, or a wood pile.
Why use central generated power at home when it's cheaper to make your own with no transmission or distribution losses? Simple - it's more efficient, even with transmission losses. For all the times when you won't be able to rely on solar, you're going to be firing up a generator and creating far more carbon.
If the idea of being dependent on a utility gets under your skin, there's no one forcing you to be connected to the grid. As you say yourself, "stop whining and get with the program" - but don't kid yourself you're doing the environment any favors.