While smoothing is indeed a real problem in an energy model based upon the wind and sun and hydro, it can be solved in large part by a larger and more integrated grid. The wind is always blowing somewhere and the sun is always out somewhere.
Also, your post assumes the continuation of large scale energy production is the only answer. Small scale solar and wind production facilities coupled with an in house battery could also serve to solve this problem, or at least attenuate it. In fact, if all cars were electric and had 100 KW batteries or so each, that could serve the energy storage needs of most of the planet. Computers could control how much of your cars storage is saved for driving and how much would be given up to the grid.
But I agree that the days when the US was at the forefront of this kind of innovation and progress are gone. Too bad because that means the jobs also will be elsewhere.