The Electric System and the Future of Energy
Presented by Maggie Koerth-Baker, Science Editor at BoingBoing.net and author of Before the Lights Go Out Light refreshments will be served and there will be time for networking and discussion. This event is free and open to the public, registration is not required.
Abstract: Electricity just happens. Flip a switch, and the lights turn on. The system is reliable enough and invisible enough that it's easy to spend your entire life not knowing how it works, even though you use it every day. But in an age of limited resources and environmental change, ignoring our electric infrastructure is a luxury we can no longer afford. The good news: Infrastructure is fascinating. Maggie Koerth-Baker explains how our flawed and surprisingly precarious electric system evolved, how it controls what we can and can't do to solve our energy crisis today, and what we can learn about the future of energy by studying its past. About the Speaker Maggie Koerth-Baker is a science journalist and the science editor at BoingBoing.net, one of the most widely read blogs in the United States. Her work has appeared in magazines like Discover, Popular Science, and New Scientist, and on websites like Scientific American, and National Geographic News. Her book, Before the Lights Go Out, chronicles the inner workings of the American electrical system, why it works the way it does, and how it will have to change to meet the energy needs of a new generation. Key Points The first electric grids: Focus will be on Appleton, Wisconsin, site of the second permanent electric grid and first hydroelectric power plant. Similarities between the development of electric industry & development of renewable industry today. Electricity wasn't as much of a "sure thing" as it seems in retrospect. Why the first grids came together in a kind of haphazard way and how this affects the grid we use today. Infrastructure evolved, it wasn't really designed. This affects how quickly, easily and cheaply we can convert our dirty electric system to something cleaner. In fact, it's why we can't just drop everything and go straight to wind and solar right now. Our modern grid: Why we have to have almost exactly the same amount of electric supply as we have demand The problem of storage and how that relates to renewable generation Why building bigger and bigger power plants is starting to make less sense The problem of NIMBY and how it affects all generation The grid of the future: What happens from here is shaped by what we have and where we came from How smart grids can help us get some of the benefits of storage for less money How local energy can help us get around NIMBY and take advantage of more renewables in more places How changes to distribution and transmission will turn our grids into public spaces that we care for and share together, like parks.
Sponsor: School of Global Environmental Sustainability Center for the New Energy Economy Colorado Clean Energy Cluster Rocky Mountain Innosphere.
Event Contact: Kerri McDemrid can be reached at (970) 492-4155
Sponsored by the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.
|Calendar Name:||All University Events Calendar|
|Start Time:||03:30 PM|
|End Time:||06:00 PM|
|Event Begins On:||Tuesday, April 10, 2012|
|Event Ends On:||Tuesday, April 10, 2012|
|Submitter's Name:||Kerri McDemrid|