The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future
Interview with Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.October 9, 2017
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About Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.
Gretchen Bakke holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Cultural Anthropology. She has done research on several failing nations, including the Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, and Cuba. She is a former fellow in Wesleyan University’s Science in Society Program and currently an assistant professor of anthropology at McGill University. Born in Portland, Oregon, Bakke lives in Montreal and calls Washington, D.C. home when she’s in the United States.
In our modern world where most of us take electricity for granted, the constant availability of power that drives our lives is rarely noticed except when the supply breaks down. That constant flow of electricity determines where we live, what we eat, what we read and watch, and what we purchase. All that provided by the electric grid.
In an interview with Readara, cultural anthropologist and author Gretchen Bakke offers an exhaustive view of how the electric grid was created, built and expanded in the past century. After several decades of dueling standards from competing companies, the grid as we know it today, has been a steady source of power driven by stable electricity generation.
Today, with the emergence of renewable energy sources the consumer of power is increasingly becoming an electricity generator. On the downside, the new sources of power are highly variable and dynamic, causing additional chaos to an already outdated electric grid.
- How was the electric grid built in the early part of the last century?
- How has the electric grid evolved in the last three decades?
- What are the new rules of engagement for utility companies?
- How are renewable energy sources affecting the grid?
- How are consumers increasingly supplying power to the grid?
- Why are electric blackouts happening more frequently?