The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy by Gretchen Bakke

By Gretchen Bakke

America’s electric grid, an engineering triumph of the 20th century, is popping out to be a bad healthy for the current. It’s not only that the grid has grown outdated and is now in dire want of easy fix. this present day, as we make investments nice wish in new strength sources--solar, wind, and different alternatives--the grid is what stands such a lot firmly within the approach of a brighter strength destiny. If we are hoping to achieve this destiny, we have to re-imagine the grid in response to twenty-first-century values. It’s a venture which forces visionaries to paintings with bureaucrats, legislators with storm-flattened groups, moneymen with hippies, and the left with the ideal. And although it could actually now not but be noticeable, this revolution is already good less than way.

Cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke unveils the various aspects of America's strength infrastructure, its so much dynamic moments and its so much solid ones, and its crucial position in own and nationwide lifestyles. The grid, she argues, is an primarily American artifact, one that built with us: a fabricated from daring growth, the occasional foolhardy imaginative and prescient, a few genius applied sciences, and relentless improvisation. such a lot of all, her concentration is on how americans are altering the grid right away, occasionally with gumption and massive desires and infrequently with laws or the brandishing of guns.

The Grid tells--entertainingly, perceptively--the tale of what has been referred to as “the biggest computing device within the world”: its attention-grabbing heritage, its not easy current, and its capability function in a brighter, purifier future.

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Here he would pause, to see if his audience understood what was about to happen, what all of this wind was about to do to all those turbines. ” A massive uncontrollable, unmanageable, unstorable, undumpable electricity surplus. Chaos on the lines. And what is worse: it’s May. In Oregon in May it’s still raining. It’s been raining since November, and it will continue to rain for another month or so before things begin to lighten up. In the Cascades, the mountain range that bifurcates the state, all that rain is snow, and in May all that snow is meltwater—pure, chill runoff.

A massive uncontrollable, unmanageable, unstorable, undumpable electricity surplus. Chaos on the lines. And what is worse: it’s May. In Oregon in May it’s still raining. It’s been raining since November, and it will continue to rain for another month or so before things begin to lighten up. In the Cascades, the mountain range that bifurcates the state, all that rain is snow, and in May all that snow is meltwater—pure, chill runoff.

These factories make an electric current by tearing electrons out of their atomic orbit and then give them no real choice but to power the whole system as they make their way, rather quickly all things considered, back into these orbits again. The power plants that accomplish this electron-ripping task can be made to run on wind, or natural gas, or coal, or uranium hexafluoride, or dried cow dung; any fuel will do. Strung into this loop are the manufacturies, businesses, farms, and toasters that use the power electrons release as they pass by.

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