When we think about energy, we often forget one critical element—the grid. Most of us depend every day on our national grid to supply the energy we need for our life and work. And our need for electricity continues to grow and is likely to increase further over the coming years with, among other things, the move to electric vehicles. So how do we build a grid that fits a future in which our need for electricity is growing, and our need for low-carbon sources is as well? Is it possible? What are the challenges? Energy Analyst Meredith Angwin, author of Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid is an expert in the essential skillset that we often take for granted as we consider the future of energy—engineering. With the rush for low-carbon alternatives to coal and oil, the engineering challenges of distributing new sources of energy through the grid are considerable. So what solutions are on the horizon, if any? Is there a path to reliable decarbonization? What should be the role of renewables, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear? In this episode of Thinking Ahead, Meredith Angwin brings her deep knowledge of how we source energy and how we distribute it though our national grid to help us discern the realistic options for our future from the many optimistic dreams and pessimistic fears that occupy the cultural conversation. Alarmed by the growing fragility of our national grid, she calls for a future with “less slogans, more engineering.”
More about Meredith Angwin
As a working chemist, Meredith Angwin headed projects that lowered pollution and increased reliability on the electric grid. Her work included pollution control for nitrogen oxides in gas-fired combustion turbines and corrosion control in geothermal and nuclear systems. She was one of the first women to be a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute where she led projects in renewable and nuclear energy.
In the past ten years, she began to study and take part in grid oversight and governance. For four years, she served on the Coordinating Committee for the Consumer Liaison Group associated with ISO-NE, her local grid operator. She teaches courses and presents workshops on the electric grid.
She is also an advocate for nuclear energy. Her previous major book was Campaigning for Clean Air: Strategies for Pro-Nuclear Advocacy. Meredith has been a featured speaker at several nuclear events, including being keynote for the worldwide Nuclear Science Week in 2018.
Learn more about Meredith’s work at MeredithAngwin.com