The Grid by Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.
The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

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For those reading these words on a computer screen or by the glow of an electric lamp, The Grid throws a welcome light onto the the systems of power generation and distribution that make our society possible.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

The grid is an accident of history and of culture, in no way intrinsic to how we produce, deliver and consume electrical power. Yet this is the system the United States ended up with, a jerry-built structure now so rickety and near collapse that a strong wind or a hot day can bring it to a grinding halt. The grid is now under threat from a new source: renewable and variable energy, which puts stress on its logics as much as its components. In entertaining, perceptive, and deeply researched fashion, cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke uses the history of an increasingly outdated infrastructure to show how the United States has gone from seemingly infinite technological prowess to a land of structural instability. She brings humor and a bright eye to contemporary solutions and to the often surprising ways in which these succeed or fail. And the consequences of failure are significant. Our national electrical grid grew during an era when monopoly, centralization and standardization meant strength. Yet as we've increasingly become a nation that caters to local needs, and as a plethora of new, renewable energy sources comes on line, our massive system is dangerously out of step.

Charting the history of our electrical grid, Bakke helps us see what we all take for granted, shows it as central to our culture and identity as a people, and reveals it to be the linchpin in our aspirations for a clean energy future.

 

About Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.

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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 D.C. home when she's in the US.
 
Published July 26, 2016 by Bloomsbury USA. 364 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Grid
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Kirkus

Good
on May 18 2016

...Bakke sketches a possible design of the "intelligent grid" of the future that uses widely distributed, small-scale generation and storage options to provide resilient and reliable sources of power. A lively analysis of the challenges renewables present to the production and distribution of electricity.

Read Full Review of The Grid: The Fraying Wires B... | See more reviews from Kirkus

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Molly Sauter on Jul 26 2016

For those reading these words on a computer screen or by the glow of an electric lamp, The Grid throws a welcome light onto the the systems of power generation and distribution that make our society possible.

Read Full Review of The Grid: The Fraying Wires B... | See more reviews from National Post arts

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