Public Lecture: The Grid and the Energy Transition in the United States: 7 Sept 2017

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Date(s) - 07/09/2017
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Royal Irish Academy

Public Lecture by Professor Gretchen Bakke, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal


Gretchen Bakke holds a PhD from the University of Chicago in Cultural Anthropology. Her work focuses on the chaos and creativity that emerge during social, cultural and technological transitions. For the past decade she has been research and writing about the changing culture of electricity in the United States. She is a former fellow in Wesleyan University’s Science in Society program, a former Fulbright Fellow, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at McGill University. Her recent book – The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and our Energy Future – was rated by Bill Gates as one of his five best reads in 2016


The electricity system in the United States is in a state of massive transition, driven in part by the integration of renewables like wind and solar. This lecture will consider the particular creativities (and absurdities) of the energy transition in the US case, touching on the history of the development of the American electricity grid as a technological system, a business model, a regulatory artifact and the material accretion of very particular cultural values. All of these elements are strongly evident in contemporary grid reform. This lecture will speak to the quirky, messy human side of the grid as critical to the ways in which the infrastructure is now being conceptualised and redesigned for the 21st century.

This event is being organised by the Royal Irish Academy in conjunction with the Electricity Research Centre, UCD, to coincide with the launch of the latest EASAC policy report: Valuing Dedicated Storage in Electricity Grids. To download a copy please click here.


Booking  РThis event is free, but spaces are limited and booking is essential. To reserve a place please click here.