America's electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It's not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources--solar, wind, and other alternatives--the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future. If we hope to realize this future, we need to re-imagine the grid so that it fits the needs and values of the 21st century.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke, author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future about how Americans are changing the grid right now, sometimes with gumption and big dreams and sometimes with legislation or the brandishing of guns.
Gretchen Bakke is an assistant professor of anthropology at McGill University in Montréal, Canada.