File Size: 1983 KB
Print Length: 364 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (July 26, 2016)
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
“The Grid” is definitely an insightful yet verbose guide on America’s grid technology; it’s history together with the laws, people and logic that brought it into existence. Author Gretchen Bakke holds a Ph level. D. in cultural anthropology and is currently a professor at McGill College in Montreal, Quebec, Canada brings us this rarely told story of the evolution of an essential infrastructure. This interesting 364-page book includes the following nine chapters: 1. The particular Way of the Blowing wind, second . How the Main grid Got Its Wires, 3. The Consolidation of Strength, 4. The Cardigan Route, 5. Things Fall Aside, 6. Two Birds, 1 Stone, 7. An account of Two Storms, 8. Inside Search of the O Grail, and 9. Us Zeitgeist.
1. A well-researched, accessible book.
2. The seldom-told story of our electrical-grid infrastructure.
3. Will do a good job of describing the grid and its problems. “America has the maximum number of outage minutes of any developed nation—coming in at about six hours per year, excluding blackouts caused by extreme weather or other “acts of God, ” that there were 679 between 2003 and 2012. Compare this with Korea at 16 outage minutes a year, Italy at fifty-one minutes, Germany at 15, and Japan at 11. ” Bonus, “This is our grid in a nutshell: it is a complex just-in-time system for making, and almost instantly delivering, a standardized power current everywhere at once. ”
4. Explains the most common causes of power outages. “Overgrown plants is the top cause of power outages in the us in the twenty-first century. ”
5. Gives interesting findings. “National security was threatened more by the “brittleness” of America’s electrical grid than by possible future disruptions in the flow of brought in oil. ”
6. One of the most interesting subject areas covered has to do with the issues of integrating renewables in to the existing grid. This specific is a recurring matter in the book. “The problem is that renewable energy adds unprecedented levels of stress to a main grid created for the previous millennium. ”
seven. Key discoveries behind the grid. “This subtle-seeming changeover in the structure of circuitry, from serial to parallel, was the grid’s first revolution. Though we tend to give Thomas Alva Edison the credit for having invented the lightbulb (he did not), he did devise something just as remarkable—the seite an seite circuit, one of his greatest if least lauded contributions to technological underpinnings of our own modern world. ”
8. The particular key steps to big grids. “The very first step towards a huge grid, the one which would make it possible to universalize access to electric strength, was your invention and successful manufacture of alternating current (AC) electrical systems in 1887. ”
9. Discusses the historical past of big electrical business. “By 1925 almost no one in the electricity business could even imagine a system in making, transmitting, disbursing, or managing electric strength other than as a monopoly enterprise. ”
10. An interesting take a look at electrical efficiency. “By the mid-1960s it had become clear to energy men that the plant run at just over 30 percent efficiency was both the most reliable and the most cost-effective way to make electricity. ”
11. A look at President Carter’s impact on energy. “This turn towards conservation and energy efficiency was the first crisis, of three, that would shock the electric utilities during the Peterson era. ”
12. A look at the blowing wind industry. “The blend of federal and California offers and innovative state rules launched the wind industry in the U. T. ”
thirteen. Blackouts and their causes. “A case in point: On August 14, 2003, eighteen months after Davis-Besse was shut down for repair, the most significant power outage in our nation’s historical past, and the third-largest actually in the world, swept across the eastern half the United States and parts of Canada, blacking out eight declares and 50 million people for two days. So thorough and so vast was this cascading power outage that it shows as a obvious dip on America’s GDP for the yr. The blackout, which covered 93, 000 square miles, accounted for billion of lost business earnings. If ever it was in doubt, the 2003 blackout proved that at its core America’s economic climate is inexorably, indubitably electric. ” Bonus, “In the case of the 2003 blackout the error on the grid took are overgrown trees and the error on the computers took the form of a line of code that disallowed simultaneous incoming data reports. ”
14. Financial challenges of the electric industry. “Historically, utilities made money when people used electricity; the more we used the more money they made. Today they don’t. Today’s resources earn money by transporting strength and by trading it as a commodity. ”
15. A look at “smart grids”. “The “smart” grid uses computers to ease the abiding problem of peak load. ”
16. Find out the impact of climate change to the grid.
17. A look at the impact of major storms to the grid. “After Superstorm Sandy, the Northeast commenced to witness the return of the tiny grid. These types of new constructions bear a lot in common with Edison-era private plants, which produced customized electricity for a single owner on-site. Unlike Edison’s private plant life, these modern microgrids can connect and unconnect as needed to the big grid (which is now increasingly referred to as “macrogrid”). Plus, unlike any system since the consolidation of strength in the early 20th century, these microgrids work completely well in “island” mode. ”
18. Military applications. “Anything that you can do to eliminate the necessity of diesel generator, and reduce the amount of oil required to nourish them on the field of battle, strengthens—adds resiliency, flexibility, and mobility to—the conflict effort. Mobile, matte, light-weight, and diversified systems for keeping the lights on, the data safe, and the troops cool are critical to mission success. For while some of this fuel is put into gas tanks, a lot of it is employed to make electricity. ” Bonus, “As a result, the DoD, which operates a fleet of two hundred, 000 nontactical vehicles, is working to convert them all to electricity with vehicle-to-grid technologies designed in from the beginning. ”
19. The “holy grail” of electricity, storage. “Today the grail is less a new way to make power than you should find a really good way to maintain it. ”
20. The particular future of the main grid. In the final section, the writer discusses the consumers’ personal interactions with strength that may shape the grid for the future.
21. Plenty of links in the notes section.
1. Verbose. It could and probably should have been one hundred pages fewer.
2. Lack of ancillary visual material that could have done wonders to complement the narrative. Lots of people knows very little about how exactly electricity works and this kind of book begs for diagrams and visual material, yet there is very little here.
3. Not only does the book lack visual material it does not have supplementary material that would of have been of interest to the public. For example: maps of key grids, table of power consumption around the country, timelines, charts and layouts showing the employment of renewables versus non-renewable energy sources, etc.
4. Not only verbose but at times even tiresome to learn.
5. Missed opportunities to “shock” the reader with interesting tidbits or curiosities.
6. Lacks technological rigor, the book is intended for the masses.
7. Zero elegant bibliography.
In overview, this guide should have already been much better. The topic of the grid is personally interesting to an engineer like myself but I’m very disappointed on how verbose and poorly presented the substance was. The lack of supplementary materials did the book no favors either. On the other hands, I agree with the findings and conclusions of the author and I did learn a whole lot about the electric main grid as en essential and pervasive infrastructure. More like a 3. 5-star quality book, if you are enthusiastic about the grid by all means read this book but you just need to be patient with it. A gentle recommendation.
Additional recommendations: “Living on the Grid” by William D, Thompson, “Empires of Gentle: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World” by Jill Jonnes, “AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the initial Specifications War” by Tom McNichol, “Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How A couple of Men Revolutionized Physics” by Nancy Forbes and Tulsi Mahon, “The Man That Changed Everything: Lifespan of James Clerk Maxwell” by Basil Mahon, “The Electrical Life of Michael Faraday” by Alan Hirshfeld, and “Tesla” by W. Bernard Carlson., This book is a five-star vision with a one-star grade in physics. I in the beginning was very frustrated by the seemingly uneducated explanations of grid functionality. Then I had an ‘AHA! ’ moment. Those of us educated in physical science expect to see empirical answers, often accompanied by the mathematical equations that identify our world. This book depends on anecdotal exposition, associated with hand-wringing, personal opinion, and the occasional proof by heated assertion. Hence my three-star grade.
My advice is to let that go. Think of yourself as on an ancient expedition is search of the true potential of a concept I will call insular micro main grid (IMG), and what, if organized in a careful design, it could do for us.
The IMG would have powers, storage, supply, users, and an interconnection to the external power grid. In normal operation, it could use energy from both the main grid and its own sources. When needed, it becomes an island, isolated from outside sources of electrical energy. So an IMG is actually a house, a hospital, an airplane, an electric car, a backpack, or almost something else where power disruption can be done. The characteristics of each of the IMG components would vary substantially across a variety of applications.
This specific book conjures up those kind of system options, and offers a wide starting picture showing how electrical energy became as inherent and essential part of our own society. Unfortunately, it is a do-it-yourself IMG kit, slipping quite short of what it might have already been.
Need to give one example of why some individuals have such a negative view. In describing Edison’s early on DC systems, a reduce of 1 mile is suggested because the generators did not have sufficient “oomph”. Anecdotally, that is proper. But using the rules of power engineering, we find that the voltage drop differs as the square of the current carried, so size of the wires must become substantial to go further than a distance, plus its not economical. That will is an empirical approach.
Don’t look too strongly a he section on var (volt-ampere reactive). Phase angles and power factor don’t fare well there.
I highly recommend this guide, but it could have been so much more compelling if this had already been edited by an electrical professional (or is that an oxymoron? )., The best book written on energy in the us I've ever read. Although I've been involved with energy, power, electricity, solar, efficiency and conservation since working for the Carter Administration, and after starting numerous solar strength companies round the world in in the US, and after writing two books about them, I learned a great deal about all this that I thought I already knew but did not. Bakke writes with eyesight, wit, knowledge, and without policy obfuscation or architectural gobbldygook. She makes the case that our changing main grid will cause a complete new way of producing and using power in our wired world
Neville Williams, Naples, Flordia, 5 stars for bringing a very important topic to the masses. She made the mind boggling problem of our own energy future accessible and enjoyable. However, her writing style is too wordy and often difficult to follow. It's like she was getting paid by the word., Speaking as a person that was once in the electric energy industry, I think this a a great read on the history of the electric grid and how alternative energy will and has changed it into something that is not as stable as we might think. A very well balanced account., Really interesting and well written. As a Professional Engineer who deals with the technical part of these issues, I was impressed with the way in which she explained the science/engineering, which was both accurate and. Reading the historical development of the grid is an important tool of understanding the context of why things are the way they are with the grid (bad shape).
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