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The Sustainable Network by Sarah Sorensen

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Chapter 12. What’s So Smart About an Energy Grid?

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I canna do it, Captain.

Scotty, Star Trek

For most of the previous century, developed nations leveraged electrical grids to power their streets, cities, businesses, and homes. If you’re reading this book, you’ve probably always had an electrical grid. A reliable energy grid is a badge of a prosperous community, enabling predictable learning and commerce. Just like the network, the energy grid (and the power it supplies) has become intertwined with everything we do, and our reliance on it only continues to grow as more and more of our daily activities require some type of power—from household cleaning to business communications.

I would venture to say that most of us in developed countries have come to take for granted the availability and abundance of relatively cheap energy to power our lives. However, we have seen demand for energy spike and stress available supplies. Living in California, I have experienced “rolling blackouts” in the summer months, when the power grid is simply under too much load and can’t support the demand; by all estimates, problems like this are not going to go away and are more than likely going to get worse.

Projections place 2 billion more people on the planet by the year 2025, and a total of” 9 billion people on the planet by 2050.[137] To accommodate all these people, who will all” consume some amount of ...

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