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Why Smart Meters Don’t Make A Smart Grid

Power transmission lines march across the Shirley Basin in central Wyoming.

In 2009, President Obama promised to modernize the electric grid, using stimulus money. The new power grid would be smart and efficient, bringing the tech revolution to electricity. It would incorporate more renewable energy. It would have the ability to fix blackouts more quickly. And, it would save customers a whole lot of money. So whatever happened to that plan? (Blackout: Reinventing the Grid #3) Continue Reading →

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When The Largest Machine In The World Fails

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If you could peer behind an electrical plug in your house, you’d find a massive network of transmission lines and power plants and a whole army of people bringing power to the socket in real-time, 24 hours a day. It’s the largest machine in the world: the power grid. Most of the time it operates invisibly, in the background, but when it fails, it often does so memorably. To most people, those outages seem like isolated events, but when you look at the trend, they're not. (Blackout: Reinventing the Grid #1) Continue Reading →

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IE Questions: In Wyoming, How Much Coal Does A Miner Mine?

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Even though Wyoming has been the top coal-producing state since 1988 and its coal culture runs deep, the image of the Appalachian coal miner persists in American popular culture. Why? Perhaps because most coal miners still work in Appalachia, even though most coal comes from Wyoming. In 2012, for example, Wyoming produced about 40% of U.S. coal but employed only 8% of coal miners. Continue Reading →

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