Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar
Smart Grid & Climate Change: Socio-political Influence on Energy System Change
Jennie Stephens, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, Clark University
Interest in the potential of a "smarter" grid to transform the way societies generate, distribute, and use electricity has increased dramatically over the past decade. Smart grid could contribute to both climate change mitigation and adaptation by increasing low-carbon electricity production and enhancing system reliability and resilience. However, climate goals are not necessarily essential for smart grid, and climate change is only one of many considerations motivating innovation in electricity systems. Depending on the path of grid modernization, a future smart grid might do little to reduce, or could even exacerbate, risks associated with climate change. This paper identifies tensions within a shared smart grid vision and illustrates how competing socio-political priorities are influencing electricity system innovation.
The related paper is available online open-access at http://www.mdpi.com/2078-1547/4/2/201
Stephens, J. C., E.J. Wilson, T.R. Peterson, J. Meadowcroft. 2013. Getting Smart? Climate Change and the Electric Grid. Challenges 4(2): 201-216.