The Grid

  • by Gretchen Bakke
  • Narrated by Emily Caudwell
  • 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The grid is an accident of history and of culture, in no way intrinsic to how we produce, deliver and consume electrical power. Yet this is the system the United States ended up with, a jerry-built structure now so rickety and near collapse that a strong wind or a hot day can bring it to a grinding halt.
The grid is now under threat from a new source: renewable and variable energy, which puts stress on its logics as much as its components.
In an entertaining, perceptive and deeply researched fashion, cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke uses the history of an increasingly outdated infrastructure to show how the United States has gone from seemingly infinite technological prowess to a land of structural instability. She brings humor and a bright eye to contemporary solutions and to the often surprising ways in which these succeed or fail. And the consequences of failure are significant.
Our national electrical grid grew during an era when monopoly, centralisation and standardisation meant strength. Yet as we've increasingly become a nation that caters to local needs, and as a plethora of new renewable energy sources comes online, our massive system is dangerously out of step.
Charting the history of our electrical grid, Bakke helps us see what we all take for granted, shows it as central to our culture and identity as a people and reveals it to be the linchpin in our aspirations for a clean-energy future.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Poor introduction to an important subject

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone with no prior knowledge of the energy sector might find it useful. However, I suspect most readers will be frustrated by the writing style and the complete lack of pace.

Any additional comments?

I purchased this audiobook because it was on Bill Gates's recommended list for 2016 and I have a personal and professional interest in the subject.
I made it 1/3 of the way through the book before abandoning. It is excessively repetitive, full of long, flowery sentences that add little to understanding.

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- Terra72

Electricity = what makes our interconnected world work.

Brilliant book for anyone looking to understand the grid, its history and how electricity markets will look with the threat of utility death spirals.

Although I live in South Africa there are many lessons to lean on and similarities in the story of the American grid and the current state thereof and our own grid and Utilities.
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- Justin Peter Schmidt

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-09-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury