Colorado State University to Co-host Speaker on Electric System, Future of Energy at Rocky Mountain Innosphere April 10

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Two Colorado State University centers, along with Rocky Mountain Innosphere, will co-sponsor Maggie Koerth-Baker, science editor at and author of “Before the Lights Go Out,” for a talk about the electric grid on April 10.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be 3:30-6 p.m. at Rocky Mountain Innosphere, 320 E. Vine Drive, Fort Collins. The event is sponsored by CSU’s Center for the New Energy Economy and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES), Rocky Mountain Innosphere and the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations are not required.

Koerth-Baker, whose talk is titled “Putting the Fun Back in Infrastructure: The Electric System and the Future of Energy,” will explain how the electric system evolved, how it controls what we can and can’t do to solve the energy crisis today, and what can be learned about the future of energy by studying its past.

She’ll talk about Appleton, Wis., which is the site of the second permanent electric grid and first hydroelectric power plant, and the similarities between the development of the electric industry and development of renewable industry. Koerth-Baker says electricity wasn’t as much of a "sure thing" as it seems in retrospect. The first grids were put together haphazardly, which affects how quickly, easily and cheaply the country can convert a dirty electric system to something cleaner, she says.

Koerth-Baker will also talk about the modern grid, particularly the problem of storage and how that relates to renewable generation, and the grid of the future. Changes to distribution and transmission, she said, might turn grids into public spaces that can be cared for and shared together, like parks.