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The term 'smart grid' has become a catch-all phrase to represent the potential benefits of a revamped and more sophisticated electricity system that can fulfil several societal expectations related to enhanced energy efficiency and sustainability. Smart grid promises to enable improved energy management by utilities and by consumers, to provide the ability to integrate higher levels of variable renewable energy into the electric grid, to support the development of microgrids, and to engage citizens in energy management. However, it also comes with potential pitfalls, such as increased cybersecurity vulnerabilities and privacy risks. Although discussions about smart grid have been dominated by technical and economic dimensions, The Smart Grid (R)Evolution takes a sociotechnical systems perspective to explore critical questions shaping energy system transitions. It will be invaluable for advanced students, academic researchers, and energy professionals in a wide range of disciplines, including energy studies, energy policy, environmental science, sustainability science and environmental engineering.
1. Emerging smart grid struggles
2. Promises and pitfalls of smart grid
3. Technologies of smart grid
4. Societal actors and dominant smart grid visions
5. Smart meters measuring, monitoring and managing electricity
6. Wind on the wires
7. Community and small-scale grid innovation
8. A changing climate and a smarter grid: critical linkages
9. Smart grid revolution, evolution, both or neither
Jennie C. Stephens is the Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and its College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Her research, teaching, and community engagement focus on the sociopolitical aspects of energy technology innovation, electricity system change, and climate change communication. She has contributed to the understanding of the social dynamics of wind power, carbon capture and storage, and smart grid, and she brings to this project experience in stakeholder engagement and in communication with experts, academics, and the public. She is particularly interested in continuing to learn as we transition away from fossil fuel-based energy systems toward renewables-based systems.
Elizabeth Wilson is Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy and Law at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a Fellow at the Institute on the Environment, both at the University of Minnesota. She has extensive knowledge on the importance of subnational factors in shaping energy policy and technology deployment, with a special focus on policies, regulatory and legal frameworks for emerging energy technologies in states, and regional transmission organizations. Her research has also focused on regulatory and governance systems for carbon capture and sequestration, energy efficiency, and wind power.
Tarla Rai Peterson holds the Boone and Crockett Chair of Wildlife and Conservation Policy at Texas A & M University and is Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala. She has published several books on communication, technology, and the environment as well as numerous research articles on communication and public involvement in environmental decision making, particularly as it relates to sustainability. She has extensive theoretical and critical expertise on public involvement in and public perception of environmental concerns and technologies and on the critical role of mediated and interpersonal communication in interactions among different actors.