Modernizing the U.S. Electric Grid
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Modernizing the U.S. Electric Grid
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The MIT Club of Washington is pleased to present its 32nd annual Seminar Series on an important national topic related to science and technology. Each year, the series offers engineers, scientists, industry leaders, policy makers, and educators an opportunity to explore a specific topic in depth. Both those within and outside the Washington area MIT community gain the opportunity to develop a better understanding of recent developments and key issues. Presentations by distinguished speakers are followed by ample time for questions and discussion. The social hour and dinner provide additional opportunities to meet the speakers, renew acquaintances, or join in stimulating discussions with other participants.
As one of the essential components of the national infrastructure, the state of the Electric Grid is of fundamental concern to public policy in the dimensions of energy, the environment, and national security. We all depend on its reliability, resilience, and integrity for our day-to-day activities, yet its operations, management, and policy-making apparatus are nearly invisible to us. What kinds of vulnerabilities does it have today and how will that change in the future? What is being done to make it “smarter”—to let its price structure and availability be responsive to local changes in demand? How is it regulated? How are its energy sources managed to be responsive to environmental and national security concerns? These and many other critical questions concerning the Grid will be addressed in the course of this seminar series.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013—Defining the Present and Future U.S. Electric Grid
The Grid is a complex network that has evolved over a century to meet the needs of a growing nation. This session will provide an understanding of the present system of generation and distribution of electricity in the U.S., and the challenges that face us in the effort to modernize the Grid to meet the nation’s future energy requirements.
Speaker: Anjan Bose, Distinguised Professor of Engineering, Washington State University; formerly Senior Advisor to the Undersecretary, U.S. Dept. of Energy
Tuesday, November 12, 2013—Intelligent Control of the Grid
As an extensive, interconnected network the U.S. Grid depends on embedded technology to ensure reliable operation. Its computers and communications have become more intelligent in recent years, but the future grid requires improvements in such areas as efficient handling of outages, waste/cost reduction, and redundancy management. This session will explore the technical nature of the Grid, as well as the reality of future needs and opportunities.
Speaker: Ralph D. Masiello '68, Ph. D., Senior Vice President & Innovation Manager, KEMA, Inc.; formerly held executive positions with several major firms in the electric power industry
Tuesday, December 10, 2013—Industry Perspective on the Future of the Grid
This session presents a utility industry perspective on how emerging technologies and environmental or regulatory pressures might change the plans of this regulated industry. Issues to be faced include distributed solar/wind, efficient operations, state/federal legislative initiatives, and financing mechanisms.
Speaker: David K. Owens, Executive VP, Business Operations Group, Edison Electric Institute
Tuesday, January 14, 2014—Source Diversity on the Grid
A modernized grid enables the use of renewables, which are part of the strategy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. How will the grid incorporate the diversity of sources that may arise from our research into distributed production techniques and renewable energy possibilities?
Speaker: Vickie A. VanZandt, P.E., Program Manager, western Electricity Coordinating Council Synchrophasor Program, former Senioe VP for Transmission, Bonneville Power Administration
Tuesday, February 11, 2014—The Vulnerability of the U.S. Grid
The Grid is vulnerable to accident or attack, and protecting it from cyber or physical failure is a growing issue. It’s a huge governmental concern, but must also involve grid operators and the U.S. public. Important elements include reliability, robustness, standards and recovery strategies. This session will hear from an experienced expert about the present status and future needs for ensuring the operation of the Grid.
Speaker: Michael Chertoff, Chairman and Co-founder, The Chertoff Group; former Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Tuesday, March 11, 2014—Economic and Policy Constraints to Modernizing the Grid
The U.S. electrical generation and distribution system is uniquely defined by its economic and private-public structure, including its cost-revenue relationships and heavily regulated status. As a result any changes are likely to be constrained by public policy and legislative issues. This session will present an academic perspective on how the future of the U.S. Grid could be affected by these factors.
Speaker: Richard Schmalensee ’65, Professor of Economics and Management and former Dean, Sloan School, MIT
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