BURN: Special

Energy poverty: where there’s no grid at all

In the US, the electrical grid is everywhere. As for everyone else: a fifth of the world doesn’t have electricity. Many Americans opt to live off the grid. Elsewhere, it’s rarely a choice.

June 28, 2013 more »

Paul Stockton: Keeping the grid safe

Paul Stockton was the government’s point man for protecting the nation’s electrical grid from terrorist attacks. He served for four years as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs. Stockton was the responsible for “defense critical infrastructure protection.”

He talks with host Alex Chadwick about the threat of terrorism against the grid. They also discuss the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and how best to protect the grid during the next super storm.

June 26, 2013 more »

Army’s micro-grid for combat zones

The US Army is preparing to deploy smart micro-grids for combat outposts – basic military camps for about 100 soldiers. The new COPs cut fuel demand by at least half, which means fewer caravans, and fewer casualties.

June 25, 2013 more »

Between bizarre & unimaginable: Life off the grid

Michelle Nijhuis has lived off the electrical grid with her husband Jack Perrin in the tiny town of Paonia, Colorado for fifteen years in a house built with straw bales, plastered with mud and powered by the sun. It’s a way of life, Nijhuis says, many consider “somewhere between bizarre and unimaginable.”

June 24, 2013 more »

Electrifying rural America

Running a family-owned farm is one of this country’s more difficult livelihoods. Before electrical power, it was even harder. In the early 1930s, only 11% of the country’s farms had power. Fifty years later, nearly all of them had electricity.

Here are oral histories of people who experienced the life-changing transformation, much of it coming courtesy of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA).

June 21, 2013 more »

How the grid works: an explainer

Do you REALLY understand how an electrical grid works? Producer Josh Kurz explain today’s power grid, some of its biggest problems, and how smart grid technology could help.

June 20, 2013 more »

Tim Gallant, electrical lineman

They are the electric grid army. When the lights go out, legions of power linemen are deployed across our cities and towns. They climb poles and rework wires when the lights go out, just to bring back the light. Science reporter Ari Daniel Shapiro has this portrait of lineman Tim Gallant, who’s been working for the National Grid energy company for more than 3 decades.

June 19, 2013 more »

VIDEO: How the national grid works

Producer Josh Kurz explain today’s power grid, some of its biggest problems, and how smart grid technology could help.

June 18, 2013 more »

The Electrical House That Jack Built

The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. published “The Electrical House That Jack Built” – a 1916 pamphlet showing how electrical appliances were transforming life in the home. Written in verse to parody the well-known nursery rhyme and illustrated with drawings resembling children’s books of the period, it celebrates the convenience, comfort and health enjoyed by users of electrical appliances.

June 17, 2013 more »