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The Electric Grid: How It Works And What The Future May Look Like

On Thursday, Vermont Edition explored how the electric grid works now and looked at some of the ways it might change in the future – including why we still need fossil fuels and how technological advances can help to smooth out issues with renewable sources.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are not consistent sources of power. If we relied on just them, in theory we might have intermittent power or surges in use that don't coincide with surges in production.

So there's a need for a reliable source that can be called upon anytime there's power demand. And there's a need to continue to develop technology, like super-accurate weather forecasting and long-lasting large-storage batteries to suck the most possible power out of solar and wind.

Guests for this discussion included:

  • Tom Dunn, president and CEO of Vermont Electric Power Company
  • Paul Hines, a UVM electrical engineering professor who leads the university's Energy and Complexity research group