Gretchen Bakke [ 12:37 ] Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design, McGill University. Since about 2008 there has been a groundswell of intervention in the workings of what we now call the macrogrid that aren’t coming from within the utility sector. One of the great drivers of this shift from indifference toward action is the failing reliability of the current system. One blossoming idea is that microgrids, even if privately owned, can still serve members of a damaged community by offering, heat, light, etc. during and following a disaster.

Gretchen Bakke holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Cultural Anthropology. Her work focuses on the chaos and creativity that emerges during social, cultural, and technological transitions. For the past decade, she has been researching and writing about the changing culture of electricity in the United States. She is the author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires between Americans and Our Energy Future (2016). Gretchen is a former fellow in Wesleyan University’s Science in Society Program, a former Fulbright fellow, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at McGill University. Born in Portland, Oregon, Bakke now lives in Montreal.


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