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The Big Switch

The High-Wire Act of the Distributed Grid

Matching electricity supply and demand is a high-wire balancing act. As we add more solar, wind and batteries, and shut down thermal generation, it shifts the balance. New kinds of distributed resources can help to balance things out — but they also make grid management more complex.

In our fourth episode of season 1, Dr. Melissa Lott explores the new ways to manage the zero-carbon grid.

We’ll revisit the Texas grid disaster of 2021. Why did the electricity system nearly go down for weeks or months? And could we have blunted the outages with different ways of balancing the grid?

Guests: Catherine Traywick and Elta Kolo.

The Big Switch is produced by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy in partnership with Post Script Media. Our producers are Daniel Woldorff, Dalvin Aboagye and Stephen Lacey.  A special thanks to Kirsten Smith, Genna Morton, Artealia Juilliard and Kyu Lee.

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August 30, 2022 Commentary Energy Security

Can North America Transform from a Conventional Automaking Hub to an EV Powerhouse?

This commentary represents the research and views of the author. It does not necessarily represent...

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Energy Security

Energy security has long been a central objective of energy policy, yet remains poorly understood and defined. Assessing energy security risks, and how they are evolving, is key for both the public and private sector.

February 03, 2022 Reports Natural Gas

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from State-Owned Enterprises: A Preliminary Inventory

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play a major role in the production of goods and services across many of the world’s largest economies, particularly in electricity generation, oil and gas, and heavy industry.

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Natural Gas

The global gas market is undergoing a period of profound transformation as a result of new sources of supply, demand, changing trade patterns, and technological and policy shifts. The transition to a low-carbon economy and efforts to curb air pollution are also key policy aims that will impact the role of gas in the future energy mix.

December 08, 2021 Reports Finance & Economics

Advancing Corporate Procurement of Zero-Carbon Electricity in the United States: Moving from RE100 to ZC100

Corporate pledges to purchase renewable electricity have led to significant new solar and wind capacity investments and driven down the carbon intensity of the power sector in the United States.

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Finance & Economics

The clean energy transition requires a substantial study and understanding of financial and economic tools. Leveraging funding is crucial to effectively invest in clean energy innovations—to cut air pollution, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and fight climate change.

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