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[Episode #38] – Getting from Here to There

There’s nothing to give you a little perspective on what’s happening on planet Earth like getting off it and seeing its beauty—and it’s human-caused destruction—from space. In this wide-ranging interview, former astronaut Jay Apt, a professor of technology and business at Carnegie Mellon University, shares some insights from his voluminous body of research on energy transition topics, including: what the power grid of the future could look like; how we’ll balance it with increasing levels of renewable energy; how to smooth out the fluctuations in wind farm power output; utility business model evolution and resource adequacy planning; what the optimal amount of storage on the PJM Interconnection might be; the economics of behind-the-meter battery systems; the potential future for EVs providing services to the grid; whether carbon capture and sequestration technology and geoengineering can play significant roles in addressing climate change; the new era of electricity de- and re-regulation; and of course, what it’s like to look down on Earth from space. You’ll never see an hour go by as quickly as this one.

Geek rating: 8

Guest: Dr. Jay Apt is a professor of technology at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and Engineering and Public Policy. He is also the director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center. He is an extensively published researcher on energy transition subjects, as well as an astronaut who flew four missions on the US space shuttle and spent more than 35 days in space. His background includes study in experimental atomic physics, lasers, and energy technologies, and he has worked at Harvard, MIT, California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and NASA.

On the Web:  Jay Apt's faculty page at Carnegie Mellon University

Recording date: February 16, 2017

Air date: March 8, 2017