Tag Archives: Sustainability

Building a Smarter Power Grid

Wouldn’t you know, all of the electricity used in the United States is supplied via three huge electric grids, called interconnections. There’s an eastern interconnection, and a western, and the third – the Texas interconnection – covers most of the Lone Star State.

Furthermore, America’s power grid is old. For example, the average power line is 25 years old. Like anything old and massive, parts can breakdown. Remember the power outage that left much of the northeast U.S including New York City in the dark in 2003? That was caused by a single tree branch in Ohio.

Wisconsin Public Television, as part of QUEST: The Science of Sustainability, recently looked into what’s being done to improve the production and delivery of power in America. Author and UW-Madison graduate assistant Eleanor Nelsen writes, “Planning is underway to replace the aging U.S. power network with a new, “smart” grid, one that’s energy efficient and flexible enough to handle variability in both supply and demand — and one that can isolate electrical crises before they spread.”

One of the first steps to building this “smart” grid might be to incorporate several microgrids that help power individual buildings or vast neighborhoods, resulting in increased use of renewable energy and better overall energy efficiency. Read the full story Microgrids: Electricity Goes Local.

For more on the current state of our power grid and a fascinating look into how a single tree branch caused the 2003 northeast power outage, watch America Revealed “Electric Nation.”

Keep the Lights on with Microgrids -- Infographic

QUEST: Science and Sustainability from Wisconsin to the World

We are proud to be part of the QUEST public media project, because it gives us an opportunity to continue to go out and find stories of science and sustainability to share with our viewers. And, as a national project, those stories of good work being done in and around our state get shared with viewers across the country.

This Thursday night at 7, three all-new episodes of the series premiere on Wisconsin Public Television and they feature innovations and good work from Wisconsin in the preservation of forests and heirloom fruits and vegetables.

The first new episode of QUEST, “Keeping it Cool: Otters, Cars and Old Forests,” airs at 7 p.m. and features an in-depth look at an initiative aimed at exploring ways of building resilient forests in Wisconsin by looking to the forest-management processes followed by the state’s Menominee tribe. University of Wisconsin-Madison forestry professor David Mladenoff and his team’s research is featured in the segment produced by WPT’s Andy Soth.

Two additional QUEST episodes, featuring reports on bicycle technology, new energy possibilities and the future of bees broadcast at 7:30 and 8 p.m. The third episode at 8, “Wolves, Seeds and Bees” features another WPT report from La Crosse, where the La Crosse Public Library and librarians Cindy Mischnick and Kelly Becker have started a new program to save and share heirloom vegetable seeds in their community in an effort to help preserve genetic diversity in our food crops.

Watch both segments below and tune in to explore these topics and more from our QUEST partners across the country. Visit QUESTScience.org to find web exclusive reports and more.

Our friends at Wisconsin Public Radio are also part of the project and are airing a series of Wisconsin-based sustainability reports during Morning Edition and Central Time throughout the week. The Larry Meiller Show has also featured special talk-topics this week, including a discussion on the importance of electronics recycling. Listen to that report online now to learn why those outdated gadgets cluttering up your house should be recycled and where.

Explore Science and Sustainability With QUEST

For the past year, Wisconsin Public Television has been a proud part of a broad new coalition of public broadcasters from across the country who are creating a wide-range of journalism around the topics of science and sustainability in our communities.

That work, as part of the QUEST project, has resulted in dozens of reports online, and tonight on television in three all-new specials featuring segments that explore farming, sustainable energy projects, water conservation and more! Tune in at 7:30 on WPT to see all three programs.

In Wisconsin, we have featured a large number of online-exclusive reports that you can explore at QuestScience.org. On TV, you will be able to watch producer Andy Soth’s report on an innovative urban farming project in the city of Milwaukee. From the report, “Through Growing Power, his urban farm in Wisconsin’s largest city, the zealous Will Allen spreads a gospel of urban renewal through growing and selling fresh, healthy food in a neighborhood where nutritious options are limited. Foodies and wannabe city farmers make pilgrimages year-round to learn about his successful methods.”

You can watch this great report online now, below, or in the first half-hour of tonight’s television broadcasts!