Final Grid Academy Session Explores Dangers to Electric Grid System

Created: March 29, 2016
Last Updated: January 16, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (March 29, 2016)—The final Grid Academy lecture, entitled “Threats: Protecting the Grid,” from Washington & Jefferson College’s (W&J) Center for Energy Policy and Management (CEPM) will be held March 30 at 7 p.m.

The lecture will be in Yost Auditorium of the Howard J. Burnett Center and is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, but it is recommended. See the CEPM website to register.

The fourth and final session of the 2015-16 academic year will expand on previous Grid Academy lectures on the electric grid system in the United States. While previous discussion of the grid system included topics such as challenges the current grid system faces, how to make the grid system more efficient, and how to fund a new grid system, the final lecture will discuss the different threats facing the grid system.

Threats that will be explored include: extreme weather conditions, terrorist attacks, malfunctions, and personnel issues.

“People will have a better understanding of the structure and the vulnerability of the grid system,” said CEPM Director Diana Stares. “The goal is to educate the public about the challenges involved with the grid system.”

Speaking at the lecture is David Tipper, Ph.D., professor and director of the Graduate Telecommunications and Networking Program at the University of Pittsburgh, and Steven Bossart, lead energy analyst from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. Returning to lecture series for a fourth time is Gregory F. Reed, Ph.D., director of the Center for Energy and of the Electric Power Initiative, and a professor at Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

The mediator for the final lecture will be Bill Flanagan, chief corporate relations officer for the Allegheny Conference.

“It is important for the public to understand the ways in which the grid system is vulnerable, how tenuous it is, and how easily it can be interrupted,” said Stares. “Everyone needs to understand how electricity works, too. We are becoming increasingly more dependent on electricity and we have to be mindful of the energy we use.”

The Grid Academy was created by the National Academy of Engineering’s Science & Engineering Ambassadors Program in partnership with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. All sessions have been organized by a leadership team from the National Academies of Science and Engineering Ambassadors Program, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and will feature researchers and industry professionals from the universities, the power industry, and NETL.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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