The Challenges Facing the U.S. Electric Grid

Jill S. Tietjen, P.E., Series Editor, Springer Women in Engineering and Science Series. Co-Volume Editor, Women in Infrastructure, Springer Women in Engineering and Science Series

Should the U.S. public be concerned that events like the 2021 Texas Blackout will become commonplace? How can/will the U.S. transition to an electricity future with higher levels of renewables than currently? What does all of this mean for global efforts to combat climate change?

These are the types of questions that infrastructure planners in the electric utility industry worldwide grapple with regularly. With approximately $65 billion earmarked for energy and electric grid development in the U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November 2021, what are the challenges that need to be addressed in the near term to ensure reliable, cost effective electricity for all customers in the most sustainable way?

These challenges include how to expand the transmission and distribution system to facilitate a transition to renewable energy, the need for the development and installation of new battery storage technologies to ensure a reliable electric grid as higher levels of renewable energy are built, financial support for non-carbon emitting technologies including hydrogen and nuclear power, funds for building out the charging infrastructure required for electric vehicles, and the development of new emissions reduction technologies. As has happened throughout the entire lifespan of the electric utility industry, the key obstacle is figuring out how to implement all of these innovative developments while still keeping electricity affordable for industry, other businesses and the public.

Women in Infrastructure - the soon to be released volume of Springer’s Women in Engineering and Science series describes the ways that women are meeting a variety of infrastructure challenges.

Jill Tietjen © Springer NatureMs. Tietjen is the President and CEO of Technically Speaking, Inc. An electrical engineer, she has spent more than 45 years in the electric utility industry where she provided planning consulting services to electric utilities and organizations comprising the electric utility industry and served as an expert witness before public utility commissions and other government agencies. In 2015, she served as the CEO of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, based in Seneca Falls, New York (the birthplace of women’s rights). Today, she is a worldwide advocate for telling women’s stories and writing women into history. An author and a speaker, she has written ten books to date, been inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame and the Colorado Authors' Hall of Fame, and serves on the Board of Directors of Georgia Transmission Corporation