Countdown to Countdown

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Our New Years Eve was great fun as our current hostess (and now friend) joined us in throwing a potluck party at the very special home we’ve been sharing since we sold our own residence in early September. As we counted down the end of 2017, we had a chance to reflect on the many events of a tumultuous year, and look forward to our new adventures. In fact, the very next morning (well, late morning) my partner and I began a new countdown, the days till we depart for the Southern Hemisphere and a 6 month stint that will span two foreign countries, Australia and New Zealand.

When I take a minute away from the whirlwind of activities that seem to dominate our days (how are we getting to the airport? How do you store a car of 6 months? How much money should I wire to my bank account in Australia?) I find myself reflecting on the past as much as I anticipate the future.

It starts with this remarkable home in Boise’s North End that we’ve been fortunate to share with some truly remarkable people over the past few months. Know as the Rugosa house, this Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1908, designed by the renowned Boise architects Tourtelotte and Hummel, and commissioned by Harry Wyman, who owned a small but growing electric company that later became part of  Idaho Power.  Not surprisingly, this home became the first residence in Boise to be supplied with both electric and gas for lighting.  It’s worth taking a moment to think about life 110 years ago, when electricity in the home was not yet the norm.  What would Mr. Wyman think about the next 110 years?  Would he even recognize the Goliath machine this is now colloquially called The Grid?  If nothing else, this should give us pause as we try to contemplate what our energy future will look like. Whatever it becomes, it will likely be complete un-recognizable to our current eyes.

And it’s in the spirit of this futuristic thinking that I’m undertaking this adventure  “down under” in the hopes of gaining new insights into the next generation of electricity generation, transmission and consumption.  I’ll be part of the Melbourne Energy Institute where I’ll be working with leading experts in applying control theory to smart grid applications. It’s worth noting that some of the Australian utilities are leading the way in smart grid energy storage.  I hope to bring back not only some exciting new techniques but also some insight into what works (and what doesn’t) in different social and policy environments.

Stay tuned.

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January 2, 2018 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

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