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Fall 2022 Reading Group

Creating Electricity in the U.S.: Exploring the Tradeoffs

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

In this reading group, we will explore historic and ongoing legal and policy debates about the fuels that power the US electric system. We will begin with efforts by the federal government to construct mega-dams in the first half of the twentieth century and continue to current controversies about rooftop solar. The fuels that generate electricity have implications for economic growth, local environmental quality, and greenhouse gas emissions. To provide context, we will read about the utility industry’s business model, the electric system’s operations, and the pros and cons of various energy sources. We will discuss how the evolution of the electric power industry intersects with debates about the role of government in our economy and question the balance between the benefits of cheap power and the burdens faced by communities across the country that host energy infrastructure.

Note: This reading group will be held on the following dates: 9/14, 9/28, 10/12, 10/26, 11/9, 11/30.