GEOG 469
Energy Industry Applications of GIS

Lesson 3 - Major Siting Challenges in the Energy Enterprise, Part 2


An Overview of Lesson 3

This week, we will continue our consideration of the major siting challenges in the energy enterprise by reviewing a 10-article series by NPR titled Power Hungry: Reinventing the U.S. Electric Grid. This series will give you an additional overview of the electric grid in the United States and provide you with backdrop for the challenges in siting criteria we will explore in future lessons.

What will we learn in Lesson 3?

You will learn about the grid history, how "green energy" will impact the grid, how siting new lines will be a significant national challenge, how conservation of energy at all levels of use will become an important component of the smart grid and how the smart grid will assist each of us in regulating our energy use. We will learn the new energy grid could become the 21st Century "National Highway System," and, finally, what will be the price tag for the new smart grid and who will pay for it.

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • understand what a Smart Grid is;
  • understand how renewable energy sources will impact the grid;
  • discuss the challenges of building a new energy economy;
  • understand how smart meters can reduce energy consumption;
  • understand how new wind farms are impacting the current grid infrastructure and what is being proposed to mitigate the impact;
  • understand what utilities are doing now to create a smart grid;
  • understand how the new grid will be the "National Highway System" of the 21st Century; and
  • understand the real cost for the new grid and who will pay for it.

What is due for Lesson 3?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Calendar in Canvas for specific time frames and due dates. Specific directions for the assignments below can be found within this lesson.

  • Participate in a class discussion based on the Power Hungry series from NPR.
  • Continue working on the "Learning ArcGIS Desktop (for ArcGIS 10)" course through the Esri Virtual Campus (due by the end of Lesson 4).
  • Take the Introduction to ArcGIS Reflection Quiz once you have completed all of the Esri courses (due by the end of Lesson 4).


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.