HLS 2931. Powering the U.S. Electric Grid

Semester: 

Fall
  • Professor: Ari Peskoe
  • Term: Fall
  • Days: T
  • Time: 5:00-7:00
  • School: Harvard Law School
  • Course ID: 214211

In this reading group, we will explore historic and ongoing legal and policy debates over the fuels that power the U.S. electric grid. We will begin with proposals 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 and environmental quality (including climate change), and they have unfolded in a complex political environment. To provide context, we will read about the utility industrys business model, the electric grids operations, and the tradeoffs among different energy sources, including fossil fuels like coal and emission-free energy sources like nuclear and wind. Through these debates, well watch an industry evolve and speculate on where it may be headed.