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Database Provider

Author

Vox

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Science, Physics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 50 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, USA - Midwest, USA - Northeast, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, New York City, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona, Washington D.C.

Format

YouTube Video

Why the U.S. Isn't Ready for Clean Energy

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Synopsis
  • This video gives an overview of what is needed to generate and transport electricity from utility-scale renewable energy sources in the United States, focusing on Vermont, Washington DC, Arizona, Philadelphia and Chicago, detailing a model developed by Princeton, and warning against hazards that led to some of California's wildfires.
  • One can conclude that the United States may not be ready to fully transition to utility-scale renewables without more transmission lines to transport the energy. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The animations and maps are very helpful in illustrating the concepts discussed. 
  • It highlights various locations, including Washington D.C. and Vermont. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • It would help if students had some prior knowledge or understanding of how electricity is generated and transported currently. 
  • Introduce the concept of community powered solar and wind generation or small-scale renewable energy prior to the video to help provide a local-solutions focus. 

Differentiation

  • Organize an excursion to visit an existing renewable energy power plant or introduce the idea of having a Lights Out Day at school or at home.
  • As a cross-curricular lesson in economics or accounting, students can research the costs of adding renewable energy in a small community, such as the school or their neighborhood.
  • Distributed solar and wind, along with batteries and gravity based water pump storage devices help solve this issue without building massive power lines across America.  This could be researched for additional context.
  • Energy conservation, more efficient appliances and electronics, and reducing energy waste are HUGE opportunities to reduce the amount of electricity needed in the first place, which can be explored.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 7-minute video that outlines a major issue with ramping up clean energy within the U.S..  Currently, there are not enough transmission lines to get the energy from where it could be produced to where it will be used. This resource describes the infrastructure challenges that will need to be overcome over the next years and decades. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science and Engineering
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS3: Energy
      • HS-PS3-1 Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.
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