Getting to Green: Pittsburgh’s Distributed Energy Future

Stable and predictable for more than a century, our nation’s electric system is suddenly at the epicenter of disruptive change.  New technologies with the power to transform how we make and use electricity raise challenges – and opportunities – for our increasingly fragile legacy system.

Microgrids, energy storage, renewables integration, and the future of nuclear were all up for debate on July 14th, as a diverse group of thought leaders from the nonprofit, government, community, and academic arenas came together to discuss what the transition to a sustainable, modern grid might look like in Pittsburgh and nationally.  

Ambassador Aurora Sharrard, Executive Director at Green Building Alliance, moderated the event, while the audience members played the role of Pennsylvania policy makers faced with tough decisions about transitioning our region to a modern grid. Participants grappled with questions on the role of regulation, balancing new and existing energy sources, and prioritizing investment in modern grid technologies. Ambassadors Steve Bossart, Senior Energy Analyst at National Energy Technology Laboratory,  Kate Jackson, former Chief Technology Officer at Westinghouse Electric Co., and Greg Reed, Director of University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy, contributed their expertise to the discussion, highlighting the complexities and tradeoffs involved in grid modernization.

The event was followed by a tour of the Bellefield Boiler plant, a legacy steam plant in Oakland — and a potential component of Pittsburgh’s advanced energy future.

Interested in events like “Getting to Green”? Find out more about how you can get involved.