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Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

At "Plugged In" we seek to illuminate the connections between energy, the environment, and our lives through timely reporting and analysis that consider both the technical and policy aspects of energy. Topics covered include emerging energy technologies, the environmental and public health tradeoffs of energy production and use, and the impact energy has on our everyday lives. Within these topics we explore fundamental aspects of the power and transport sectors to illustrate impacts on the wider energy system and society.


Melissa C. Lott
Melissa C. Lott is an energy systems engineer and consultant with more than 10 years of experience in the United States and Europe. An active writer and public speaker, Melissa is the author of hundreds of popular media articles as well as several technical articles, reports, and white papers on energy and the environment. She has maintained the blog Global Energy Matters since March 2010.

Melissa specializes in technology, economic, and policy analysis, in particular related to energy system efficiency optimization. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Resources in London, United Kingdom. Before joining UCL, Melissa was an energy analyst at the International Energy Agency in France where she was the primary author on the IEA’s technology roadmap on energy storage. She has also served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy, researcher with the Webber Energy Group at The University of Texas at Austin, and contributor to U.S. federal-level energy policy initiatives at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and on state-level activities in Texas and California.

Melissa currently serves as an advisor for Alstom’s International Science and Technology Committee. In 2013 Forbes Magazine named her as a “30 under 30 in Energy”. She holds two masters degrees – in Mechanical Engineering and Public Affairs – from The University of Texas at Austin in addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of California, Davis.

Follow Melissa on twitter @mclott

Contact Melissa at melissalott at gmail dot com

Sheril Kirshenbaum
Sheril Kirshenbaum is Director of The Energy Poll at The University of Texas at Austin where she works to enhance public understanding of energy issues and improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. She is the author of two books and her writing regularly appears in magazines, newspapers, and scientific publications. Previously, Sheril worked with the Webber Energy Group, Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, and served as a Senate staffer on energy issues. For more information, visit her website and follow her on Twitter.

Tali Trigg
Tali Trigg is an energy analyst, technology policy advisor and writer. His work includes research and analysis on energy and transportation, with an emphasis on the role of cities in shaping transport energy demand and mobility solutions.

Tali has more than 10 years of experience working as an energy analyst and researcher on international energy issues and transport all over the world. He has authored dozens of notable publications on transport, energy and the environment, including the Global EV Outlook and the EV City Casebook, and is an active public speaker with presentations on energy and transport at more than 30 conferences across the globe. Presentations include the Cars of Tomorrow Conference in Melbourne, Australia in 2012 and, most recently, at the Global Challenges in Transport seminar on New Technologies and Changing Behaviors at Oxford University in 2014.

Tali began his career in energy and transport in 2004 working for the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in Dakar, Senegal. In 2006 he sharpened his editorial skills working as a journalist covering energy and business in Washington, D.C. Tali transitioned back to the energy and clean-tech sector in 2008, joining the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competiveness, where he conducted research and analysis on US rail vehicle and lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. In 2009, Tali was selected for a Fellowship at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colorado, where he consulted on industrial energy efficiency as well as transit-oriented development. In 2010, Tali joined the International Energy Agency as an energy and transport analyst.

Tali received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Georgetown University and a Masters of Environmental Management at Duke University. Tali is a native of Stockholm, Sweden and currently lives and works in Paris, France. Opinions are his own. Follow Tali on Twitter @talitrigg

Robert Fares
Robert Fares comes from a diverse background with a firm connection to energy. He was born to a Lebanese father and an American mother in Calgary, Canada, where he lived until the age of three. Since then, his family has lived in Saudi Arabia in a planned residential community operated by Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil and gas producer.

Today, Robert is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Energy Institute. Robert’s core research focuses on the economic and environmental implications of grid battery energy storage, including bulk grid energy storage systems and home-level battery systems. Robert also contributes to university-wide research investigating the all-in cost of electricity under various future policy and resource scenarios.

Robert holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in addition to a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Robert has authored a number of peer-reviewed technical articles, and he frequently attends technical conferences to present his ongoing research. For more information about Robert’s engineering research, please visit his academic webpage. Follow Robert on Twitter @RobertFares.

Previous Regular Contributors

Robynne Boyd
Robynne Boyd began writing about people and the planet when living barefoot and by campfire on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Over a decade later and now fully dependent on electricity, she continues this work as an editor for IISD Reporting Services. When not in search of misplaced commas and terser prose, Robynne writes about environment and energy. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Scott Huler
Scott Huler was born in 1959 in Cleveland and raised in that city's eastern suburbs. He graduated from Washington University in 1981; he was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa because of the breadth of his studies, and that breadth has been a signature of his writing work. He has written on everything from the death penalty to bikini waxing, from NASCAR racing to the stealth bomber, for such newspapers as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Los Angeles Times and such magazines as ESPN, Backpacker, and Fortune. His award-winning radio work has been heard on "All Things Considered" and "Day to Day" on National Public Radio and on "Marketplace" and "Splendid Table" on American Public Media. He has been a staff writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and theRaleigh News & Observer and a staff reporter and producer for Nashville Public Radio. He was the founding and managing editor of the Nashville City Paper. He has taught at such colleges as Berry College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and sometimes serves as guest host on "The State of Things" on WUNC-FM.

His books include Defining the Wind, about the Beaufort Scale of wind force, and No-Man's Lands, about retracing the journey of Odysseus.

His most recent book, On the Grid, is his sixth. His work has been included in such compilations as Appalachian Adventure and in such anthologies as Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, The Appalachian Trail Reader and Speed: Stories of Survival from Behind the Wheel.

For 2011 Scott is proud to have been chosen Piedmont Laureate, representing the literary arts on behalf of the counties of Alamance, Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake. Through readings, workshops, presentations, and his work as a writer of nonfiction he will help promote the appreciation of literary excellence in the Piedmont region.

He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, the writer June Spence, and their two sons.

David Wogan
David Wogan contributed to Plugged In from 2011 - 2014, writing and sharing research and visualizations about the role of energy in our world. He is a mechanical engineer from Austin, TX and now works as an energy analyst in the Middle East. You can follow David on Twitter @davidwogan.

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