On July 5, 2011 Plugged In launched as a new addition to the Scientific American blogging network.
The concept was to build a place where we could explore the connections between energy, the environment, and our lives by bringing together four writers – Robynne, Scott, Melissa and David – who would use their experiences living with, researching, and writing about energy and the environment to examine the interconnections between these topics. Together, we would examine some of the developments that connect us to energy, our planet and each other.
Back in 2011, people were intrigued about the Smart Grid (whatever that turned out to be), complex new wireless applications (however they would work), and new environmental crises or breakthroughs (whenever they would occur). But we were sometimes missing the minor events that collectively create changes of great significance - shifts in how we connect and share information, ways that we access and use energy, and changes in our environment.
Over the past 5 years, we have published hundreds of articles --- nearly 800 in total --- about the environmental tradeoffs of energy systems, technology development and innovation, policy and regulatory reform, and the thousands of tiny ways in which the energy system connects with each of us in our everyday lives. Moreover, we have discussed what all of these changes might mean as we move through this period of unprecedented change in the energy system. And, five years later, we have built a home for engaging dialogue about the energy system.
When this blog began, crude oil prices were at ~$95 per barrel. They would soar to upwards of $110 and crash to less than $30 per barrel before Plugged In’s 5th birthday. The Fukushima disaster would occur in Japan and the landmark Paris Agreement would be finalized. Solar and wind markets would grow tremendously as their prices dropped and energy storage would move toward a more widely accessible concept for companies and individuals to explore.
Over these same years David transitioned to working in the Middle East, Scott embarked on a journey to find something new along the Lawson Trek, and Robynne transitioned to her next life adventure. New voices joined Plugged In – including many guest posts. Today, I am joined on Plugged In by Tali, Robert, and Sheril – three fantastic writers and experts working throughout the energy sector. Together, we continue to explore the connections between energy, the environment and our lives in this era of unprecedented change in the energy system.
On Plugged In’s 5th anniversary, I would like to send a big “Thanks” to all of our readers. Thank you for your time and interest in the pieces that we write. Thank you for your emails, comments, and feedback. Thank you for helping to build Plugged In over the past 5 years and for engaging in this important dialogue.
Thanks also to our blog editors – Michael Lemonick (current) and Curtis Brainard (former). And a special “thank you” to Bora Zivkovic for making this blog network a reality and giving us a platform here on Scientific American.