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There’s No Such Thing as a Free Megawatt: The Marcellus Shale as a Gateway Drug to Energy Literacy (revisited)

October 14, 2012

The Marcellus Shale and hydraulic fracturing (often referred to as fracking) has made many people suddenly very interested in where their energy comes from. This is a teachable moment — a chance to engage the public in deepening their understandings of the energy system. We’re approaching the opportunity with a few key ideas and key questions in mind and we face substantial educational challenges.

Key Ideas:

  • The Marcellus Shale and its natural gas cannot be deeply understood without understanding it in the context of the larger energy system.
  • Our energy system is in constant flux.
  • All large scale energy production has negative environmental impacts.

Key Questions:

  • Should we be using this kind of energy?
  • Should we be using this much energy?

Educational Challenges:

  • Like other controversial issues, the Marcellus Shale involves conflicting world views.
  • Issues associated with teaching complex systems, risk analysis, and environmental justice come together in the teaching of energy and climate.

The rest of this post provides a brief overview of new and newly updated resources. If you’re in a hurry, take a look at what’s below, but if you want to dig right into the resources, follow this link to the detailed presentation which also includes links to the other resources described below. You’ll likely find that link more engaging than the description that follows. Read more…

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Climate Access — Lessons from the Field: Talking about Climate and Fracking

September 4, 2012

Most of this post is an excerpt from a blog post titled “LESSONS FROM THE FIELD: TALKING ABOUT FRACKING AND CLIMATE” on the Climate Access website. The excerpt describes some of the Museum of the Earth’s work related to Marcellus Shale education and how we are using the public interest in the Marcellus as a teachable moment to engage the public in learning about energy and climate.

As the Climate Access post on lessons from the field came out while we were running an educator workshop that included a field trip to a well pad where drilling was underway, I’ve also included a couple of images of the field trip.

Before getting to the excerpts and images, I’ll share a bit about Climate Access by quoting from their “About” page:

In the fall of 2011, The Resource Innovation Group’s Social Capital Project, in partnership with the Rutgers Initiative on Climate and Society and theStonehouse Standing Circle, launched Climate Access to provide climate communications thinkers and doers with access to the necessary tools, knowledge and people. This is all in the name of increasing public support for climate policies and engagement in programs that help people, organizations and communities change their energy and other carbon-intensive behaviors.

Climate Access facilitates the rapid peer-to-peer exchange of information, bringing together those working on climate communications from various organizations and institutions. As such, Climate Access serves as a network of networks that fosters connection and collaboration and helps turn ideas into action. It also features the Social Capital Project’s ability to synthesize and analyze the most relevant research and campaign strategies.

There’s a great deal of interest on Climate Access and on the sites of their partner organizations linked above. Check that out after reading the excerpt below, and about the work that other members of Climate Access are doing related to hydraulic fracturing’s role in the energy and climate systems.

Here’s the excerpt:

Through a series of grant-funded initiatives (NSF 1016359, 1035078, Smith-Lever NYC-124481), the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) is working to nurture evidence-based understandings of Earth systems issues associated with both hydraulic fracturing and the larger energy system. We see the controversy surrounding the Marcellus Shale as a teachable moment – a great many people are suddenly interested in where their energy comes from. This provides an opportunity for nurturing understandings of not only the Marcellus, but also the broader energy system, and also the larger Earth system.

We believe that the Marcellus cannot be understood in isolation and are striving to not only provide evidence-based understanding with as little bias as possible (that is, we will not advocate for or against drilling in the Marcellus Shale), but also help our audiences to investigate deeper questions than the question many in the Ithaca-area are initially drawn to. Residents justifiably focus on the question: Is this bad for the environment? Without contextualization, the answer is invariably “yes.” A more appropriate context-dependent question might be, “Is this better or worse for the environment than what we are doing now, or might reasonably do in the near future, to meet our energy needs?”

A simple pre-assessment used in some of our programming asks participants to identify the two largest energy sources for electric generation in New York state. The most common answers by far are coal and hydro, which rank numbers four and three, respectively behind natural gas and nuclear which are essentially even in their shares of production for the last several years. By gently drawing attention to the fact that most of us don’t really have much of a sense where our energy comes from now, we have had some success in engaging in richer discussions that have, to some degree, shifted people away from their poles related to this polarizing issue.

Education regarding the Marcellus Shale serves as a case study for both developing outreach approaches for emergent energy issues and for how these issues relate to the teaching of other controversial topics. Our goal is to develop heuristic approaches that others can adapt to their community’s needs before polarization becomes entrenched. Strategies include networking formal and informal educators within communities to develop energy education programming.

We have also produced “The Marcellus Papers,” a series of pamphlets that provide an overview of various aspects of the science related to hydraulic fracturing and the Marcellus Shale, and we are working to define what it means to be Marcellus Shale literate, and also what is needed to be aneffective Marcellus Shale educatorThere’s No Such Thing as a Free Megawatt is a presentation (created with Prezi) that has been used to provide an overview of the Marcellus Shale and contextualize it in the changing energy system.

Our greatest challenge is helping people to shift from working to fortify their position to deepening their understandings of the related issues. In this work, we are finding recent work by Daniel Kahneman (Thinking Fast and Slow) helpful as we strive to help people shift their mode of thinking in Kahneman’s terms from System 1 to System 2, and Joe Romm’s Language Intelligence: Lessons on persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and LadyGaga, as we work to make the way we speak and write about these issues more understandable.

=== END OF EXCERPT – CONTINUE READING HERE ===

On August 29, 2012 we visited a well pad where drilling was taking place as part of one of our educator workshops. A future post will offer more images and a description of the visit. For now, here’s a picture and an interactive panorama to help give a sense of what such a site is like.

Note that the drilling rig is only on site while drilling is taking place. That process lasts several days for each well on the pad, but current practice is to drill only one well before removing the rig.

The drilling rig.

An interactive panorama (a Photosynth) is available here

 

What do you need to understand to teach about the Marcellus Shale? Part 2 of 2: Resources for Teaching

January 16, 2012

UPDATE: A few edits and new links were added October 24, 2012.

In Part 1 of this two part series, I outlined the different kinds of knowledge and skills needed to teach about the Marcellus Shale. In Part 2, I’m pointing to some resources that are intended to help our readers build that set of skills and knowledge.

In the course of writing Part 2, I also realized that two parts is too few. Occasional posts will follow to address some of the gaps, but this should give you plenty to think about.

I included in the first post a bulleted list of relevant topics, and asked for suggestions about what I missed. Here’s that bulleted list:

  • Geology;
  • Technology (of extraction);
  • Hydrology;
  • Ecology;
  • Economics;
  • Cultural Issues;
  • Pedagogy;
  • Technology (for teaching).
Here are some suggestions about what I missed:
  • The emotional components of the Marcellus Shale;
  • Context, or a systems perspective (which was addressed in the text, but omitted from the list);
  • Human health;
  • Alternative energy;
  • Climate stability/climate change; and;
  • Government/Civics
Also suggested was, “proper framing of the fuel as a threat.” In this National Science Foundation funded work, we will not advocate for or against slick water high volume hydraulic fracturing, but we will do our best to identify risks. In discussing risks, we will be attentive to comparative risks, for current energy practices also substantially and negatively impact the environment.
We strive to provide evidence-based information that is relevant to the Marcellus Shale, and provide programming and resources to help people understand that information. Many readers like and value this approach, but a few critics on both sides of the issue express frustration that the information we provide does not always fortify their own positions. Readers of these materials and participants in our programming can then reach their own, hopefully informed, decisions about whether to support or oppose drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
While we won’t advocate for or against horizontal high volume hydraulic fracturing, the close study of the energy system that doing this outreach work effectively requires deepens my personal resolve that we must use far, far less energy than we presently do if we wish to maintain healthy ecosystems. As Gaylord Nelson noted, “The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.” So, maintaining our way of life also depends upon using less energy. (Note the disclaimer at the end of the post.)
Of course, this list is just a start — our readership is smart enough to know that you won’t develop the skills and knowledge to be a master teacher by reading a couple of blog posts, or even following a slew links from those posts. All I can do is scratch the surface, but hopefully it will be a useful scratch.
And, the list proposed here is longer than I’d imagined (because I didn’t think about it long enough before digging in). I won’t be able to do the list justice, but will get it started. Most of the bullets above could stand alone as worthy blog post. Or book chapter. Or book…

The types of resources included vary. All are intended to be grounded in research that’s relevant to the particular area of interest, and some are peer-reviewed research articles. Most are one degree removed from the primary source and are hopefully more accessible to the general public than reports of research tend to be. Some of these resources are written by researchers for a general audience. Others are written by educators or journalists. And, there are some links to Wikipedia articles, but those are for definitions or biographic information, not for areas of complex or contentious science.

The Big Areas: General Resources, Science Content, Pedagogy & a Bit About Systems

General Marcellus Shale Resources:

  • Links from the Resources page of our Marcellus Outreach site:
  • There’s no such thing as a free megawatt is an introductory presentation on the Marcellus Shale that I’ve assembled for use in our programming. It includes an introduction to the Marcellus Shale and a very brief introduction to the larger energy system. There are really two presentations within this Prezi and the break between the two is labeled. You may wish to stop after the content of the first — and without narration and questions from an audience, it can be viewed quickly.

“Deeply personal, sometimes moving, sometimes funny, The End of Country lays out the promises and the perils faced not just by the people of one small Pennsylvania town but by our whole nation.”—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

And, here’s a podcast with the author, along with the University of Rochester’s Joe Henderson on WXXI Radio (the Rochester NPR station).

The Science of the Marcellus Shale:

This blog is part of a National Science Foundation-funded effort to help build public understanding of the scientific issues surrounding the Marcellus Shale. Through that effort, we’ve created a group of resources that takes the scientific research and scientific understandings related to the Marcellus and summarizes it in a way that’s intended to be accessible to the general public. From our Marcellus Shale Outreach page, you can follow the links to a range of resources.

The Marcellus Papers is where I’d suggest starting (as was noted in Part 1).

The Science of How People Learn:

There’s a huge number of books and articles written about how to teach well. In order to understand how to teach, it’s essential to understand how people learn, so that’s where I suggest starting. Many good teachers seem to understand this intuitively, but every teacher can benefit from looking more closely at what research says about cognitive science. The National Research Council’s Committee on How People Learn has produced a few reports, and I especially recommend two of them — one short and one long, with the introduction to the longer one giving you a mid-range choice. Both are available as free pdfs from the National Academies Press, where hard copies of the books can also be purchased. You do need to register to download the free pdfs, but it’s free, quick and easy. See the link on the left. Here are the recommended reports:
While I see the two above resources as useful for understanding learners in any setting, they are more tailored to the school setting. If you’re working with learners out of school, then the National Academies Press also has something for you.
  • Surrounded by Science: Learning in Informal Environments This is focused on learning science out of school settings, and understanding the Marcellus Shale goes beyond understanding the science. Hopefully some of the resources below will be helpful in rounding out the omission.
The above are more targeted toward learning than teaching, and teaching tends to go better when you consider these issues before, during, and after you engage in teaching. You should also give good thought before you start where you want to end up. That is, before you begin teaching, think carefully about what your goals are in terms of what the learners you’ve worked with know and are able to do as a result of working with you. Wiggins & McTighe’s Understanding by Design provides guidance on how to engage in backward planning. There are many resources to support what’s laid out in the book, but I suggest starting with the book.

A Bit About Systems

Systems thinking warranted more attention than it got in Part 1, and more than I can give it in a few paragraphs here. If you already see the world from a systems perspective, then you see the interconnections amongst everything here. If you don’t, then…

“What happens is that when you breach a holistic structure, and you say, or do it without saying it, … ‘I am only going to attend to this end of the relationship. I am going to study the role of the doctor.’ … Now a role is a half-assed relationship, you know. It’s one end of a relationship. And you cannot study one end of a relationship and make any sense. What you will make is disaster.”

~ Gregory Bateson

By considering the Marcellus independently of the larger energy system, and the systems to which the energy system is connected (a.k.a., everything) you will simply miss too much. Most people reading this are doing so on a computer powered by electricity from our electric grid. If you’re in Tompkins County, the lion’s share of that electricity is generated by burning coal. In New York State, coal is fourth in terms of electric power generation behind nuclear and natural gas (which for several had been roughly tied for generating the most electricity, at about 31% each), and hydroelectric power. In 2010 and 2011, electricity production from natural gas expanded and coal shrank.

All of those energy sources have substantial negative environmental impacts. Many of these negative impacts are externalized (please use the comments to suggest a better link for externalized costs), meaning that we New Yorkers aren’t paying the direct environmental impacts of our energy use. And, if we’re not paying the environmental costs, that also means we’re not paying the economic costs.

The last paragraph is more an example of how systems thinking is relevant to the matter at hand than it is about the nature of systems. Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems: A Primer is an excellent introduction to the topic.

Teaching Environmental Health to Children: An Interdisciplinary Approach, a new book addresses the teaching of systems dynamics. Unlike the other resources on this list, I’ve not read this myself, but it comes highly recommended.

Resources Targeting More Specific Aspects of Marcellus PCK:

Here are the first four bullets from Part 1’s list again, backed up with some links that are specific to how these topics are connected to the Marcellus Shale. Remember, that’s not really enough — allow me to beat my drum again — if you don’t understand how these issues are connected to other energy sources we’re using or might reasonably use in the near future, you don’t understand the impact. 

Following this now annotated list are more topics with a bit thicker descriptions of the associated resources. 

  • Geology;
  • Technology (of extraction);
  • Hydrology;
  • Ecology;
    • Beyond Water (pdf), one of our Marcellus Papers; A discussion of the non-water related environmental issues associated with drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

The really big picture: What should everyone understand about the Earth system?

A number of years ago, oceanographers and marine science educators came together to craft The Ocean Literacy Framework. Scientists in other Earth science disciplines followed suit, each crafting their own sets of “literacy principles.” As a result, there are now many different sets of literacy principles for different Earth science disciplines, and these are helpful resources as they describe consensus views of scientists and educators think to be important within each of these disciplines.

We have compared and synthesized these principles here, and the central part of that presentation is embedded below.

http://prezi.com/bin/preziloader.swf

The Energy System:

In Part 1 of this series, I noted that the Marcellus Shale must be understood in the context of the larger energy system, so a key part of the science of the Marcellus is the science of energy, and the status of our energy system. When you read through the Marcellus Papers, make  sure you make it through to the last one, “Sources and Uses of Energy: A brief overview.” (Note that I may be a bit biased regarding the importance of this paper as I wrote it).

A great deal of information about the energy system is available from the Energy Information Administration website. Here you can find information about power production and energy use, primarily focused upon the US, but also with information from around the world.

Climate Change

Our energy system has produced changes in the climate system, and climate issues are extremely relevant to the Marcellus Shale. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that when burned releases carbon dioxide, and when natural gas (which is primarily methane) leaks, the warming effects are greater still. The simple combustion reaction of natural gas releases less carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than the burning of coal or oil, but if the energy system leaks gas, this advantage may be lost.

A brief overview of relevant strategies for teaching and talking about climate change can be found here and a large collection of reviewed resources can be found through the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network. Of course, this is a huge issue, so, on this topic, our scratch of the surface is the smallest of nicks.

Risk

  • In Risk: A Practical Guide for Deciding What’s Really Safe and What’s Really Dangerous in the World Around You, Ropeik and Gray (2002) describe four issues to consider in the evaluation of risk:
    1. Probability: “What are the chances of…”
    2. Consequences: “What is the severity of the possible outcome?”
    3. Hazard: “If something we’re exposed to isn’t hazardous, so what?”
    4. Exposure: “A hazard can’t do you any harm if you’re out of harm’s way.”

    In evaluating any energy source, consider the above issues.

  • Risk School, by Michael Bond, is a short article from the journal Nature on whether or not we can teach people to understand risk.

Teaching Controversial Issues:

Feedback on Part 1 included a query about emotional issues. Those emotions are connected to controversy, and these two resources address teaching controversial issues.

  • The Debunking Handbook —  This short publications offers valuable insights into how to avoid your advocacy backfiring. You may be familiar with the feeling more entrenched in your beliefs after a debate. Chances are fairly good that the person you debated also feels his or her beliefs more strongly.
  • Report finds ‘motivated avoidance’ plays a role in climate change politics
    From the article: Published last month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the report shows that people who know very little about an issue — say the economic downturn, changes in the climate or dwindling fossil fuel reserves — tend to avoid learning more about it. This insulates them in their ignorance — a pattern described by researchers as “motivated avoidance.”
  • Understanding confirmation bias is also fundamental to effectively teaching controversial issues. This is addressed to some degree in both of the above resources, but for readers who don’t follow those links it warrants a mention. We’re all victims of confirmation bias — the tendency to favor information that confirms our preconceptions regardless of whether that information is true. It’s natural to try and fortify your position, but that natural tendency can be a serious impediment to understanding.

Community Impacts:

There are a number of areas not (yet) addressed here, and scads of resources overlooked, but the post is already long, and has already taken quite some time to assemble.
So, two parts wasn’t enough for this two part series. More will come as time allows. Provide feedback to strengthen those future posts.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of Don Duggan-Haas alone and do not necessarily reflect positions the National Science Foundation.

What do you need to understand to teach about the Marcellus Shale? Part 1 of 2: Marcellus Shale PCK

January 9, 2012

This post is intended to serve as a gateway to a range of readings and other resources to support teaching about the Marcellus Shale and the larger energy system, but before simply posting a list of linked resources, some background is needed as to the types of knowledge needed to effectively teach this content.

Part 1, this post, is the introduction to the kinds of knowledge needed to teach the Marcellus Shale. Part 2 includes a list of readings and other resources for building that knowledge.

A piece of the Marcellus Shale from Seneca Stone Quarry, Fayette, NY.

The special knowledge and skills needed to teach

Effective teaching of course requires understanding of the subject matter at hand, but subject matter knowledge alone isn’t sufficient for someone to become a good teacher. Almost anyone with a college degree has sat through enough classes to have experienced at least one smart teacher or professor who knew the content well yet was simply a poor teacher.

Most of us have experience with this before leaving high school.

In order to be an effective teacher, you have to know how to teach. To put it in the language of the discipline of education, you have to understand pedagogy. And, you can’t deeply understand pedagogy in a way that stands apart from the content you wish to teach. You have to understand the special skills and knowledge that are needed for teaching your subject. That’s a recognition that the skills and knowledge a math teacher needs to be effective are different from the skills and knowledge an English teacher needs, and that the difference is more than a difference in content knowledge. In the language of education, this is Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK; Shulman, 1986, 1987).

Neither an English teacher nor an engineer needs to understand the variety of ways to solve the mathematical problem, 23 x 37, but a math teacher does. A medical researcher doesn’t need to know common misconceptions related to the understanding of evolution, or how to address controversial issues in the classroom, but a biology teacher certainly does. These are examples of PCK.

What understandings are needed to effectively teach about the Marcellus Shale?

Certainly, it would be ideal if we knew what it meant to be “Marcellus Shale literate” before determining what specialized skills and knowledge are needed to teach about it. The materials and resources we’ve produced for Marcellus Outreach should serve as a good introduction to the science related to the Marcellus Shale.

Fortunately or unfortunately, defining Marcellus Shale Literacy before defining the PCK for teaching about the Marcellus Shale is not really an option. While scientific understandings are never fully settled, consensuses emerge regarding many ideas in science. In other words, some areas of science are more settled than others, and the nature of the environmental impacts of using slick-water high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing of the natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is an area of science that is more unsettled than most.

And I know that some people will disagree with that.

And that others, on the opposite pole of this polarizing issue, will disagree with those who disagree (about what science says about the Marcellus).

We can’t wait for consensus.

If we can take as givens that questions of environmental impact are unsettled, and that it is necessary to help people understand the science as best we can anyway, where do we begin?

One key piece of this answer is that the Marcellus Shale cannot be understood independently of its context. So, we need resources to help us understand the Marcellus in the context of the energy system, the environment, the geologic context in which it formed, and other contexts as well.

The fundamental question about gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale is not, “Is this bad for the environment?” All large scale energy development is bad for the environment. The question is something more like, “Is this better or worse for the environment than things we are doing now (to get energy) or might reasonably do in the near future?”

Oh boy. This is going to be complicated.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s list the topics and kinds of understanding we need to teach about the Marcellus:

  • Geology
  • Technology (of extraction)
  • Hydrology
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Cultural Issues
  • Pedagogy
  • Technology (for teaching)

What major categories are missing? Is there something included in the list that really doesn’t belong? Please use the comments to help us figure this out.

The last bullet may seem redundant, but is significant enough to deserve a bit of additional attention. The technologies for teaching and learning are important and changing rapidly. See more about Technological and Pedagogical Content Knowledge on Punya Mishra’s website: here.

Each of the bullets above can be broken down into supporting topics or ideas. Some of that happens in Part 2 of this two part series, and, again, please use the comments to provide your input.

The genesis for this list is work with a group of experienced educators who generally need neither introductory content material for their discipline, nor beginners’ readings on teaching. The next post will include a resource or two for those who are unfamiliar with what educational research says about best practice, but it will initially focus upon the needs of the educators we are working with in this project.

In closing Part 1, I’ll remind you that our resources on the science of the Marcellus Shale are a good place to start on the content piece of pedagogical content knowledge for teaching the Marcellus Shale.

Part 2 is now posted.

Don Duggan-Haas

Marcellus Shale 101: The Science Beneath the Surface

November 11, 2011

The second post in a series of two.

The heart of this post is the Prezi used in a session of the same title (as this post) at this week’s Science Teachers’ Association of New York State’s (STANYS) Annual Meeting in Rochester, NY. This is one of two presentations related to the Marcellus Shale done by PRI staff at the STANYS meeting. The other is posted here. The two sessions had some overlapping content, but emphases differ.

This session began with a Google Earth file that includes several Marcellus Shale-related elements. Download that here: http://bit.ly/STANYS2011_Marcellus_kmz . The kmz file includes an overlay showing where the Marcellus is exposed in New York State, images of outcrops of the Marcellus Formation, overlays that allow the comparison of paleogeography with the distribution of the Marcellus Shale, and the locations of the thousands of existing gas wells (not generally Marcellus wells) in Chautauqua County. And more.

See the Prezi here: http://bit.ly/STANYS2011Marcellus101

A screenshot from the Marcellus Shale 101 STANYS presentation

This is cross-posted on our Climate Change 101 blog.

There’s no such thing as a free megawatt: the Marcellus Shale, energy and the environment

November 11, 2011

The first in a series of two.

The heart of this post is the Prezi used in a session of the same title (as this post) at this week’s Science Teachers’ Association of New York State’s Annual Meeting in Rochester, NY. This is one of two presentations related to the Marcellus Shale done by PRI staff at the STANYS meeting. The other will be posted separately. The two sessions had some overlapping content, but emphases differ.

See the Prezi here: http://bit.ly/STANYS2011nofreeMW

A screen shot of There's No Such Thing as a Free Megawatt

This is also cross-posted on our Climate Change 101 blog. The Prezi is embedded within that blog. 

Our Changing Energy System: Electric Generation

October 23, 2011

To make informed energy choices about the Marcellus Shale, it’s essential to understand its context in the broader energy system and to have understandings about the ways in which the broader energy system is changing.

Amongst the things were working on are more papers in the Marcellus Papers series. The paper I’m working on is tentatively titled Sources and Uses of Energy: a Brief Overview. In doing the research and writing for that piece, I came across a fascinating if somewhat complex graph from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It includes two representations of electric generating capacity by source as of 2010. One is a pie graph that simply shows how much generating capacity we have for producing electricity from each of these sources:

  • Natural Gas (41%)
  • Coal (30%)
  • Nuclear (10%)
  • Hydroelectric (9%)
  • Petroleum (6%)
  • Wind (3%)
  • Other (2%)

The above percentages are actually for 2009, not 2010 as the graph shows.

Recognize that 41% of both graphs is shaded yellow for natural gas, and 30% black for coal and so on. The shaded line graph therefore replicates the information in the pie graph and adds considerably more information to it. You can see, for example, that almost all the really old plants still in operation today are hydroelectric plants, and that almost all the wind capacity (in fact all that’s large enough to be represented on the graph) is essentially brand new. Keep looking and you’ll see more. Click here to get a sort of guided tour of the chart.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860 Annual Electric Generator Report , and Form EIA-860M (see Table ES3 in the March 2011 Electric Power Monthly) Note: Data for 2010 are preliminary. Generators with online dates earlier than 1930 are predominantly hydroelectric. Data include non-retired plants existing as of year-end 2010. This chart shows the most recent (summer) capacity data for each generator. However, this number may change over time, if a generator undergoes an uprate or derate.

Clicking on the image will take you to its source within the Energy Information Administration website. I’ve also taken the image and placed it in a Prezi.* That’s the link above the image labelled as a guided tour. I created the Prezi to highlight some parts of the graph I found interesting. The Prezi format allows you to create a path through the image (or, in other prezis, through multiple images) and embed text, videos or images within the presentation. I’ve used only text annotations within this one, but I think it helpfully draws attention to information related to the graph’s content.

The prezi linked both here and aboveis excerpted from a larger prezi used in The Marcellus Shale in the Context of Our Changing Energy System, a presentation by Don Duggan-Haas at the Engineers for a Sustainable World Annual Conference at the University of Buffalo on October 21, 2011. Click on the title to see that prezi.

*Prezi is a software package for making presentations that allows zooming in and out of images and text. Make your own at prezi.com.