Babbage: The urgency to green the electric grid

The vast majority of the energy used on Earth comes from fossil fuels. But as governments enact climate-friendly policies, electric grids need to be decarbonised, by using renewable-energy sources. And much more electricity needs to be generated too—to power transport, homes and heavy industry. Despite its urgency, redesigning electric grids is both a political and technological challenge. How can such a revolution happen?

Host Kenneth Cukier explores the mechanics of how electric grids work and how to upgrade them with The Economist’s Hal Hodson. Hal travels to Drax, a power station in the north of England, to visualise this supersized circuit with Bruce Heppenstall, the plant’s director. Plus, Hal asks Gerhard Salge, the chief technology officer of Hitachi Energy, how the latest generation of high voltage direct current cables will transform energy systems.

If you love Babbage, why not work with us? We’re hiring for an Assistant Audio Producer to work on the show. Apply by May 15th.

For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at and sign up for our weekly science newsletter at

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.