Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Center for Energy Studies, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, and University of Houston Center for Public History
Website URL
energy, environment, technology, Texas, electrcity
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a research historian in the Center for Public History at the University of Houston and a Nonresident Scholar with the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. My work focuses on energy infrastructures, environmental history, technological change, and the relationships between government, business, and the public. My book, The Grid, Biography of an American Technology, from MIT Press, examines the history of electrification in North America, and especially the story of how and why power companies chose to interconnect. I have authored and co-authored articles online with the Center for Energy Studies ( and in the Journal of Global History, Proceedings of the IEEE, Information and Culture, and IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. In addition, I have contributed chapters to edited volumes on topics related to electrification and the environment. Current projects include examination of the Texas initiative to bring wind power into the state’s grid through Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ); electrification in Texas over the past century; the long history of storage batteries for electric power systems; and, for an edited volume, representation of electrical blackouts in American film.

Recent Publications

Book and Book Chapters:

The Grid: Biography of an American Technology (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017).

“Utilities as Conservationists? The Paradox of Electrification During the Progressive Era in North America,” chapter in Green Capitalism? Exploring the Crossroads of Environmental and Business History, Hartmut Berghoff and Adam Rome, editors (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), 94-111.

“Bias in Electric Power Systems: A Technological Fine Point at the Intersection of Commodity and Service,” chapter in Electric Worlds/Mondes électriques: Creations, Circulations, Tensions, Transitions (19th-21st Centuries), Alain Beltran, Léonard Laborie, Pierre Lanthier, Stéphanie Le Gallic, eds. (New York: Peter Lang, 2016), 271-293.

Journal Articles and Online Articles:

“Texas CREZ Lines: How Stakeholders Shape Major Energy Infrastructure Projects,” Center for Energy Studies, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, November 2020,

“Historical Cases for Contemporary Electricity Decisions,” Center for Energy Studies, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, February 2020,

“Water powers: the Second World War and the mobilization of hydroelectricity in Canada, the United States, and Germany,” with co-authors Matthew Evenden and Marc Landry, Journal of Global History, 15 no. 1 (March 2020).

“When the Grid was the Grid: the History of North America’s Brief Coast-to-Coast Interconnected Machine,” Proceedings of the IEEE, 107 no. 1 (January 2019).

“Data, Power, and Conservation: The Early Turn to Information Technologies to Manage Energy Resources,” Information and Culture, 52 no. 3 (July 2017).

“‘The old was analogue. The new was digital’: Transitions from the Analog to the Digital Domain in Electric Power Systems,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 37 no. 3 (2015): 32-43.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Environment, Technology