Electricity for Dummies

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, Smart Innovation Norway 17. August 2017

When Smart Innovation Norway’s Håkon Duus got tired of explaining the universe of electricity to his co-workers, he simply made a booklet – and called it “Power to the People”.

THE BOOKLET: Smart Innovation Norway’s Håkon Duus has written “Power to the People” for all partners who want a better understanding of electricity.

“I thought it would be a bit discriminating to call it Electricity for dummies”, says Håkon Duus, Research Assistant Energy Engineering, at Smart Innovation Norway. He laughs and quickly adds:

“No, it is more of a simple guide to understanding what electricity is about, written for everyone that has work related to electricity in some sense. You know, it is a commodity that we consume and use every day, but all most of us really know about it, is the number on our monthly power bill”.

Short and simple

He got the idea after having explained what electricity really is several times to different people at his workplace.

“Instead of just sitting down one-to-one and spending two or three hours to explain it every time, I just wrote this informal booklet and distributed it for people to read if they wanted. The whole point was to make it easy to grasp, and pretty much all the feedback I have gotten has been positive”, says Duus.

Thus, the purpose of the booklet is to explain, in very simple terms (and condensed to 17 pages), what Duus himself learned during his six years of studying for a MSc in electrical engineering.

Basic information

The booklet starts out with an explanation of the basic units for handling electricity, like Amperes, Volts and Watts.

“I have also written some paragraphs about how we compose our electric grid. I use the analogy with roads, because people know roads, and the infrastructure is sort of the same. You want to move something from one place to another, and you do it at different speeds, with different tools and for different purposes”, notes Duus.

In Power to the People, he also mentions the roles of the governing bodies and regulators of the grid.

Relevant to INVADE

Even though the booklet was originally written for internal purposes, there might be some value in reading this booklet for the INVADE partners as well.

“We have a few partners in the project who are programmers or IT people. They work with mobility or social sciences, and don’t necessarily know so much about electricity grid – simply because they haven’t studied it. This booklet provides a context and something to relate to”, says Duus.

In other words, it could help ease the communication between the electrical engineers and everyone else involved with INVADE.


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