Power to the People - Module Overview



Description: First, you will build an inventory of all the devices that plug in and consume electricity in your school and home. You will use these devices to study the relationship between power and energy, and eventually brainstorm ways to save energy. Next, you will take your understanding of electricity to the next level and design the energy infrastructure needed to meet the needs of New Brunswick.  

1.    Plug Power: Electricity use from plug in loads

  • Students will compile an inventory of items at school that plug in and consume electricity. Measurements will be taken to find the power the devices draw, the energy they consume over time, as well as duty cycle, the cost of the electricity they consume, and the resulting CO2 emissions from the generation of electricity. Students will compare their findings with the labels on the devices as well as test solutions for reducing energy use.
  1. 2.    Power to the People: Energy Infrastructure (The Grid)
  • Given the population, growth rate, and available natural resources of New Brunswick, you will design the complete electric grid to supply energy to the province’s residents. Students will evaluate each of the generation technologies in terms of upfront costs, fuel costs, ability to increase or decrease production, CO2 emissions, environmental impacts, and other factors to determine the best mix of technologies to ensure a constant, clean, and reliable electric grid. Students then defend their choices in an engineering proposal. 


  • Explore the relationship between energy and power
  • Understand the schools basic plug-in load energy footprint
  • Gain an understanding of the complexities of the electric grid and electricity generation.
  • Experiment with different energy mixes to better understand the challenges facing energy planners.


You Will Need:

  • Internet access for research and course materials.
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Power meters available at NB public libraries (schools have small sets, also)

Required Time:

The plug in load audit should take approximately 5 hours, while the power grid simulation component should take should take approximately 20 hours.


In the plug-in load audit, there are a total of five activities with accompanying worksheets and grading rubrics. These can be held at equal value or more weight can be given to Worksheet 4 and the Estimating CO2 emissions activity.

In Power to the People: Energy Infrastructure, a summative rubric will be used to assess how well a student’s proposed energy mix meets six principal criteria (reliability, resilience, economics, environment, social and innovation/future growth). Quizzes may be administered focusing on each type of energy generation technology. The electric grid simulation exercise will be graded according to the resilience of your system, the cost of its creation or operation, and its impact on the environment. 

Last modified: Tuesday, 12 January 2016, 11:46 AM