Larsen Discusses Electrical Grid Resistance and Climate Change on WDET

Larissa Larsen, associate professor of urban and regional planning, appeared on WDET’s Detroit Today program on October 29 alongside Robert Nelson, president of the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan.

Larsen’s research focuses on the urban environmental problems of extreme heat/urban heat islands, water pollution and infrastructure, and stormwater flooding. In the segment, she spoke about electrical grid resilience and the planned blackouts — as an attempt to reduce wildfire risk — that have affected hundreds of thousands of people in California, and whether a similar strategy might someday be used in Michigan.

“In this part of the U.S., our big concerns are related to heat and flooding,” Larsen said. She noted that Michigan’s infrastructure is deteriorating, meaning that extreme temperatures may be more likely to require planned power shutoffs and unplanned outages. Larsen said early-season heatwaves have an outsized impact on certain populations, such as the elderly and those with physical disabilities. “There’s a real environmental justice component to this,” she explained. 

The full audio can be found here