Winning Wars: A “Game of Thrones” Summer

This year’s Climate and Society class is out in the field (or lab or office) completing a summer internship or thesis. They’ll be documenting their experiences one blog post at a time. Read on to see what they’re up to.

By Shifali Gupta, Climate and Society 2014


Prior to this summer, I never understood people’s obsession with Game of Thrones. I had watched the first season and for the life of me could not comprehend what on earth made this crude, graphic TV series be the top entertainment trend!

How, you ask, is this related to Climate and Society? Give me a minute, it will make sense, I promise!

Back to the story: peer pressure (yes, there’s peer pressure at the work place, when entire Monday discussions are devoted to just how awesome the previous Sunday’s episode was) steered me to give it another try.

And, believe me or not, I made a startling discovery. Game of Thrones is nothing but a story of the realities of the energy industry in the U.S.! Think about it:

Winter is coming.” Substitute winter for climate change. This makes the harbingers of this news, the climate scientists, you guessed it – the Starks! On the other hand you have the Lannisters of the real world – the oil and coal conglomerates who are denying the existence of any oncoming danger. They even had their sadistic prince become the king (see: shale).

Now you see where I’m going with this? Lo and behold, Game of Thrones had a new fan in me!

Unfortunately, at the center of it all is the “throne” surrounded by Lannisters at all times (*cough* fossil fuel lobbyists *cough*). However, not to be disheartened, beyond the borders of the realm, growing out of its dragon-shell cocoon, is the biggest threat to the autocratic regime – renewable energy (well, now you know which house my loyalties lie with)!

I will let you use your imagination to find more similarities, but moral of the story is that renewable energy is here and ready to conquer! And being part of its army is, let me tell you, fantastic things are ahead! SolarCity, where I’m interning this summer, is bubbling on the brink of a start-up transitioning to a full-blown industrial mega-power. It already commands a large chunk of the residential solar industry and has shaken up Californian utilities. And if these results are any indications, it will soon have a significant say in the energy matters of the nation.

I couldn’t have asked for a better summer. As an energy analyst intern, I was able to look at the entire bandwidth of systems installed by the company and aid in the resurrection of all the fallen or injured soldiers – sorry, systems. Between a class I took with Travis Bradford last semester, the aim of which was to make us perfect “diagnosticians” of the energy industry, and what I’ve learned from my role at SolarCity, I must say I’ve gotten pretty darn good at being able to tell what’s ailing a system and causing it to underperform. It was incredibly satisfying to see a solar system come back online after I’d worked my magic, increasing savings for the customer and putting many more kilowatt hours of clean solar energy into the grid.

So, I don’t know how George R. R. Martin’s will chose to conclude A Song of Ice and Fire, but I can very clearly see how its real life interpretation will shape out! Hope you can, too!

*** Clean, More Affordable Energy ***

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