If you’re a fan of our profiles, you’ve probably noticed a pattern: Early on, they mention degrees earned from vaunted institutions and then describe illustrious steps on the road to the top. The subject’s grade school days, by contrast, tend to evoke skirmishes with acne and squeaky-voiced humiliations. So when Associate Editor Sandra Upson visited Arieta Gonelevu in Fiji for this year’s Dream Jobs report, she wasn’t expecting to end up at the energy specialist’s rather epic high school reunion.

In October, hundreds of alumnae descended upon the campus of the all-girls Adi Cakobau School, outside Suva, the capital of Fiji, for the academy’s 60th anniversary. Dressed identically by graduating class, the women met on a central lawn ringed with palm trees. A yellow-clad group of graduates unfolded pages of newspaper on the grass and arranged themselves next to a floral-print cluster of women. Gonelevu’s classmates, in mauve skirts and blouses, sat daintily on their shoes. The head of the school began speaking from a podium. Under the intense noon sun, the Old Girls of Adi Cakobau chatted quietly in Fijian and watched frogs hop over their feet.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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