"Green energy" and "renewable energy" are terms that are constantly in the limelight in our society these days. But what do they mean and are those "types" of energy in any way better than our current mainstream energy sources? And is there any way to quantitatively compare all these different sources, using meaningful criteria? These are just a few of the questions that the author addresses in this fascinating and wide-ranging book. After defining and explaining various terms that are useful in the energy field - and using cold irrefutable logic and plain common sense - the author examines the different sources of energy that humans have used over their history and explores our current energy options. In the process, the pros and cons of each energy source are discussed, as well as the significance of continuing to use the same (or some of the same) ones into the future versus a major shift towards "green" "renewable" sources. Along the way, the author debunks many of the misleading energy-related myths that are so widespread today.
The author writes very well. His style is lively, clear, friendly, authoritative, often witty and immensely engaging. The vast amount of information contained in this book is presented in a way that makes it accessible to a very broad readership. Loaded with plenty of charts, figures, examples and a wealth of fully-referenced information, this book should be of interest to anyone interested in the cold, hard facts about the energy-related issues that make the headlines.
"Green energy," "climate change," "environment," "sustainability" are some of the very prominent buzzwords that that pup up with some frequency in the media these days. The planet is in grave peril, and unless we do something drastic about it we are all going to die. Or something to that effect. And the drastic measure almost always means abandoning fossil fuels, and replacing them with "sustainable" sources of energy, such as biomass, wind, solar, etc. Putting aside the validity of the danger that the environmental pollution may be causing, the notion that there are easy fixes in the form of alternative energy sources laying around are just not valid. After decades of subsidies, media coverage and promotion, the simple fact remains that these alternative sources of energy are far inferior to whatever we are using right now and no amount of additional funding will change that. And this has nothing to do with our efforts - this is all based on simple laws of physics. The mainstream sources of energy - primarily fossil fuels - are by far the most readily available, portable, and concentrated sources of energy that we have.
"Power Hungry" is a great source of information on some of the basic principles that underlie any energy considerations. Robert Bryce provides considerable background on many of the more popular "alternative" energy solutions - wind, solar, ethanol - and why they are all based on hype that is well beyond anything that is reasonable to expect, either now or with any future technology. I was particularly shocked to find out how much additional "dirty" energy infrastructure needs to be built for the purpose of backing up some of the renewable power sources - wind and solar in particular. These sources of power are very inconsistent and unsuitable for providing sustained energy needs of any modern society. These considerations are, unfortunately, almost never discussed in the media.
This is a very important book that goes well beyond the hype and the usual sanctimonies about the need for "clean" energy. Regardless of where you stand on the whole issue of climate change and the need to combat it, this book could provide you with some clear understanding of very real and very physical limits of what "clean" energy can provide. It's an important book that can add a lot of value to our public policy debates.
on April 17, 2011
Robert Bryce''s 'Power Hungry, The Myths of Green Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future,' claims an apolitical analysis of energy and power data. The data, tables and extensive bibliography he offers seem persuasive towards his recommendations.
However on page 289, Bryce launches into a characteristic liberal rant:
"'The damage done by George W Bush, Dick Cheney and their cronies to the reputation of the United States in the international arena will last for decades."' Bryce denounces American 'torture of prisoners,' and '"The Bush administration''s 'headlong rush to unleash the dogs of war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq.'"
Families of the tens of thousands of victims of Saddam and the builders of the first Arab democracy, might disagree.
Bryce's political rant calls into question all of his data. Liberals and fellow Obama supporters will be pleased.
Those searching for objective and reliable data and recommendations should look elsewhere.