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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future » User review

Myth Busting

  • Feb 5, 2013
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+5
"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.

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More Power Hungry: The Myths of "Gr... reviews
review by . February 05, 2013
"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 …
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Bojan Tunguz ()
Ranked #53
I am a benevolent rascal. I love lounging in bed on a Sunday morning. Rainy days make me melancholy, but in a good kind of way. I am an incorrigible chocoholic. I hate Mondays, but I get over it by Wednesday. … more
About this product

Wiki

Journalist Bryce, author of Gusher of Lies and managing editor of online industry newsmagazine Energy Tribune, is nothing if not polemical. While his swings are sometimes familiar ("The essence of protecting the environment can be distilled to a single phrase: Small is beautiful") and sometimes bizarre ("The world isn't using too much oil. It's not using enough"), the points he raises merit serious consideration. In this informed, opinionated state-of-the-industry overview, Bryce contends that energy policy must be based upon four imperatives: "power density, energy density, cost and scale." Wind and solar power, he says, fail those standards due to storage problems and the vagaries of weather; Denmark, the poster child for renewable energy, nevertheless imports hydroelectric power from Norway and Sweden, relies heavily upon North Sea oil and coal, and increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.1 percent between 1990 and 2006. Pointing to the environmental cost of hydropower ("ruining habitats for aquatic life"), oil spills, and coal mining, Bryce makes a strong case for heavier reliance upon natural gas, a relatively clean and readily available carbon fuel, as a bridge technology: "The smartest, most forward-looking U.S. energy policy can be summed up in one acronym: 'N2N'," for "natural gas to nuclear power."
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