Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Power Hungry

I just finished an excellent book on energy--POWER HUNGRY by Robert Bryce. The subtitle of the book is "The Myths of 'Green' Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. His basic argument is that the popular "green" energies--wind and solar--can never replace hydrocarbons as the major source of power in the world. He notes that it is not energy that we want, but power. As he notes, "Energy is the ability to do work; power is the rate at which work gets done." (p. 13). It's power we want and we want it 24/7. He continues, "Renewable energy has little value unless it becomes renewable power, meaning power that can be dispatched at specific times of our choosing." (p. 39).
Bryce focuses on what he calls the Four Imperatives. These are: power density, energy density, cost, and scale. The renewables fail on these imperatives.
He also has some good one-liners:
"If you are anti-carbon dioxide and anti-nuclear, your are pro-blackout."
"All-electric cars are The Next Big Thing. And they always will be."
As Bruce says repeatedly, it is a matter of math and physics. He sees the solution to more use of natural gas and nuclear power.
The book can help clear the air of hype and sensationalism, which are often invoked by environemental activists.

1 comment: