Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

Technology for a better world.

Reduce the Hype, Get the Real Numbers on Alternative Energy Sources September 28, 2007

Filed under: alternative energy,energy,global warming,oil,sustainability — pdxbob @ 4:25 am

Heather and Martin referred me to this book by a British physicist for learning how to assess the real impact of various forms of renewable energy. The book is in draft form right now. Just reading the Preface, I’m hooked! The author, University of Cambridge physicist David MacKay, explains that he had to understand why two professionals, one a physicist, the other an economist, could write books about the global energy crisis and have completely opposite points of view: one claiming oil will run out and the other that there is no crisis. MacKay saw similar disagreements among noted professionals on topics such as nuclear energy and renewable forms. To understand the problem better, he wrote this book that looks at just the facts, the numbers, applied to energy sources. He explains that he wants the reader to be able to make sense of policy decisions. In his words:

“The aim of this book is to help you figure out the numbers and do the arithmetic so that you can evaluate policies; to lay a factual foundation so that you can see which proposals add up.”

If you are at all concerned about energy and environmental issues, you should consider reading some or all of this book. Let’s reduce the hype and get the real numbers on alternative energy sources.

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