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Energy

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Biography of an American Technology

The North American power grid has been called the world’s largest machine. The grid connects nearly every living soul on the continent; Americans rely utterly on the miracle of electrification. In this book, Julie Cohn tells the history of the grid, from early linkages in the 1890s through the grid’s maturity as a networked infrastructure in the 1980s.

America’s aging electricity infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly even as the need for highly reliable electric service—driven by the explosion of digital technology—continues to rise. Largely missing from national discussions, however, is a coherent, comprehensive national strategy for modernizing this critical infrastructure. Energy expert Mason Willrich presents just such a strategy in this book, connecting the dots across electric utilities, independent suppliers, government bureaucracies, political jurisdictions, and academic disciplines.

Reform Priorities
Edited by Ian Parry

The European Union (EU) faces critical challenges in energy policy making, the most pressing of which are how to achieve the deep greenhouse gas reductions promised at the December 2015 UN Conference of the Parties in Paris, and how this effort can be coordinated with already existing policies. Energy policy is primarily a member state responsibility, and policy makers need an overarching view of the main issues in energy policy and their interaction with environmental policies.

A History

Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows—ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity—for their civilized existence.

Climate Change and Energy Scarcity

The future is not what it used to be because we can no longer rely on the comforting assumption that it will resemble the past. Past abundance of fuel, for example, does not imply unending abundance. Infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible.

Lessons from China

The development and deployment of cleaner energy technologies have become globalized phenomena. Yet despite the fact that energy-related goods account for more than ten percent of international trade, policy makers, academics, and the business community perceive barriers to the global diffusion of these emerging technologies. Experts point to problems including intellectual property concerns, trade barriers, and developing countries’ limited access to technology and funding.

The Struggle to Shape and Control the Electric Power Industry

For more than a century, the interplay between private, investor-owned electric utilities and government regulators has shaped the electric power industry in the United States. Provision of an essential service to largely dependent consumers invited government oversight and ever more sophisticated market intervention. The industry has sought to manage, co-opt, and profit from government regulation. In The Power Brokers, Jeremiah Lambert maps this complex interaction from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

A Key to Understanding Energy Sources and Uses

“There's no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.”
—Bill Gates

Edited by Jon Strand

Government subsidies to energy are widespread and represent a heavy burden on public budgets in many countries. Both producers and consumers may be subsidized; the most common subsidies are for motor fuel consumption and electricity production and consumption. The subsidies to consumers often prove particularly harmful because they result in increased energy consumption, increased carbon emissions, and distortionary effects on consumer behavior.

In order to control climate change, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that greenhouse gas emissions will need to fall by about forty percent by 2030.

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