Anecdotes and facts will leave you with the feeling that you have actually learned something new.
In the midst of global energy debates, it might be hard to figure out which solutions are truly green. Luckily, the newly published Renewable Energy: A Primer for the Twenty-First Century is here to show the way.
Bruce Usher, the author of the guide who is a professor at Columbia University and an energy entrepreneur, knows his job. His book is the first in the series of sustainability primers by Columbia Press. Want to understand how various renewables work? Curious whether tidal and wave power will work best? Wondering why fossil fuels are still around? You’ve come to the right place.
Don’t expect many equations or strict ethical judgments. Rather, prepare for a comprehensive look from above at the progress in technology, economic trends, and chances of achieving 100% renewables any time soon.
Usher believes that for the system to really change we need to get the prices right. Renewables have to outcompete fossils to scale up globally fast enough. He also sees climate risks as a powerful source for market transformation, sending clear signals to the players. For example, just in the real estate market sea level rises and floods could mean over $210 billion in losses in the next 30 years.
Meanwhile, Usher acknowledges the huge impact of governments on supporting or constraining the transition. In the recent interview about the book, he expressed his views on the role of the Trump administration in the US in shaping the transition to renewables:
“In the long term, they will have no effect on the transition from fossil fuels to renewables and electric vehicles. But the Trump administration will have a significant long-term effect on something far more important: the planet. Slowing the transition by a decade or more will likely make it nearly impossible to hold global temperatures [..], saddling the U.S. and every other country with severe environmental damage and enormous economic costs”
Diving in, you can expect some deeper insights into the history and development of the issues surrounding renewables. Did you know that coal was first a source of power for the poor who couldn’t afford wood? Or that 120 years ago one out of three cars on the streets of the US were electric? And have you wondered why “developing” nations might benefit from renewables more than Europe or the US?
Anecdotes and facts packed into the book will surely leave you with the feeling that you have actually learned something new. And it will surely leave you with some new questions to ponder.