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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2010
With tons of books on energy production but few on the actual transmission system, I was looking forward to picking up this book.

In a nutshell, it was a very disappointing read. The authors make one sweeping, vague claim after another with very little specific details or supporting evidence. Yes it's obvious that power generation needs to be more flexible and robust, but how exactly would micro grids address that? After 200+ pages I still don't know the answer. The book essentially meanders from one very high level thesis to another, with little in between to substantiate or clarify.

I felt like I just listened to a CEO ramble on for 2 hours about fluffy concepts like thought leadership, need for innovation, breaking the status quo when I really prefer to listen to the operations manager talk about how the plan will be implemented, the underlying science behind this movement, what the economics are and the risks along the way.

The writing style, like the content, is disorganized and meandering. I had to stop every few pages to collect myself and figure out exactly what point the book was trying to express at the moment. I'm not expecting Shakespearean prose but a technical subject like this should have a fairly straightforward presentation.

At the end of the read, I wondered to myself if I really learned anything substantive. Nope, not really. Did I at least enjoy the read? Nope, not really. I'd strongly recommend you find this book at a local bookstore first and attempt to read a few pages before you commit to purchasing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 23, 2009
As buzz words like "smart power" and "green revolution" enter our lexicon, one can't help but wonder what the fuss is all about. In "Perfect Power," Galvin and Yeager explain where the current problem with our system of electricity management lies (It's woefully outdated.), and the solution that will make it a better functioning and up-to-date system (microgrids).

The authors do a great job of introducing the concept to a cleantech neophyte, using analogies that explain the electric system infrastructure, citing historical examples with Thomas Alva Edison, highlighting the path to perfect power, describing the evolution of building technology, and their undertaking to put consumers at the controls.

The bonus of this book is at the end of each chapter. Here the reader finds "Institutions and Companies to Watch" with a blurb on each company's contribution to the green movement and a web address for further research and reading. What the authors mention in the chapter has been pulled out from the reading, tidied up into list form, and provided as a tidbit for personal research. The glossary at the end of the reading is a good resource, as well, listing everything from a Switching Station to Substation, and from AC to Watt hour.

"Perfect Power" opens and closes with the story of the 2006 power outage that occurred and how an event like this can be avoided if we had a better electricity management system. The excuses that power goes out due to a random thunderstorm or an errant squirrel are archaic in this day and time, and Galvin and Yeager have had enough. Through this book they bring the story of electricity from a global concern to a personal one. They close their argument for microgrids with the story of Dianne Odell, a casualty in the fight for reliable electricity.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2010
This book was very disappointing! It was general, vague, and unspecific. Page after page, I found myself asking: 'How' and 'Who will pay for that?' The notion that theoretical losses ($$) from outages or return on investment is enough to bankroll projects is folly... ...and what about poor communities? And the constant references to piggy-backing on the internet simply begs the question: 'how will we ensure "perfect" reliability there?!' Beyond that, the authors do not provide any details or even allude to micro-grid back-up... oh, but then its "perfect-power" - ha!

Really, this is simply a book of some folks hopes and visions for the future... and it was not original thought - many, many people have been working on all of this for decades. The general vague and unspecific nature of this book strikes me as somewhat of a lazy effort... great marketing, though - I got sucked into buying a copy...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
This is a book for non-technical readers. It seems to me that the model they use (Six Sigma) is from manufacturing to improve the product (electricity) and its distribution (the grid) by decentralizing power production. One of the strengths of the book are the lists at the end of each chapter of companies and institutions that are developing the technology to make this happen.

I read the reviews here. The negative reviews seem to center on this book not being a technical document. I don't get the impression from the book that the authors are trying to squeeze money from the market to promote their organization. They seem to be trying to tighten up wastefulness and improve the quality and reliability of the electric grid by using established, successful manufacturing practices. They do this by explaining some of the history of the grid, giving specific examples of roadblocks to improving our electric system, and explaining why our current system is not sustainable.

If you're looking for a highly technical treatment of current technology, this is not the book for you. I liked it a great deal for its explanation of the current laws, policies, and politics that hinder upgrading our electrical system to one that is more efficient and reliable. The authors are pointing out that while nearly every other industry has incorporated manufacturing philosophies and techniques that reduce waste and improve efficiency, the utility industry has not. The authors make the case the we have the technology to make our electric grids much better; however, regulatory policies and entrenched practices keep this from happening.

As an example (mine, not from the book), consider building codes that specify what materials you must use for home construction instead of specifying benchmarks that the materials used must meet. In some cases building codes that are ostensibly for my benefit might preclude me from using a perfectly acceptable technology just because I am not using the materials specified by the code. In other words, give me criteria I must meet, but give me the freedom to meet the criteria as best suits me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2012
if you are interested in this stuff Galvin and Yeager are a must read. Comprehensible and comprehensive to the non-engineers out here who need to understand the far reaching impact of the grid rebuild on America of the 21st century.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Just when you thought you already had plenty to worry about, experts Robert Garvin and Kurt Yaeger, and writer Jay Stuller report that the U.S.'s electricity supply system is woefully outdated and in danger of widespread outages. Then, getAbstract is glad to report, their readable book also presents an apparently reasonable remedy: "microgrids." These smart, localized electrical networks conserve and store energy, and can redirect it to the parts of the electrical system that need it most. This bright proposal addresses a serious, but underreported problem. The authors, though perhaps more involved than most objective reporters, discuss electricity's scientific, social, economic and environmental impact. They make their solution more applicable and appealing by identifying companies that are developing microgrid technology. Unlike so many daunting problems, this one seems surmountable, if the U.S. - state by state - can muster the requisite funding and overcome the gooey regulatory status quo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2014
new understanding on how the grid should be designed, secured, etc.
Early to his time, now its starts to happen
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2010
Found this book to be almost totally lacking in real substance. The authors seem to more be making a case for electrifying the world. When I say world I mean they actually believe that through the use of Micro Grid's America (in the most part) should provide electrical power for the developing nations of the worlds. ALL OF THEM. The argument for this seems to be that this will be a prosperous business for those involved and the next big wave of business driving wealth. What seemed to be lacking from the book was any real nuts and bolts description of how this might be done. A sad case of a book touted as a technology text being more of a geopolitical road-map. all I can say is BOOOOOOO!
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on April 29, 2015
Great overview for power system trends and issues.
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2008
There may be some interesting points in this book, but you have to look very hard to find them. It is a review of the next generation of the electric industry written by executives from the cell phone industry. They seem to want to use the "perfect" business model from the cell phone industry and apply that to the electric industry. I can see it now, you change anything in your electric service and BAM, you just extended your contract two years. You move out of your house, and you have to pay a penalty to the electric company, yea, great business model. This book seems more like just an advertisement for their Institute. Again, great model, you just paid them to market their institute to you.
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