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Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil Paperback – March 27, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430240865
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430240860
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Rapier works in the energy industry and writes and speaks about issues involving energy and the environment. He is Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President at Merica International, a forestry and renewable energy company involved in a variety of projects around the world. Robert has 20 years of international engineering experience in the chemicals, oil and gas, and renewable energy industries, and holds several patents related to his work. He has worked in the areas of oil refining, natural gas production, synthetic fuels, ethanol production, butanol production, and various biomass to energy projects. Robert is also the author of the R-Squared Energy Column at Consumer Energy Report, where he serves as Managing Editor. His articles on energy and sustainability have appeared in numerous media outlets, including the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Forbes.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about our energy options.
Russell Finley
The book provides an overview of the current energy paradigm and the salient factors for scientifically comparing various energy options.
CSM
If you're interested in facts based on hard data and logic as opposed to an agenda-driven book, this is for you.
Sam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sam on April 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Rapier does an excellent job of explaining in great detail the value of each of our sources of energy, the history and how we got to this point, why we use so much fossil fuels, and the difficulty of simply "flipping the switch" to change over to renewables. He also tackles the tough issue of climate change, and does a great job of shedding light on the two camps involved in the debate -- not so much as to who is right, but simply to clarify what they believe and why they do.

This book is a must-read for anybody involved in government, the energy industry, industries affected by the high cost of gas, and everyday consumers seeking to cut through all the rhetoric when it comes to the oil industry, gas prices, and alternative energy.

The style of writing is one that makes it easy for the reader to follow along as the author debunks misconceptions, critiques erroneous published information, and sorts through all the hype so the reader can see the facts speak for themselves.

If you're interested in facts based on hard data and logic as opposed to an agenda-driven book, this is for you.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Runyon on April 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many things we would like with energy. Many people make simple declarative statements what they want. The author does a great job (here and with his blog ([...]) to explain in reasonably logical and understandable terms why all of our potential solutions are flawed. He has both deep and wide experience in what he writes about, and (probably uniquely) analyzes all the energy alternatives without a pre-disposed opinion before looking at the facts. This book is not intended to explain all the gory details of each alternative. Rather to give a good baseline understanding of the (especially) scale problems with replacing oil in our society. He also provides a very good checklist of questions to ask any alternative fuel provider.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Russell Finley on April 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about our energy options. Condensing so much material on such a complex topic into just a few hundred readable pages was quite a feat. After reading it you will know more about the subject than 99.9 percent of the people on the planet, politicians in particular. The American public is woefully uneducated on energy topics and I suspect this book is meant to help rectify that in a small way.

I've been writing on the subject of energy and the environment for many years now and have learned a great deal about the issues. I wasn't expecting to encounter anything new but was pleased that I did.

For example, a study estimated that a global market to pay electric car owners to hook into a smart grid (to share their batteries) could result in $40 billion dollars of revenue in the coming decade, which should be of interest to all those Leaf owners out there with chargers that are already connected to the internet.

Another example, the electrification of our rail transport would be a cost effective hedge against sudden oil price increases and shortages: "Transforming one of the priority uses of oil--long-distance freight--to oil-free transportation using minimal amounts of domestic energy would be a major improvement in national security as rail becomes less dependent upon imported oil."

The chapter on corn ethanol is especially informative. You will not see better coverage of that subject anywhere.

If you are looking for support of your favorite energy scheme you may have to look elsewhere. Rapier makes it very clear that all energy options have downsides that must be weighed against benefits. Speaking truth to power is Robert Rapier's forte as anyone who subscribes to his widely-read blog already knows.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CSM on May 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Rapier's "Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil" is an important book to read for anyone who wants to engage in informed discussions on renewable energy and, more specifically, fuel alternatives to oil. It is an easy read, albeit focused on the facts without much embellishment.

The book provides an overview of the current energy paradigm and the salient factors for scientifically comparing various energy options. It doesn't trace the chronological history of oil the way Yergins' "The Prize" does but it gives a sober SWOT (strengths weaknesses opportunities threats) view of energy alternatives. The author uses this background to help explain his interpretation of energy policies that would enhance energy security.

Robert is best at explaining concepts that receive short shrift from journalists in the media. His explanation of "energy return on energy invested" (EROEI), for instance, helps clarify what it is and why it is important.

He is one of my most reliable touchstones for determining what technologies are likely to provide sustainable alternatives to oil. There are many reasons for this. The first postings I read from his R-squared blogs (about six years ago) was a debate with Vinod Khosla challenging the state of the art of conversion technologies for producing cellulosic ethanol. Like many biofuels supporters I didn't want to read that they might not be ready for prime time. Robert was certainly right to suspect Khosla of overhype about the Range Fuels project. Regrettably, it didn't survive commissioning after hundreds of millions of dollars in private and public investment.
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