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Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil Paperback – March 30, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Informative. Should be required reading for anyone engaging in discussion of current energy topics.Published 10 months ago by don falconer
I have read and followed much of Robert's work including his blogs. Good info such as his personnel viewpoint from within the industry. His weakness is in biofuel. Read morePublished on January 3, 2014 by Forrest Butterfield
Lots of errors and myths perpetuated - this really needs bringing up to date with some factual material - many poor chaptersPublished on November 30, 2013 by tony grindrod
Many good facts and views. Nothing new that I have not read elsewhere. If you have not read up on this subject before then this is a good book for a broad overview. Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by JT
NOT BASED ON UP-TO-DATE SCIENCE AND ECONOMICS
POLITICAL, NOT CREDIBLE SCIENCE
NOT ENOUGH CREDIBLE BACKUP FOR POSITIONS
WE NEED SOMETHING BETTER
Robert Rapier's book Power Plays has a depth of infomation. It seemed as if every other page had some form of statistic. Read morePublished on August 23, 2012 by CPayne
Blogger Robert Rapier has changed modes and written a book that compiles many of his thoughts about energy and energy policy. Read morePublished on July 22, 2012 by Owl13
Having been a electrician and also representing electricians this book does a great job of laying out our options in a way everyone can understand especially for anyone that has... Read morePublished on April 26, 2012 by jrblitz1
Written in a kind of government pamphlet style, this is a very useful and accessible
book for anyone with more than a passing interest in our energy future. Read more