27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Energy is more interesting than you think.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Power to the People: How the Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change Our Lives, and Maybe Even Save the Planet (Hardcover)
Energy is one of those subjects that you don't think about until you have to.
Until that lousy day last summer.
As a technology guy, I've always been somewhat intrigued with the idea of networks (like Distributed / grid computing). So I was intrigued when I heard the author this summer speak about his "energy grid" (which he calls it the Energy Internet). Granted his terminology seemed a little....1990s, but his point made sense: if we were all sharing off the same energy grid, the market would reward those who used less energy and extract from those who use more. And like the internet, the "energy internet" can reroute itself around a problem. (Take that, Ohio!)
What I loved most about this book is that it's not aimed at granola crunchy people. It's also not aimed at the NPR / anti-SUV crowd. I think It's written for the "armchair skeptic" like myself. I'm not stupid enough to think that BP wants to save the world. But I think those ads are meant to influence how we think about energy providers.
We all know that many of the real energy costs aren't being addressed in today's pump prices-- the environment, Enron, Iraq, etc. But the author explains that it's because the real market price ISN'T being represented that we're in such a sorry state. Well, lots of right-wing books contain the "market will solve all of our problems" premise and I would have expected as much from someone who writes for the Economist. But this book doesn't always give the answers that you'd expect. In fact, it was pretty harsh on a few companies who would have probably liked to use him as a poster boy.
Granted, his book title makes it seem like Energy will solve many of the world's problems-- that's just the title. But i'm pretty impressed how well he supported his "save the planet" / environmental stance-- it seemed a bit far-fetched at first. But what he's really talking about is pollution credits and developed / developing world stuff. With India and China's rapid economic growth, the environment took a big hit and it affects all of us.
If I have a small complaint about the book, it's that the author sometimes seems a little too "rah rah" about the "new revolution". (the book title alone makes me cringe a bit). I don't disagree that cheap and efficient hydrogen energy may change the world, I just think that real revolutions are fairly incremental intially and we only realize how incredible they are after we start to reap the benefits. Proclaiming the energy "revolution" and talking about the "energy internet" may have gotten people excited in the New Economy, but we're in the Old New Economy now.
I give this book 5 stars because I'm not the kind of person who would read books on energy and I actually enjoyed it.