1. Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air, 2. The Prize, 3. Energy and Civilization, 4. Renewable Energy, 5. The Future of Energy, 6. Windfall, 7. Superpower, 8. Solar Revolution, 9. Power Trip, 10. A Question of Power. The transition to energy sources other than oil and gas is well underway, but how long will it be before we can rely on them for the majority of the world's power - if ever? We will provide you with a stimulating reading list of the best books on energy to consider both past and future energy transitions.'
- Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air
- The Prize
- Energy and Civilization
- Renewable Energy
- The Future of Energy
- Solar Revolution
- Power Trip
- A Question of Power
Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air
David MacKay is a Cambridge University physics professor, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Climate Change, and a regular lecturer on sustainable energy.
There are so many books about sustainable energy and alternative energy on the market today that one might wonder why there is a need for yet another; however, Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air offers something unique – and that’s a notable achievement in a genre overburdened with too many revamps using the same approach.
This enlightening book analyzes the relevant numbers and organizes a plan for change on both a personal and an international scale—for Europe, the United States, and the world. This informative reference, presented in case study format, answers questions about nuclear energy, the potential of sustainable fossil fuels, and the possibility of sharing renewable energy with foreign countries.
While emphasizing the difficulty of reducing consumption, the tone remains positive as it debunks myths and clearly explains expenditure per person to encourage people to make individual changes that will benefit the world as a whole.
If you’ve given up hope that a solution is possible, read this book; it’s an honest, realistic, and humorous look at all of our energy options.
Author: David JC MacKay
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sustainable-Energy-Without-Hot-Air/dp/0954452933
Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars (from 408 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #118,632 in Books
#43 in Oil & Energy Industry (Books)
#137 in Environmental Economics (Books)
#344 in Environmental Science (Books)
Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates and Global Energy Expert for the CNBC business news network, is a well-known expert in energy, international politics, and economics. Dr. Yergin won the Pulitzer Prize for his number one bestseller The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, which was also adapted into an eight-hour PBS/BBC series that was seen by 20 million Americans. The book has been translated into twelve different languages. It also won the Eccles Prize for the best general-audience book on economics.
The Prize recounts the panoramic history of the world’s most important resource—oil—with an epilogue that speaks directly to the current energy crisis. Daniel Yergin’s timeless book chronicles the decades-long struggle for wealth and power that has surrounded oil and continues to fuel global rivalries, shake the global economy, and change the fate of men and nations. By tracing economic and political clashes over precious “black gold,” this updated edition unequivocally proves oil’s unwavering significance throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.
With his broad perspective and in-depth research, Yergin is uniquely positioned to address the current battle over energy, which is undeniably one of the most pressing issues of our time. His narrative history spans two world wars, from the drilling of the first well in Pennsylvania to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm, and both the Iraq War and current climate change. The definitive work on the subject of oil, The Prize is a book of extraordinary breadth, riveting excitement, and great value—crucial to our understanding of world politics and the economy today—and tomorrow.
Author: Daniel Yergin
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Prize-Epic-Quest-Money-Power/dp/1439110123
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars (from 1385 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #22,872 in Books
#1 in Petroleum Engineering
#9 in Oil & Energy Industry (Books)
#15 in Middle Eastern Politics
Energy and Civilization
Vaclav Smil is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of forty books, including the MIT Press title Energy and Civilization. Foreign Policy named him one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010. On his website in 2013, Bill Gates stated, “There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.”
Energy is the only universal currency; it is required to complete any task. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from plate tectonic forces to the cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. The photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass is essential for life on Earth. For their civilized existence, humans have come to rely on many more energy flows, ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic electricity generation. Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies to today’s fossil fuel-driven civilization, in this monumental history.
Humans are the only species capable of systematically harnessing energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and a vast array of artifacts ranging from simple tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. Agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment were all impacted by the epochal shift to fossil fuels. Smil provides a magisterial overview of humanity’s energy eras in a panoramic and interdisciplinary manner. Energy and Civilization is an updated and expanded edition of Smil’s Energy in World History (1994). Smil has included a massive amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic advances in energy studies over the last two decades as well as his own research during that time.
Author: Vaclav Smil
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars (from 761 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #791,405 in Books
#818 in Energy Production & Extraction
#19,836 in World History (Books)
Godfrey Boyle is a Professor of Renewable Energy in the MCT Faculty of The Open University. His primary research interests include solar and wind power, energy systems modeling, and energy policy, and he has chaired a number of Open University modules on renewable and sustainable energy. He is also a visiting professor at India’s The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) University, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and a Trustee of the UK National Energy Foundation.
One of the major issues confronting civilization today is the provision of sustainable energy supplies for an expanding and increasingly productive world. Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future, Third Edition investigates the practical and economic potential of renewable energy sources in meeting this challenge.
The physical and technological principles underlying power generation from direct solar (solar thermal and photovoltaics), indirect solar (biomass, hydro, wind, and wave), and non-solar (tidal and geothermal) energy sources are discussed, as well as their environmental impacts, economics, and future prospects.
This book, along with its companion volume, Energy Systems and Sustainability, Second Edition (OUP, 2012, 9780199593743), provides both perspective and detail on the relative merits and current state of progress of technologies for utilizing various “renewables.” As political and economic pressures push society toward a low-carbon future, the analysis considers emissions, sustainability, cost implications, and energy security.
Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future, Third Edition provides a valuable insight into the prospects for renewables, beginning with an overview of basic energy conversion processes and progressing to a discussion of individual renewable sources and concluding with an examination of the prospects for their integration into national and international networks. The book is among the best books on energy.
Author: Godfrey Boyle
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Renewable-Energy-Power-Sustainable-Future/dp/0199545332
Ratings: 4.4 out of 5 stars (from 94 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,709 in Books
#355 in Environmental Studies
#1,443 in Botany (Books)
#3,452 in Environmental Science (Books)
The Future of Energy
John Armstrong is an engineer whose career has taken him to the extremes of the energy industry, giving him a first-hand view of the energy roller-coaster. He began his career building oil refineries before transitioning to work in both fossil and renewable energy generation. John lives in Bath, England, with his wife and two children.
The Future of Energy is written in a way that anyone interested in learning more about energy can understand it. The book, which was substantially updated in 2021 to reflect the impact of Covid-19 on the world of energy, walks the reader through a future for energy generation, transportation, and use. The book is concise and comprehensive, bringing together energy discussion and thoughts on a variety of topics that form the fulcrum of the challenges ahead of us, such as climate change, hydrogen, heat, sustainability, and renewable energy. The Future of Energy, written to spark ideas, discussion, and debate, immerses the reader in the future challenges and opportunities of this hugely exciting and important field.
There is a wealth of information available on the ‘energy transition,’ with competing technologies and theories vying for dominance. It is all too easy to believe that there is a simple solution or “silver bullet” to the enormous challenges we face. The inevitable patchwork of future technologies, rather than a single simple solution, makes it significantly more complicated. There is no perfect solution to the challenges we face, but most will shape how we use energy over the next decade and beyond.
Author: John Armstrong
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Future-Energy-transition-technology-sustainability/dp/1838388605/
Ratings: 3.8 out of 5 stars (from 117 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #380,115 in Kindle Store
#9 in Petrochemical Engineering
#19 in Petroleum
#38 in Physics of Energy
Windfall is the most audacious examination of the world’s energy resources since Daniel Yergin’s The Quest, claiming that the new energy abundance – due to previously unattainable oil and gas resources – is transforming the geopolitical order and bolstering American power. The book is regarded as one of the best books on energy.
As a new administration focuses on boosting American energy production, O’Sullivan’s “refreshing and illuminating” Windfall examines how new energy realities have profoundly influenced the world of international relations and security. As a result of new technologies, oil markets are oversupplied, and a natural gas glut is forming. This did more than just lower prices; it altered market structure and the way many countries wielded power and influence.
The United States’ new energy prowess has global implications. It alters the course of politics in Russia, Europe, China, and the Middle East. O’Sullivan examines the landscape, providing insights and presenting implications for each region’s domestic stability as energy abundance disrupts traditional partnerships and creates opportunities for cooperation.
For the United States, the benefits of this new abundance outweigh the drawbacks: it strengthens both hard and soft power. This is “a powerful argument for how America should capitalize on the ‘New Energy Abundance,'” according to The Financial Times, and it explains how new energy realities create a strategic environment that benefits America.
Author: Meghan L. O’Sullivan
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Windfall-Abundance-Politics-Strengthens-Americas/dp/1501107933
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars (from 73 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,158,874 in Books
#12 in Coal Energy
#950 in Political Economy
#2,102 in Economic Conditions (Books)
Russell Gold is an award-winning Wall Street Journal investigative journalist. Gold’s reporting has taken him to five continents and two times above the Arctic Circle. He was a member of the Wall Street Journal’s award-winning team that covered the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in 2010. In 2014, his first book, The Boom, was nominated for the FT Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award.
The United States is undergoing an energy transition. We want to rely less on dirty fossil fuels and more on renewable energy sources like wind and solar. We don’t want to continue pumping heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. Any transition from a North American power grid based primarily on fossil fuels to one based primarily on clean energy necessitates a massive building spree worth billions of dollars.
Enter Michael Skelly, an infrastructure builder who started working on wind energy in 2000, when many thought it was a joke. Skelly later helped found the second largest wind power company in the United States, which was sold for $2 billion. Wind energy was no longer amusing; it was well on its way to supplying a significant portion of the electricity in the United States.
Russell Gold, acclaimed journalist and author of The Boom, “the best all-around book on fracking yet” (San Francisco Chronicle), tells the story of this pioneer whose innovations, struggles, and perseverance represent the revolutionary changes taking place in American energy. In Superpower, we meet Skelly’s financial backers, a family who switched from oil exploration to renewable energy; farmers eager to embrace the new “cash crop”; landowners willing to go to court to avoid looking at overhead wires; and utility executives who devise ingenious ways to stymie renewable energy. Gold also demonstrates how Skelly’s innovative company, Clean Line Energy, came up with the idea for a new power grid that would allow sunlight to light up homes thousands of miles away in cloudy states, and wind from the Great Plains to keep Atlanta’s air conditioners running. Superpower is an exciting, provocative, and important look at America’s future.
Author: Russell Gold
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Superpower-Quest-Transform-American-Energy/dp/1501163582
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars (from 132 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #597,856 in Books
#217 in Oil & Energy Industry (Books)
#1,046 in Environmental Economics (Books)
#1,702 in Environmental Science (Books)
Travis Bradford is a Columbia University Professor of Professional Practice and the former director of the School of International and Public Affairs’ energy and environment graduate program. Every year, he teaches and develops curriculum for hundreds of graduate students from policy, business, sustainability, and engineering schools. He is the author of Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry, the founder and President of Prometheus Institute, and an energy and business strategy advisor to many public and private entities.
Travis Bradford, a fund manager and former corporate buyout specialist, argues in Solar Revolution that, based on standard business and economic forecasting models, solar energy will increasingly become the best and cheapest choice for most electricity and energy applications over the next two decades. The Solar Revolution outlines the path that will be taken to transition to solar technology and sustainable energy practices. It is considered one of the best books on energy.
Despite popular belief that PV technology only appeals to a premium niche market, advances in the photovoltaic (PV) industry over the last ten years have made direct electricity generation from PV cells a cost-effective and feasible energy solution. Bradford demonstrates that PV electricity is now the preferred choice of hundreds of thousands of mainstream homeowners and businesses worldwide, including Japan, Germany, and the American Southwest. Solar energy will eventually be the cheapest source of energy in nearly all markets and locations because PV can bypass the aging and fragile electricity grid and deliver power directly to the end user, fundamentally changing the energy economics. As the scale of PV production expands and costs continue to fall at historic rates, demand for PV electricity will continue to outpace supply for years to come. Finally, the transition from fossil fuels to solar energy will occur not because solar energy is better for the environment or energy security, nor because of future government subsidies or undeveloped technology. The solar revolution is already taking place as a result of decisions made by self-interested energy users. The transition to solar energy is unavoidable, and it will be as seismic as the previous century’s revolutions in information and communication technologies.
Author: Travis Bradford
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Solar-Revolution-Economic-Transformation-Industry/dp/026202604X
Ratings: 4.8 out of 5 stars (from 29 reviews)
#788 in Oil & Energy Industry (Books)
#5,011 in Environmental Economics (Books)
#6,914 in Environmental Science (Books)
Michael E. Webber is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources. He is also the author of the book Thirst for Power. He currently resides in Paris, France, as the Chief Scientific and Technical Officer for Engie, a global energy and infrastructure services company.
Energy is the most important resource for humanity. Indeed, as energy expert Michael E. Webber argues in Power Trip, the story of how societies rise is largely a story of how they manage energy sources over time. In 2019, we are at a crossroads, with rising demand for and accumulating environmental impacts from energy. The stakes are high. However, history demonstrates that the great value of energy is that it allows societies to reinvent themselves.
Power Trip investigates how energy has transformed societies throughout history and offers advice for today’s looming energy crisis. There is no silver bullet; energy advancements always come at a cost. Scientific innovation requires public funding. Energy initiatives must be tailored to the needs of individual societies. Long-term solutions must be sought. The current energy crisis is real, but it can be resolved.
Author: Michael E. Webber
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1541644395/
Ratings: 4.2 out of 5 stars (from 67 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #611,963 in Books
#223 in Oil & Energy Industry (Books)
#631 in History of Technology
#1,083 in Environmental Economics (Books)
A Question of Power
Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong and Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future are two of Robert Bryce’s previous books. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Austin Chronicle, Guardian, and National Review, among others.
Global power demand doubles every two decades, but electricity remains one of the most difficult forms of energy to supply reliably. Today, three billion people live in areas where per-capita electricity consumption is less than that of an average American refrigerator. How we address issues like women’s rights, inequality, and climate change will be determined by how we close the massive gap between the electricity rich and the electricity poor.
Veteran journalist Robert Bryce tells the human story of electricity, the world’s most important form of energy, in A Question of Power. He demonstrates how our cities, money, and very lives rely on reliable electricity flows through on-the-ground reporting from India, Iceland, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, New York, and Colorado. He emphasizes the factors required for successful electrification and explains why so many people remain in the dark.
With vivid writing and incisive analysis, he debunks the myth that renewables can meet all of our energy needs and demonstrates why, if we are serious about addressing climate change, nuclear energy must play a much larger role.
Electricity has ushered in a new era in human history. A Question of Power describes how this occurred and what it means for our future. The book is among the best books on energy.
Author: Robert Bryce
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1610397495/
Ratings: 4.6out of 5 stars (from 201 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #171,911 in Books
#68 in Oil & Energy Industry (Books)
#86 in History of Engineering & Technology
#146 in History of Technology