Energy: We want it affordable, we want it available in ample quantities and from reliable sources, and we want it to be produced and used in ways that are safe and environmentally benign. In other words, we want plenty of energy too cheap to meter and with no impact on the environment. Ha! With a refreshing lack of bias, this book dissects all major sources of energy, from oil and coal to renewables like solar and wind power. In an easy, understandable style, energy expert Joseph Dukert explains how each fits into the overall global energy mix that powers everything from automobiles and appliances to assembly lines and space stations.
As Dukert details, all energy sources have pluses and minuses. Those who champion any single energy source (or even energy efficiency by itself) as the sole answer to our energy problems are off track, he argues, as are the cynics who condemn one source or another or pooh-pooh the threat of global warming. In short, we need every significant source of energy we have today, while also making greater efforts to improve the efficiency of energy production and energy consumption.
Dukert also explores the choices made by individuals, businesses, and society as each group juggles conflicting, interconnected factors: affordability, reliability, adequacy of supply, environmental concerns, and time. In explaining why there's no magic bullet solution to the energy crisis, the author blends simple technical descriptions, economics, and real-world politics. Besides providing a cogent overview of a huge—and hugely important—industry, this short, comprehensive volume helps readers decide for themselves which choices are in their best interest. As Dukert suggests, energy independence is probably not a realistic goal for any country, but the search for a dynamic, practical energy balance can nonetheless result in a wiser national energy policy.