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Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil
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Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil [Format Kindle]

Robert Rapier

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Many people wonder: Are we really running out of oil, or is it all a ruse to drive prices up? Is nuclear power safe and economical? Is solar energy really the key to providing plenty of carbon-free energy? Do we have enough natural gas or coal to make any loss of oil production irrelevant?

In Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil, energy expert Robert Rapier helps readers sort through energy hype, doom and gloom, and misinformation to understand what really matters in energy, and how it impacts individuals, investors, businesspeople, and policy makers worldwide. The book covers the overall global energy situation, the particular risks for the U.S. with its present energy mix, the energy outlook for the developed world and emerging economies like China and India, what peak oil really means, and the present and likely future of natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear power, and alternative energy sources.

The book also addresses common misconceptions. For instance, most readers are likely unaware that the U.S. is the third-largest oil producer in the world. Or that Canada leads the U.S. in per capita oil consumption. It will also highlight interesting facts—for example, China has solved part of its energy challenge by mandating solar hot water systems in all new construction. Most importantly, the book will provide specific energy insights unavailable elsewhere and help individuals and business planners chart future actions and decisions.

With the disaster at Fukushima, the discovery of the Marcellus shale natural gas deposits, the increasing efficiency of solar electricity installations, and the unsustainable supply of oil, the energy outlook has changed greatly over the last couple of years. What’s now required is just what this book delivers: a sober, even-handed account of our energy resources, present and future, that will help people plan for a world without cheap energy.

What you’ll learn

  • Why oil prices have increased so dramatically over the past decade, and the impact of depending on oil imports
  • What peak oil really means, and how it will affect you
  • The economics of various energy sources and the probable changes in supply, demand, and hence price
  • Why carbon emissions are likely to continue to rise
  • The implications of the shale gas revolution on U.S. energy supplies
  • The pros and cons of nuclear power and coal-fired generating plants
  • Why alternative energy sources aren't yet ready to solve our energy challenges
  • How to make better energy-related decisions

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone who wants to enhance their basic understanding of energy and learn to separate facts from misinformation. The book will also help readers to understand the costs, benefits, and inherent trade-offs for each of our major energy options, making it particularly useful for business strategists, policy makers, public servants, and investors.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. All About Energy: Dependence and Disconnect
Chapter 2. Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power: Powering Modern Civilization
Chapter 3. Renewable Energy: Energy of the Past and the Future
Chapter 4. Energy Production: From the Source to the Consumer
Chapter 5. Global Warming: How Do You Stop a Hurricane?
Chapter 6. Peak Oil: Myth or Threat to Civilization?
Chapter 7. Nuclear Power: Practical Solution or Environmental Disaster?
Chapter 8. Risk and Uncertainty: Energy Security Challenges
Chapter 9. Reducing the Risks: Policies to Enhance Energy Security
Chapter 10. Investing in Cleantech: A Guide to Technical Due Diligence
Chapter 11. The Race to Replace Oil: Alternative Transportation Fuels
Chapter 12. Oil-Free Transp...

Biographie de l'auteur

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.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well written, packed with easy to understand info 5 avril 2012
Par Sam - Publié sur
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.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 With energy, there is no such things as a free lunch 4 avril 2012
Par David Runyon - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
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.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Our Global Energy Options in a Nutshell 8 avril 2012
Par Russell Finley - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
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.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Must Read for Engaging in Alternative Energy Discussions 29 mai 2012
Par CSM - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
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.

While I have been reluctant to cede Robert's point of view on occasions, I have to admit that he has the credentials to challenge some base assumptions about the sustainability and the energy efficiency of many biofuels projects. He is one of the most respected writers on The Oil Drum community blog and Consumer Energy Report. His bio reports "he 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." He has a MS in Chemical Engineering and was a Process Engineering Team Leader for ConocoPhillips in Aberdeen, Scotland for six years.

He is occasionally accused of being stubborn and "brusque" but in the midst of overt hype about alternative fuel technologies, it is worthwhile submitting technologies to a skeptical eye - particularly if you are an investor. One of his favorite topics of discussion is promoting "due diligence" to reduce the risk of investment. It merits a full chapter in the current book and a summary list of ten indicators which should be on every analyst's "must consider" list.

His chapter on U.S. Energy Politics gives an interpretation of each of the last eight administrations' (starting with Nixon) declarations for energy independence. It is a subject about which much is promised but not much is achieved. The time is now and I hope this book get broad circulation among policymakers who might otherwise hew to the party line.

I think this book provides much needed information for planning ahead to meet an unpredictable energy future. As Robert affirms at the end, we must not take the availability of our energy resources or our energy future for granted. The longer range we plan now the better able we will be to meet the challenges ahead.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Power Plays by Robert Rapier 16 avril 2012
Par jerryunruh - Publié sur
Review of Power Plays by Robert Rapier

Power Plays is an excellent book, particularly for those who know little about energy issues but want to learn and understand the intricacies of energy in all of its forms. The data is current and, for the most part, the arguments are well balanced and relatively unbiased. Where the author holds an opinion, it is clearly stated so there is no ambiguity about his views.

I was particularly pleased with the discussions around "energy return on energy invested" (EROEI) and net energy in Chapter 8. The arguments were quite clear and should help clear up an area of considerable misunderstanding. The discussion of peak oil in Chapter 6 is excellent, particularly his definition of "Peak Lite". It certainly makes sense that there are two ways to look at peak oil - an absolute production peak that is never exceeded and a series of peaks when supply cannot keep up with demand so that production and price fluctuate. The discussion of the difference between resource and reserves is important; it seems to me the experts often mix this one up.

I was disappointed in the Chapter 5 on global warming (full disclosure: I reviewed this chapter and Robert mentioned my disappointment in the Acknowledgments). Despite the shrill language of those who doubt the reality of climate change, it is really scientifically well established. And, at this time, the severity of anthropogenic climate change appears to be on the high side of the projections. To be fair, throughout the book he covers the paths that must be followed in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change rather well. After all, the solutions to the climate change problem are the same as for fossil fuel depletion. Therefore, my initial criticism of the chapter is now more muted.

One other minor criticism is related to ethanol from corn in Chapter 13. In the past Robert has spent so much effort defining the energy balance of ethanol from corn, this should have been discussed in Chapter 13. He did make brief mention if it in the EROEI/net energy section of Chapter 8, but I think it could have been more fully discussed in Chapter 13.

In summary, I think the book is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone interested in developing an understanding of world energy issues. I trust that my criticism of certain parts of the book will not constrain anyone from buying the book. In order to be true to Robert and myself, I thought it important to mention them.
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