Meredith Angwin, Physical Chemist, Naturalist, Educator, Robert Bryce, author of “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper,” and many other books and articles about energy : The modern world depends on a few essential networks: telephone, GPS, and of course, the World Wide Web. And all of those networks rely on the mother network: the electric grid. In Shorting the Grid, Meredith Angwin provides an enormously valuable, clear, and succinct explanation of our most important network. She shows how it works, why it’s vulnerable, and why we should be concerned about what she lyrically calls the "angelic miracle of the power grid.”
Robert Bryce is author of “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper,” and many other books and articles about energy. There is a nearly direct relationship between reliable electricity and high living standards, About a billion people have little access to electricity. It’s no coincidence that they are also among the worst educated and the most impoverished. Another very large cohort is held back by intermittent electricity that costs too much. Universal, affordable kilowatts should be a cause for the 21st century. Not far into the future, electricity may be viewed as a human right—essential for a clean, comfortable, materially secure life.
Robert Bryce is author of “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper,” and many other books and articles about energy. Coal is denser, contains more energy, and is easier to handle than wood. Oil takes up half as much space as coal and can be transported easily and cheaply by pipeline. Natural gas can be used for many of the same purposes as oil, including terrestrial transportation, power generation, and space heating, but is now cheaper than oil (on a Btu basis). Gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal and creates far fewer air pollutants than either oil or coal. Electricity (which of course must be manufactured from coal, natural gas, oil, uranium or thorium) is extremely flexible, is easily transported via wires, and can be switched on or off with the flick of a switch. Using carbon-based fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas to create cleaner, more ordered forms of energy like electricity provides opportunities to use evermore sophisticated tools, with computers and lasers being prime examples of this trend.
Robert Bryce, author of “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper,” captures the headlong rush of Western culture’s endless drive for ever better technology. It is an extraordinary impulse that has created a world in which more people live longer and more comfortably than ever before. Mr. Bryce’s policy prescriptions will be more welcome in Houston than in the White House. He contends that the pantheon of environmentalists like Mr. Gore, Bill McKibben, Amory Lovins and Greenpeace are wildly optimistic in their extravagant hopes for wind power, solar cells and biofuels.