Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air

Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air

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We have an addiction to fossil fuels, and it's not sustainable. Howcan we replace fossil fuels? How can we ensure security of energysupply? How can we solve climate change?We're often told that "huge amounts of renewable power are available"- wind, wave, tide, and so forth. But our current power consumption isalso huge! To understand our sustainable energy crisis, we need toknow how the one "huge" compares with the other. We need numbers, notadjectives.This book shows how to estimate the numbers, and what those numbersdepend on. Taking the United Kingdom as an example, it asks first"could Britain live on renewable energy resources alone?" and second"how can a country like Britain make a realistic post-fossil-fuelenergy plan that adds up?" It answers these questions in detail,bringing home the size of the changes that society must undergo ifsustainable living is to be achieved. It's not going to be easy tomake an energy plan that adds up - but it is possible.A special feature of the book is that it avoids sensationalistnumbers. Where others deliberately use incomprehensibly large orsmall numbers to shock the reader, this book uses numbers andcomparisons to illuminate. For example, energy consumption andproduction are made accessible by expressing them in terms of theenergy used per person, per day.This book can also save you more than its cover price by helping youcut your energy bills!show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 196 x 226 x 30mm | 1,161.19g
  • UIT Cambridge
  • UIT
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1906860017
  • 9781906860011
  • 37,818

Review quote

The quest for safe, secure and sustainable energy poses one of the most critical challenges of our age. But how much energy do we need, and can we get it all from renewable sources? David MacKay sets out to find the answer through a forensic numerical analysis of what we use and what we can produce. His conclusions starkly reveal the difficult choices that must urgently be taken and readers interested in how we will power our society in the future will find this an illuminating read. For anyone with influence on energy policy, whether in government, business or a campaign group, this book should be compulsory reading. This is a technically precise and readable account of the challenges ahead. It will be a core reference on my shelf for many years to come. Tony Juniper Former Executive Director, Friends of the Earth Engagingly written, packed with useful information, and refreshingly factual. Peter Ainsworth MP Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs David MacKay sets out to dispel the half truths, distortions and nonsense which make up so much of what we're told about climate change and our energy needs. This book is readable, accessible and thorough. He cuts through unfounded opinion and takes us to facts and figures which speak for themselves. It's a useful guide for both layman and expert. I heartily recommend it. Graham Stuart MP This remarkable book from an expert in the energy field sets out, with enormous clarity and objectivity, the various alternative low-carbon pathways that are open to us. Policy makers, researchers, private sector decision makers, and NGOs, all will benefit from these words of wisdom. Sir David King FRS Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, 2000-08 Started reading your book yesterday. Took the day off work today so that I could continue reading it. It is a fabulous, witty, no-nonsense, valuable piece of work, and I am busy sending it to everyone I know. Matthew Sullivan Carbon Advice Group PlcThis is a really valuable contribution to the continuing discussion of energy policy. The author uses a potent mixture of arithmetic and common sense to dispel some myths and slay some sacred cows. The book is an essential reference work for anyone with an interest in energy who really wants to understand the numbers. Lord Oxburgh KBE FRS Former Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell This is a brilliant book that is both a racy read and hugely informative. Prof David Newbery FBA So much uninformed rhetoric is thrown about on climate change and energy systems that there is an urgent need for an authoritative study setting out just what can and cannot realistically be done to achieve sustainable energy. This hugely important book fills that gap both technically and highly readably. It should be a 'must read' not only at home and in industry, but on each Government Minister's desk, and not just in the UK. Michael Meacher MP Former Environment Minister David MacKay's book sets the standard for all future debate on energy policy and climate change. His dedication to the facts and to rational argument is admirable in a field beset by propaganda and wishful thinking on all sides, and even if his conclusions eventually date, as all scientific work must, his approach will live on for a very long time. David Howarth MP The choices that we make (or fail to make) in the coming years about sustainable energy will determine what world future generations will inherit. How do we arrive at rational decisions? In his book, David MacKay does not tell us what to choose but how to. Basic arithmetic is all it takes to distinguish between viable strategies and pipedreams. Anybody who feels responsible for the future of our society should read this book. Prof Daan Frenkel FRS A total delight to read. Extraordinarily clear and engaging. Chris Goodall Author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet David MacKay's book is an intellectually satisfying, refreshing contribution to really understanding the complex issues of energy supply and use. It debunks the emotional claptrap which passes for energy policy and puts real numbers into the equations. It should be read by everyone, especially politicians. Prof Ian Fells CBE Founder chairman of NaREC, the New and Renewable Energy Centre Preventing climate chaos will require sophisticated and well informed social, economic and technological choices. Economic and social 'laws' are not immutable - politicians can and should reshape economics to deliver renewable energy and lead cultural change to save energy - but MacKay reminds us that even they "canna change the laws of physics"! MacKay's book alone doesn't have all the answers, but it provides a solid foundation to help us make well-informed choices, as individuals and more importantly as societies. Duncan McLaren Chief Executive, Friends of the Earth Scotland MacKay brings a welcome dose of common sense into the discussion of energy sources and use. Fresh air replacing hot air. Prof Mike Ashby FRS Author of "Materials and the environment"By focusing on the metrics of energy consumption and production, in addition to the aspiration we all share for viable renewable energy, David MacKay's book provides a welcome addition to the energy literature. "Sustainable Energy - without the hot air" is a vast undertaking that provides both a practical guide and a reference manual. Perhaps ironically for a book on sustainable energy, MacKay's account of the numbers illustrates just how challenging replacing fossil fuel will be, and why both energy conservation and new energy technology are necessary. Darran Messem Vice President Fuel Development, Royal Dutch Shell This is a must read for anyone who wants to help heal our world. Carol Atkinson Chief Executive of BRE GlobalAt last a book that comprehensively reveals the true facts about sustainable energy in a form that is both highly readable and entertaining. A "must read" for all those who have a part to play in addressing our climate crisis. Robert Sansom Director of Strategy and Sustainable Development, EDF Energy So much has been written about meeting future energy needs that it hardly seems possible to add anything useful, but David MacKay has managed it. His new book is a delight to read and will appeal especially to practical people who want to understand what is important in energy and what is not. Like Lord Kelvin before him, Professor MacKay realises that in many fields, and certainly in energy, unless you can quantify something you can never properly understand it. As a result, his fascinating book is also a mine of quantitative information for those of us who sometimes talk to our friends about how we supply and use energy, now and in the future. Dr Derek Pooley CBE Former Chief Scientist at the Department of Energy, Chief Executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority and Member of the European Union Advisory Group on Energy The need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to find sustainable sources of energy is desperate. But much of the discussion has not been based on data on how energy is consumed and how it is produced. This book fills that need in an accessible form, and a copy should be in every household. Prof Robert Hinde CBE FRS FBA Executive Committee, Pugwash UK What a lovely book ... I feel better in a way that a cancer patient might feel after reading something in-depth about his disease. Richard Procter Beautifully clear and amazingly readable. Prof Willy Brown CBE I took it to the loo and almost didn't come out again. Matthew Mossshow more

About David J. C. MacKay

David MacKay is a Professor in the Department of Physics atCambridge University. He obtained his PhD in Computation and NeuralSystems at the California Institute of Technology. His researchinterests include reliable computation with unreliable hardware, andcommunication systems for the disabled. An acclaimed teacher and communicator,he has given popular public lectures on Sustainable Energy since 2005.He is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Climate more

Table of contents

Part I Numbers, not adjectives1 Motivations2 The balance sheet3 Cars4 Wind5 Planes6 Solar7 Heating and cooling8 Hydroelectricity9 Light10 Offshore wind11 Gadgets12 Wave13 Food and farming14 Tide15 Stuff16 Geothermal17 Public services18 Can we live on renewables?Part II Making a difference19 Every BIG helps20 Better transport21 Smarter heating22 Efficient electricity use23 Sustainable fossil fuels?24 Nuclear?25 Living on other countries' renewables?26 Fluctuations and storage27 Five energy plans for Britain28 Putting costs in perspective29 What to do now30 Energy plans for Europe, America, and the World31 The last thing we should talk aboutAcknowledgmentsPart III Technical chaptersA Cars IIB Wind IIC Planes IID Solar IIE Heating IIF Waves IIG Tide IIH Stuff III Storage IIJ Carbon IIIV Useful dataK TerminologyL Populations and areasM UK energy historyN Quick referenceList of web linksBibliographyIndexshow more

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739 ratings
4.37 out of 5 stars
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4 33% (244)
3 11% (80)
2 2% (15)
1 0% (3)
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