Summary and Info
As another reviewer has pointed out this book will not be easy going for everyone. A lot of it written in rather a dry style and is dense with good points. i.e. it is not written in the style of a popular science book. On the other hand this is what makes it so interesting and convincing in its arguments.
The other thing I liked about it was that it takes a very broad view of different energy sources and considers their implications at every level. One of the main points is that when considering the efficiency of an energy source one should account for the energy wasted at every stage of the supply chain rather than the amount of energy going into and coming out of the generation plant. For example the supply chain for coal is Mining - Refining - Shipping - Coal-fired power station - National grid (high voltage) - NG (medium voltage) - Distribution (low voltage). Many of these are energy intensive processes. The supply chain for nuclear is even worse. Compare that to the on-site generation solar supply chain: PV installation - Distribution (indefinitely at no further cost). Many of the true costs of the fossil fuel supply chain is not paid by the consumer or even by the companies involved in supply. The author also considers the social costs involved, which many people seem to be willing to ignore.
There are also some good insights into the oil industry. The most interesting one that comes to mind is how the oil using industries are dependent on each other for the cheap prices of oil. When crude oil is refined the proportions of different products cannot be varied to a great degree. A certain proportion will be kerosene for plane fuel, a certain proportion will be for automobile fuel, a certain proportion usable by the chemicals industry and so on. If the demand for automobile fuel decreases due to efficient engines and the demand from other industries stays the same then the other industries oil prices will go up to cover the cost. This gives the reason for the chemicals industry's opposal to fuel duty. This gives all oil using industries an incentive to keep their demand in line with everybody else's i.e. steadily increasing.
An inspiring book that doesn't rely on its writing style. It gets by purely on its ideas.
More About the Author
Hermann Scheer (29 April 1944 – 14 October 2010) was a Social Democrat member of the German Bundestag (parliament), President of Eurosolar (European Association for Renewable Energy) and General Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy.
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