If you are looking for more of the conventional wisdom about energy, put this book down right now. In Power Hungry, Robert Bryce powerfully debunks many of the claims you’ve been hearing about America’s energy future.
Armed with a supertanker-load of fully footnoted facts and a panoply of revealing graphics, Bryce explains why most of the hype about renewable energy and “green” technology is just that—hype. Using elementary math and basic physics, Bryce shows why renewable sources like wind and solar are not “green” and why they cannot provide the scale of energy that the world demands. He goes on to eviscerate the notion that the United States wastes huge amounts of energy. Indeed, the facts show that over the past three decades the United States has been among the world’s best at reducing its energy intensity, carbon intensity, and per-capita energy use.
Electric cars? Bryce explains why they are the Next Big Thing ... and always will be. T. Boone Pickens? Simple math shows that the Dallas-based billionaire and his much-ballyhooed Pickens Plan are all hat and no cattle. Denmark as a model for being “energy smart”? Despite huge increases in wind generation capacity, the numbers show that Denmark has not reduced its coal consumption or carbon dioxide emissions.
The United States has built a $14-trillion-per-year economy based on hydrocarbons: coal, oil, and natural gas. We cannot—and will not—quit using carbon-based fuels for this simple reason: they provide the power that we crave. Nine out of every ten units of energy we consume come from hydrocarbons.
Power Hungry proves that what we want isn’t energy at all—it’s power. Bryce masterfully deciphers essential terms like power density, energy density, joules, watts, and horsepower to illuminate the differences between political rhetoric and reality. Then he methodically details how the United States can lead the global transition to a cleaner, lower-carbon future by embracing the fuels of the future, a future that can be summarized as N2N: natural gas to nuclear. The United States sits atop galaxies of natural gas, enough to last a hundred years. By using that gas in parallel with new nuclear technologies, America can boost its economy while benefiting the environment.
Power Hungry delivers a smart, contrarian view of what America has “in the tank” and what will be needed to transform the gargantuan global energy sector.