By William Mashburn Sr.
WILLIAM MASHBURN SR. Is professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech and is executive director of the Institute of Energy Professionals.
Daniel Yergin is one of the most influential voices on energy in the world, and a highly respected authority on international politics and economics. In this book, he gives an unbiased account of the many facets of energy. It is a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them.
He documents the drama of oil — the struggle for access, the battle for control, the insecurity of supply — and how it continues to profoundly affect our world. He lists the new sources that are constantly being discovered, and discusses the often poised question — is the world running out of oil? He continues with the natural gas revolution and the issues with fracking.
The electric age is discussed from Edison and the decision for alternating current to fuel choices of the future. Climate and carbon topics go from glacial changes to the international conferences that have been held and the continued search for consensus.
The history of renewables, with many of their early failures, covers their rebirth and the relatively minor impact on the electric industry. A discussion of the electric car leads into the question “where does the additional electric power come from?” Of all the “new energies” Yergin discusses, he says the “fifth wheel” is efficiency with the most potential of all. He points out the deficiency of trained personnel in this field.
This is a lengthy book, but so well written it is more like a novel than a documentary on energy. Once into it, one is compelled to complete it. For a broader and more complete understanding of the energy issues facing us now and in the future, I strongly recommend this book for energy professionals and concerned citizens wishing to voice their opinions on energy matters in a factual manner.