I haven’t delved too far into McCain or Obama’s energy policies yet. I’ve looked at it a little bit and have some thoughts but I’m keeping them to myself for now. In the mean time, I’ll try and examine some energy related issues in order to get a better handle on things.
In that spirit, The Register in the UK has provided a review of Professor David J C MacKay’s online book examining energy related issues. MacKay is a professor in the Cambridge University Department of Physics. I’m going to try and provide my own in-depth review of the book. The Register’s review, while long (10 minutes of reading) is a good place to start.
MacKay’s book starts with a basic premise: “How can we replace fossil fuels? How can we ensure security of energy supply? 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 is also huge! To understand our sustainable energy crisis, we need to know how the one ‘huge’ compares with the other. We need numbers, not adjectives.”
MacKay’s book is focused on the United Kingdom. Any solution in the United States will take advantage of our unique potential: wind in some area; solar in other areas; nuclear in others? But much of what he writes about can at least be instructive for the United States. The economics of any particular solution will change from state to state and nation to nation but the underlying questions are the same.
This is and will be an absolutely massive undertaking that will require several decades to complete. Both patience and urgency are required.
Here is MacKay’s book, Sustainable Energy – without the hot air.