oday, the world faces an energy crisis. Fossil fuels are running out, and we need to find alternative energy sources to power our future. We’ve already used up many of the planet’s natural resources, and now we’re trying to figure out what will sustain us for generations to come. Different countries around the world are all experimenting with different types of sustainable energy. Some are using wind power, others are using solar power. There is no single source for all of this energy yet. One day, perhaps soon, we’ll have found the best type of sustainable energy to use, but until then it’s important to read about them! Here are some books on sustainable energies that you should read!
Best Books on Sustainable Energy: THE LIST
1. Sustainable Energy | By David MacKay
Addressing the sustainable energy crisis in an objective manner, this enlightening book analyzes the relevant numbers and organizes a plan for change on both a personal level and an international scale–for Europe, the United States, and the world. In case study format, this informative reference answers questions surrounding nuclear energy, the potential of sustainable fossil fuels, and the possibilities of sharing renewable power with foreign countries.
While underlining the difficulty of minimizing consumption, the tone remains positive as it debunks misinformation and clearly explains the calculations of expenditure per person to encourage people to make individual changes that will benefit the world at large.
If you’ve thrown your hands up in despair thinking no solution is possible, then read this book – it’s an honest, realistic, and humorous discussion of all our energy options.
2. Superpower | By Russell Gold
The United States is in the midst of an energy transition. We have fallen out of love with dirty fossil fuels and want to embrace renewable energy sources like wind and solar. A transition from a North American power grid that is powered mostly by fossil fuels to one that is predominantly clean is feasible, but it would require a massive building spree—wind turbines, solar panels, wires, and billions of dollars would be needed.
Enter Michael Skelly, an infrastructure builder who began working on wind energy in 2000 when many considered the industry a joke. Eight years later, Skelly helped build the second largest wind power company in the United States—and sold it for $2 billion. Wind energy was no longer funny—it was well on its way to powering more than 6% of electricity in the United States.
Award-winning journalist, Russel Gold tells Skelly’s story, which in many ways is the story of our nation’s evolving relationship with renewable energy. Gold illustrates how Skelly’s company, Clean Line Energy, conceived the idea for a new power grid that would allow sunlight where abundant to light up homes in the cloudy states thousands of miles away, and take wind from the Great Plains to keep air conditioners running in Atlanta. Thrilling, provocative, and important, Superpower is a fascinating look at America’s future.
3. The New Map | By Daniel Yergin
The world is being shaken by the collision of energy, climate change, and the clashing power of nations in a time of global crisis. Out of this tumult is emerging a new map of energy and geopolitics. The “shale revolution” in oil and gas has transformed the American economy, ending the “era of shortage” but introducing a turbulent new era. Almost overnight, the United States has become the world’s number one energy powerhouse. Yet concern about energy’s role in climate change is challenging the global economy and way of life, accelerating a second energy revolution in the search for a low-carbon future. All of this has been made starker and more urgent by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic dark age that it has wrought.
World politics is being upended, as a new cold war develops between the United States and China, and the rivalry grows more dangerous with Russia, which is pivoting east toward Beijing. Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are converging both on energy and on challenging American leadership, as China projects its power and influence in all directions. The South China Sea, claimed by China and the world’s most critical trade route, could become the arena where the United States and China directly collide. The map of the Middle East, which was laid down after World War I, is being challenged by jihadists, revolutionary Iran, ethnic and religious clashes, and restive populations. But the region has also been shocked by the two recent oil price collapses–and by the very question of oil’s future in the rest of this century.
A master storyteller and global energy expert, Daniel Yergin takes the reader on an utterly riveting and timely journey across the world’s new map. He illuminates the great energy and geopolitical questions in an era of rising political turbulence and points to the profound challenges that lie ahead.
4. Reinventing Fire | By Amore Lovins
Oil and coal have built our civilization, created our wealth, and enriched the lives of billions. Yet, their rising costs to our security, economy, health, and environment now outweigh their benefits. Moreover, that long-awaited energy tipping point―where alternatives work better than oil and coal and compete purely on cost―is no longer decades in the future. It is here and now. And it is the fulcrum of economic transformation.
In Reinventing Fire, Amory Lovins and Rocky Mountain Institute offer a new vision to revitalize business models, end-run Washington gridlock, and win the clean-energy race―not forced by public policy but led by business for enduring profit. This groundbreaking roadmap reveals market-based solutions across the transportation, building, industry, and electricity sectors. It highlights pathways and competitive strategies for a 158%-bigger 2050 U.S. economy that needs no oil, no coal, no nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas, and no new inventions.
This transition would cost $5 trillion less than business-as-usual―without counting fossil fuels’ huge hidden costs. It requires no new federal taxes, subsidies, mandates, or laws. The policy innovations needed to unlock and speed it need no Act of Congress.
Whether you care most about profits and jobs, national security, health, or environmental stewardship, Reinventing Fire charts a pragmatic course that makes sense and makes money. With clarity and mastery, Lovins and RMI point out the astounding opportunities for enterprise to create the new energy era.
Drawing praise President Bill Clinton, former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, and a host of others, Reinventing Fire has piqued the interest of world leaders, business leaders, and political strategists.
5. Sustainable Energy | By Jefferson W. Tester
Human survival depends on a continuing supply of energy, but the need for ever-increasing amounts of it poses a dilemma: How can we find energy sources that are sustainable and ways to convert and utilize energy that are more efficient? This widely used textbook is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students as well as others who have an interest in exploring energy resource options and technologies with a view toward achieving sustainability on local, national, and global scales. It clearly presents the tradeoffs and uncertainties inherent in evaluating and choosing sound energy portfolios and provides a framework for assessing policy solutions.
The second edition examines the broader aspects of energy use, including resource estimation, environmental effects, and economic evaluations; reviews the main energy sources of today and tomorrow, from fossil fuels and nuclear power to biomass, hydropower, and solar energy; treats energy carriers and energy storage, transmission, and distribution; addresses end-use patterns in the transportation, industrial, and building sectors; and considers synergistic complex systems. This new edition also offers updated statistical data and references; a new chapter on the complex interactions among energy, water, and land use; expanded coverage of renewable energy; and new color illustrations. Sustainable Energy addresses the challenges of making responsible energy choices for a more sustainable future.
6. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster | By Bill Gates
Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet’s slide to certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.
He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions—suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise.
7. The Third Industrial Revolution | By Jeremey Rifkin
The Industrial Revolution, powered by oil and other fossil fuels, is spiraling into a dangerous endgame. The price of gas and food are climbing, unemployment remains high, the housing market has tanked, consumer and government debt is soaring, and the recovery is slowing. Facing the prospect of a second collapse of the global economy, humanity is desperate for a sustainable economic game plan to take us into the future.
Here, Jeremy Rifkin explores how Internet technology and renewable energy are merging to create a powerful “Third Industrial Revolution.” He asks us to imagine hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes, offices, and factories, and sharing it with each other in an “energy internet,” just like we now create and share information online.
Rifkin describes how the five-pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution will create thousands of businesses, millions of jobs, and usher in a fundamental reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct commerce, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic life.
Rifkin’s vision is already gaining traction in the international community. The European Union Parliament has issued a formal declaration calling for its implementation, and other nations in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, are quickly preparing their own initiatives for transitioning into the new economic paradigm.
The Third Industrial Revolution is an insider’s account of the next great economic era, including a look into the personalities and players ― heads of state, global CEOs, social entrepreneurs, and NGOs ― who are pioneering its implementation around the world.
8. Renewable | By Jeremy Shere
Science writer Jeremy Shere shows us in Renewable: The World-Changing Power of Alternative Energy that energy is anything but magical. Producing it in fossil fuel form is a dirty, expensive―but also hugely profitable― enterprise, with enormous but largely hidden costs to the entire planet. The cold, hard fact is that at some point we will have wrung the planet dry of easily accessible sources of fossil fuel. And when that time comes, humankind will have no choice but to turn―or, more accurately, return―to other, cleaner, renewable energy sources. What will those sources be? How far have we come to realizing the technologies that will make these sources available?
To find the answers, Shere began his journey with a tour of a traditional coal-fueled power plant in his home state of Indiana. He then continued on, traveling from coast to coast as he spoke to scientists, scholars and innovators. He immersed himself in the green energy world: visiting a solar farm at Denver’s airport, attending the Wind Power Expo and a wind farm tour in Texas, investigating turbines deep in New York City’s East River, and much more.
Arranged in five parts―Green Gas, Sun, Wind, Earth, and Water―Renewable tells the stories of the most interesting and promising types of renewable energy: namely, biofuel, solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. But unlike many books about alternative energy, Renewable is not obsessed with megawatts and tips for building home solar panels. Instead, Shere digs into the rich, surprisingly long histories of these technologies, bringing to life the pioneering scientists, inventors, and visionaries who blazed the way for solar, wind, hydro, and other forms of renewable power, and unearthing the curious involvement of great thinkers like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Nicola Tesla.
We are at an important crossroads in the history of renewable technologies. The possibilities are endless and enticing, and it has become increasingly clear that renewable energy is the way of the future. In Renewable, Jeremy Shere’s natural curiosity and serious research come together in an entertaining and informative guide to where renewable energy has been, where it is today, and where it’s heading.
9. The Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook | By Slobodan Petrovic
This book is a concise reader-friendly introductory guide to understanding renewable energy technologies. By using simplified classroom-tested methods developed while teaching the subject to engineering students, the authors explain in simple language an otherwise complex subject in terms that enable readers to gain a rapid fundamental understanding of renewable energy, including basic principles, the different types, energy storage, grid integration, and economies. This powerful tutorial is a great resource for students, engineers, technicians, analysts, investors, and other busy professionals who need to quickly acquire a solid understanding of the science of renewable energy technology.
10. How Bad Are Bananas? | By Mike Berners-Lee
Is it more environmentally friendly to ride the bus or drive a hybrid car? In a public washroom, should you dry your hands with paper towel or use the air dryer? And how bad is it really to eat bananas shipped from South America?
Climate change is upon us whether we like it or not. Managing our carbon usage has become a part of everyday life and we have no choice but to live in a carbon-careful world. The seriousness of the challenge is getting stronger, demanding that we have a proper understanding of the carbon implications of our everyday lifestyle decisions. However most of us don’t have sufficient understanding of carbon emissions to be able to engage in this intelligently.
Part green-lifestyle guide, part popular science, How Bad Are Bananas? is the first book to provide the information we need to make carbon-savvy purchases and informed lifestyle choices, and to build carbon considerations into our everyday thinking. It also helps put our decisions into perspective with entries for the big things (the World Cup, volcanic eruptions, and the Iraq war) as well as the small (email, ironing a shirt, a glass of beer). And it covers the range from birth (the carbon footprint of having a child) to death (the carbon impact of cremation). Packed full of surprises-a plastic bag has the smallest footprint of any item listed, while a block of cheese is bad news-the book continuously informs, delights, and engages the reader.
Highly accessible and entertaining, solidly researched and referenced, packed full of easily digestible figures, catchy statistics, and informative charts and graphs, How Bad Are Bananas? is doesn’t tell people what to do, but it will raise awareness, encourage discussion, and help people to make up their own minds based on their own priorities.
11. Solar Power Your Home For Dummies | By Rik DeGunther
Want to take advantage of solar power in your home? Whether you’re looking to save on your energy costs by adding a few solar components or you want to build a solar-powered house from the ground up, Solar Power For Dummies, 2nd Edition takes the mystery out of this energy source and shows you how to put it to work for you!
This new edition gives you hands-on tips and techniques for making your home more energy-efficient though solar power—and helping the planet at the same time. Plus, you’ll get all the latest information on changes to federal, state, and local regulations, laws, and tax incentives that seek to make solar-power adoption more feasible.
- Expanded coverage of the technology that underpins full-scale solar-power systems for the home
- New small- and mid-sized solar products, projects, and applications
- Rik DeGunther is a design engineer who started his own energy consulting firm
Featuring ten of the easiest and cheapest DIY solar projects, Solar Power For Dummies, 2nd Edition is the fun and easy way to meet your energy needs with this clean power source!
12. Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes | By Aldo da Rosa
Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, Fourth Edition provides accessible coverage of clean, safe alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. Aldo da Rosa’s classic and comprehensive resource has provided thousands of engineers, scientists, students and professionals alike with a thorough grounding in the scientific principles underlying the complex world of renewable energy technologies. The fourth edition has been fully updated and revised by new author Juan Ordonez, Director of the Energy and Sustainability Center at Florida State University, and includes new worked examples, more exercises, and more illustrations to help facilitate student learning.
With step-by-step instructions, tools and materials lists, exploded views, and easy-to-understand techniques, even if you are only moderately handy, you’ll discover how to build your own feeders, fences, and structures. In the process, you’ll save money and have the satisfaction of doing it yourself!
13. Energy Myths and Realities | By Vaclav Smil
There are many misconceptions about the future of global energy often presented as fact by the media, politicians, business leaders, activists, and even scientists―wasting time and money and hampering the development of progressive energy policies. Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge.
When will the world run out of oil? Should nuclear energy be adopted on a larger scale? Are ethanol and wind power viable sources of energy for the future? Vaclav Smil advises the public to be wary of exaggerated claims and impossible promises. The global energy transition will be prolonged and expensive―and hinges on the development of an extensive new infrastructure. Established technologies and traditional energy sources are persistent and adaptable enough to see the world through that transition.
Energy Myths and Realities brings a scientific perspective to an issue often dominated by groundless assertions, unfounded claims, and uncritical thinking. Before we can create sound energy policies for the future, we must renounce the popular myths that cloud our judgment and impede true progress.
14. Alternative Energy for Dummies | By Rik DeGunther
The myths and facts about alternative fuels–and how they impact our lives
As the price of energy continues to soar, so too has the demand for alternative energy. But there’s no clear “winner” in the race to replace fossil fuels. Alternative Energy For Dummies explores the current fossil fuel conundrum and society’s growing need for more and more energy. Cutting through the competing claims, this book offers a multifaceted examination of alternative energy, including solar, wind, nuclear, biomass, geothermal, biofuel, and other sources. Each alternative scenario is compared to current fossil-fuel intensive practices in the scientific, environmental, social, political, and economic realms. Readers also gain insight into the future of energy production.
15. Renewable Energy | By Bent Sorensen
Bent Sørensen’s Renewable Energy: Physics, Engineering, Environmental Impacts, Economics and Planning, Fifth Edition, continues the tradition by providing a thorough and current overview of the entire renewable energy sphere. Since its first edition, this standard reference source helped put renewable energy on the map of scientific agendas. Several renewable energy solutions no longer form just a marginal addition to energy supply, but have become major players, with the promise to become the backbone of an energy system suitable for life in the sustainability lane.
This volume is a problem-solving tool for engineers, researchers, students, consultants, and planners currently working in the field, as well as a detailed map of the renewables universe for those looking to expand into new technological specialties, offering the most comprehensive coverage of the subject available.
The book has been structured around three parts in order to assist readers in focusing on the issues that impact them the most for a given project or question. PART I covers the basic scientific principles behind all major renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, and biomass. PART II provides in-depth information about how these raw renewable sources can actually be converted into useful forms, transmitted into the grid, and stored for future utilization. Finally, PART III undertakes the aspects of energy planning, environmental impacts, and socio-economic issues on regional and global levels.
In this new edition, Sørensen presents his audience with updated data about renewables market penetration, current insights on climate change, the most recent available technology for renewable energy conversion, transmission and storage, and revised planning scenarios and the future outlook.
16. The Rare Metals War | By Guillaume Pitron
Rare metals are essential to electric vehicles, fighter jets, wind turbines, and solar panels, and also to our smartphones, computers, tablets, and other everyday connected objects. But consumers know very little about how they are mined and traded, or the environmental, economic, and geopolitical costs of this dependence.
This book reveals the dark side of the world that awaits us. It is an undercover tale of a technological odyssey that has promised much, and a look behind the scenes. Behind it all lurks China, which has captured the lion’s share of the ownership and processing of rare metals we now can’t do without. Drawing on six years of research across a dozen countries, this book shows that by breaking free of fossil fuels, we are in fact setting ourselves up for a new dependence―on rare metals that have become vital to our new ecological and digital society.
17. Understanding Renewable Energy Systems | By Volker Quaschning
Now updated and expanded, the 2nd edition of this textbook covers the full range of renewable energy systems and now also includes such current trends as solar power storage, power-to-gas technologies, and the technology paths needed for a successful and complete energy transition. The topics are treated in a holistic manner, bringing together maths, engineering, climate studies and economics, and enabling readers to gain a broad understanding of renewable energy technologies and their potential.Numerous examples are provided for calculations, and graphics help visualize the various technologies and mathematical methodologies. Understanding Renewable Energy Systems is an ideal companion for students of renewable energy at universities or technical colleges on courses such as renewable energy, electrical engineering, engineering technology, physics, process engineering, building engineering, environment, applied mechanics and mechanical engineering, as well as scientists and engineers in research and industry.
18. Renewable Energy Resources | By John Twidell
Renewable Energy Resources is a numerate and quantitative text. It covers the many renewables technologies implemented worldwide by harnessing sustainable resources, mitigating pollution and climate change, and providing cost effective services.
This 4th edition is extensively updated by John Twidell with global developments as underpinned by fundamental analysis and illustrated by case studies and worked examples. Efficiency of end-use and cost effectiveness is emphasized. Each chapter begins with fundamental scientific theory, and then considers applications, environmental impact and socio-economic aspects, before concluding with Quick Questions for self-revision, Problems and new Exercises. Basic theory underlying the technologies is covered in succinct Reviews of electrical power, fluid dynamics, heat transfer and solid-state physics. Common symbols and cross-referencing apply throughout; essential data are tabulated in Appendices.
Renewable Energy Resources supports multi-disciplinary master’s degrees in science and engineering, and specialist modules at undergraduate level. Practicing scientists and engineers will find it a useful introductory text and reference book.
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Sustainable Energy
Science writer Jeremy Shere shows us that energy is anything but magical. Producing it in fossil fuel form is a dirty, expensive and hugely profitable enterprise, with enormous but largely hidden costs to the entire planet. The possibilities are endless and enticing, and it has become increasingly clear that renewable energy is the way of the future. In Renewable, Shere’s natural curiosity and serious research come together in an entertaining and informative guide to where renewable energy has been, where it is today, and where it’s heading.
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.
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