Energy and American Society - Thirteen Myths / Edition 1

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Current events related to energy policy – skyrocketing gasoline prices, the 2003 Northeast Blackout, the Kyoto Prool’s enactment, passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the influence of recent Gulf Coast hurricanes on energy supplies and prices – demand innovative approaches towards conceptualizing the relationship between energy and American society.

This book takes on a central quandary in the study of energy and environmental policy: What myths continue to exist in American culture concerning energy, the environment, and society? It enrolls twenty-four of the nation’s top experts working on energy policy in industry, government laboratories, utilities, nonprofit organizations, and universities to debunk and contextualize thirteen energy myths relating to electric power, renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and climate change.

While the book focuses on the American experience, it will be of interest to those working in the fields of energy policy, energy and the environment, and technology assessment worldwide.

‘This is a brilliant, bold, and fascinating book …that should be read by anybody even remotely concerned about energy, the environment, or the future of American society.’

Art Rosenfeld, Commissioner, California Energy Commission and recipient of the 2006 Enrico Fermi Award

‘…This work is a must-read for anyone interested in American energy policy.’

Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy

‘…By collecting the best minds to debunk the greatest of these myths, Sovacool and Brown have brought us a step closer to finding a national energy policy based on common sense.’

Chris Cooper, Executive Director, Network for New Energy Choices

‘… Sovacool and Brown provide a bold and imaginative way forward.’

John A. "Skip" Laitner, Visiting Fellow and Senior Economist, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

‘This is a brilliant, bold, and fascinating book. It is a work of stunning originality, combining traditional policy analysis with sociology, history, and philosophy to create a rich, textured account of the interactions between energy, culture, and technology. At a period of growing consumption and constrained energy supply in the United States, especially important are chapters assessing the remaining potential, reliability, and profuse benefits of energy efficiency practices and programs. It is a work that should be read by anybody even remotely concerned about energy, the environment, or the future of American society.’

(Art Rosenfeld, Commissioner, California Energy Commission and recipient of the 2006 Enrico Fermi Award)

‘While the diffuse energy challenges facing the country have never been so great, this book sheds important insight into how many of them might be managed and resolved.The myths debunked in this volume continue to complicate energy policy decisions and confound analysts, consumers, and politicians.This work is a must-read for anyone interested in American energy policy.’

(Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy)

‘For too long, U.S. energy policy has been directed by a series of canards so often repeated that they pass for common knowledge. By collecting the best minds to debunk the greatest of these myths, Sovacool and Brown have brought us a step closer to finding a national energy policy based on common sense.’

(Chris Cooper, Executive Director, Network for New Energy Choices)

‘Any thoughtful observer of U.S. energy production and consumption patterns might readily conclude that current energy policy has been driven more by myth and assumption than by even-handed assessment. As we work and build for the future - indeed, if we take seriously our responsibility to the future - our deliberations about smart energy policy must follow from a conscious and informed dialogue. Sovacool and Brown provide a bold and imaginative way forward.’

(John A. "Skip" Laitner, Visiting Fellow and Senior Economist, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)

"Considering how crucial solving our energy dilemmas will be to the nation’s future well-being, it would seem troubling how little consensus there is on basic elements in our energy policy. Benjamin K. Sovacool and Marilyn A. Brown take a step to address this matter with Energy and American Society: Thirteen Myths, new from Springer, in which the editors reach out to a broad range of policy experts to explode some of these misconceptions … . it tackles topics on a variety of issues." (The Electricity Journal, Vol. 20 (5), 2007)

"This book offers a valuable debunking of the various controversies surrounding energy policy … . The individual essay authors are experts from various energy-related disciplines and have picked 13 myths to discuss. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels." (J. C. Comer, Choice, Vol. 45 (1), 2007)

"The contributing authors, prominent scholars and practitioners succeed in varying degrees in exposing the myths and replacing them with the truths. The effect is rewarding to both technical and non-technical audiences since the book is written in plain English and is easily digested by anyone with a rudimentary background or interest in energy economics." (Fereidoon P. Sioshansi, Energy Policy, Vol. 35 (12), 2007)

"Benjamin K. Sovacool and Marilyn A. Brown, using a similar pedagogic device, have developed a list of thirteen of their own myths … . My wish is that this fine book would be more available to and more appealing to a wider audience. Its messages are too important … . The material on the Thirteen Myths deserves … a wide audience, an audience that is out there, interested, motivated, and—armed with the information in this book—capable of driving change." (Martin J. Pasqualetti, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 98 (2), 2008)

"Marilyn Brown and Benjamin Sovacool have done an excellent job of assembling a group of very qualified coauthors to produce this anthology of essays on energy and society in America. … For those wanting to explore the depths of energy illiteracy in America with definitive, detailed, and well-documented analysis, this book is a must read. From my own perspective, I really appreciate the range and depth of the topics covered along with the high quality of the writing." (Jeff Tester, Technology and Culture, Vol. 50, April, 2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789048173952
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 11/23/2010
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of hardcover 1st ed. 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 0.80 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is a Eugene P. Wigner Post-doctoral Fellow in Science Policy at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN. Previously, Dr. Sovacool served as a research analyst for the Consortium on Energy Restructuring, where he worked on a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Electric Power Networks Efficiency and Security Program investigating the social and legal impediments to renewable energy systems. He is also a former Senior Research Fellow at the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he assessed renewable energy potential for the state of Virginia.

Dr. Marilyn A. Brown is Chair of Energy Policy in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Brown is an internationally recognized expert on issues surrounding the commercialization of new energy and environmental technologies and the evaluation of government programs and policies. She has authored more than 150 publications and has been an expert witness in hearings before Committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. She is also a member of the National Commission on Energy Policy and the National Academies Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, and is a Certified Energy Manager.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors.- Introduction – The Compelling Tangle of Energy and American Society.- Energy Myth One – Today’s Energy Crisis is 'Hype'.- Energy Myth Two – The Public is Well Informed about Energy.- Energy Myth Three – High Land Requirements and an Unfavorable Energy Balance Preclude Biomass Ethanol from Playing a Large Role in Providing Energy Services.- Energy Myth Four – The Hydrogen Economy is a Panacea to the Nation’s Energy Problem.- Energy Myth Five – Price Signals are Insufficient to Induce Efficient Energy Investments.- Energy Myth Six – The Barriers to New and Innovative Energy Technologies are Primarily Technical: The Case of Distributed Generation (DG).- Energy Myth Seven – Renewable Energy Systems Could Never Meet Growing Electricity Demand in America.- Energy Myth Eight – Worldwide Power Systems are Economically and Environmentally Optimal.- Energy Myth Nine – Energy Efficiency Improvements Have Already Maximized Their Potential.- Energy Myth Ten – Energy Efficiency Measures are Unreliable, Unpredictable, and Unenforceable.- Energy Myth Eleven – Energy R&D Investment Takes Decades to Reach the Market.- Energy Myth Twelve – Climate Policy will Bankrupt the U.S. Economy.- Energy Myth Thirteen – Developing Countries Are Not Doing Their Part in Responding to Concerns about Climate Change.- Conclusions – Replacing Myths with Maxims: Rethinking the Relationship Between Society, Energy, the Future, and Sustainability.- Acronyms.- Index.

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