A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

by Robert Bryce
A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

by Robert Bryce


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An acclaimed author and celebrated journalist breaks down the history of electricity and the impact of global energy use on the world and the environment.​

Global demand for power is doubling every two decades, but electricity remains one of the most difficult forms of energy to supply and do so reliably. Today, some three billion people live in places where per-capita electricity use is less than what's used by an average American refrigerator. How we close the colossal gap between the electricity rich and the electricity poor will determine our success in addressing issues like women's rights, inequality, and climate change.
In A Question of Power, veteran journalist Robert Bryce tells the human story of electricity, the world's most important form of energy. Through onsite reporting from India, Iceland, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, New York, and Colorado, he shows how our cities, our money—our very lives—depend on reliable flows of electricity. He highlights the factors needed for successful electrification and explains why so many people are still stuck in the dark.
With vivid writing and incisive analysis, he powerfully debunks the notion that our energy needs can be met solely with renewables and demonstrates why—if we are serious about addressing climate change—nuclear energy must play a much bigger role.
Electricity has fueled a new epoch in the history of civilization. A Question of Power explains how that happened and what it means for our future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541736054
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 05/16/2023
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 367,386
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Robert Bryce is the acclaimed author of five previous books, including Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, and Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Austin Chronicle, Guardian, and National Review. He has given over 300 invited or keynote lectures to groups ranging from the Marine Corps War College to the Sydney Institute and has appeared on dozens of media outlets ranging from Fox News to Al Jazeera. Bryce is also the producer of a new feature-length documentary, Juice: How Electricity Explains the World. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction Barrio Antón Ruíz xvii

Part 1 Electricity Means Modernity

1 Electricity 101 3

2 The Transformative Power of Electricity 10

3 The Vertical City 22

4 The New (Electric) Deal 36

5 Wiring the Superpower 48

6 Women Unplugged 60

Part 2 Why Are Billions Still Stuck in the Dark? And What Are They Doing About It?

7 My Refrigerator Versus the World 73

8 The Power Imperatives: Integrity, Capital, and Fuel 80

9 The American Way of War 87

10 Beirut's Generator Mafia 96

11 It's Not Possible to Keep the Lights on Without Coal 105

Part 3 The View from on High-Watt

12 The New (Electric) Economy 119

13 Electrified Cash 133

14 Watts Into Weed 142

15 The Blackout Will Not Be Televised 152

Part 4 Twenty-First-Century Terawatts

16 The Terawatt Challenge 165

17 The All-Renewable Delusion 171

18 This Land Is My Land 189

19 The Nuclear Necessity 217

20 Future Grid 236

Conclusion 245

Appendix A 249

Appendix B 251

Notes 253

Bibliography 305

Index 309

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