Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, the Global Economy, and What It Means To You

Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, the Global Economy, and What It Means To You

by Jason Makansi


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A behind-the-scenes exposure why our electricity system is headed for a state of emergency-and what can be done to head it off

Most people don't realize that skyrocketing global energy demand and economic growth severely affect the supply of electricity. Between production (power plants) and delivery is an antiquated, "third-world" transmission grid that is in desperate need of hardening against breakdowns, terrorist attacks, inadequate carrying capacity, and operational obsolescence. And while electricity doesn't hold the headlines or dramatic power of oil, the ability to ensure its uninterrupted supply at a reasonable price is even more essential to global survival and prosperity. Lights Out is today's most detailed, in-depth examination of this largely unreported looming energy crisis. Written by one of the world's top electricity industry experts, this powerful book covers numerous hot button economic and political issues-free markets versus regulation; energy independence versus foreign imports; nuclear power, global warming, and other environmental issues; and much more. Beyond just uncovering and illuminating the problems, however, it proposes a comprehensive road map of technical solutions and regulatory reform from both the production and demand sides of the equation-a framework for rethinking, rebuilding, and enhancing the entire electricity production and delivery infrastructure. Prescriptive and provocative, Lights Out will redefine the simmering debate on how the world can-and must-act now to head off a global catastrophe, one that could eventually wreak even more havoc than the ongoing oil crisis.

Jason Makansi is the President of Pearl Street, Inc., a consulting firm; Principal of PS Liquidity Advisors, an advisory service for energy technology companies raising capital; and Executive Director of the Energy Storage Council, a public-policy advocacy organization. A prolific author, respected industry thought leader, and seasoned communicator, Mr. Makansi has been analyzing the technological, business, and regulatory issues in electricity production and delivery for over twenty-five years. He earned a BS in chemical engineering from Columbia University. His earlier books include An Investor’s Guide to the Electricity Economy, also published by John Wiley & Sons, and Managing Steam: An Engineering Guide to Commercial, Industrial, and Utility Systems.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470109182
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 06/04/2007
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

Jason Makansi is the President of Pearl Street, Inc., a consulting firm he founded in 2000 focused on all aspects of electricity production and delivery. He has launched multiple businesses serving the electricity industry, including an investment fund, an advisory service for companies raising capital, and a public-policy advocacy organization. A prolific author and respected industry thought leader, Makansi has been researching and analyzing the technological, business, and regulatory issues in electricity production and delivery for over twenty-five years. He earned a BS in chemical engineering from Columbia University. Makansi is the author of An Investor's Guide to the Electricity Economy, also published by Wiley, and Managing Steam: An Engineering Guide to Commercial, Industrial, and Utility Systems.

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Table of Contents



Part One. The Worst-Case Scenario.

Chapter 1. Night of the Living Dead.

Chapter 2. The Production and Delivery Value Chain.

Chapter 3. Around the World, Around Town.

Chapter 4. Preventing the Worst Case.

Part Two. Insecurities, Vulnerabilities, and An Uneasy State of the Industry.

Chapter 5. Why a First-World Country Has a Third-World Grid.

Chapter 6. Living with a Transaction Economy.

Chapter 7. The Brain Drain.

Chapter 8. Environmental Imperatives.

Chapter 9. Houston, We Have a Problem.

Chapter 10. The Impact of Lengthening Supply Lines: How Elastic Are They?

Part Three. Fighting "The Last War," Planning the Next One.

Chapter 11. It's That '70s Show.

Chapter 12. Sticker Shock (Without the Sticker).

Chapter 13. Electricity Storage.

Chapter 14. Coal: Extracting Its Full Value.

Chapter 15. Exercising the Nuclear Option.

Chapter 16. Savvy Consumption, Empowering Ratepayers.

Chapter 17. Distributed Power.

Chapter 18. Redefining the Grid with Real Intelligence.

Chapter 19. The Rest of the World.

Chapter 20. A Vision For The Future: Daydream, Nightmare, or a Good Night's Rest?

Postscript: Personal Accountability.


About the Author.


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Lights Out is a fast paced, no-holds-barred account of what is wrong in our electricity sector and how we might get it back on track, written by someone who has been in the business long enough to know what he is writing about."
—Leonard Hyman, author of America's Electric Utilities: Past, Present, and Future

"Jason Makansi gives us a succinct, insightful view of recent electricity problems. His lively, provocative writing explains the mysteries of the technology, the politics, the regulation, and the market manipulation. Parts of the book may make you mad, but you won't be able to put it down and you will always be learning something."—Lester Lave, PhD, Professor of Economics and Codirector, Electricity Industry Center, Carnegie Mellon University

"This new work is provocative, factual, and will make you think about the situation we face. It is a must-read for anyone even slightly interested in the adequacy of the U.S. power sector and what the future may hold. Industry, regulatory, and political leaders need to read this to see the possible end results of their decisions."—Barry Worthington, Executive Director, United States Energy Association

"Jason Makansi's long history in the electricity business has given him keen insights into the inner workings of the utility industry, and his examples and illustrations, based on his personal attempts at demand side management at home with his family, give a lighter background to what is a profound and sometimes alarming thesis."—Geoffrey R. Egan, PhD, President, APTECH Engineering Services, Inc.

"This book enables even the novice to understand clearly the multifaceted issues facing an electricity-thirsty world. This book lays the foundation for understanding how complex power generation and delivery truly is, and is a clarion call to citizens and consumers worldwide alike to become more informed and more involved."—Timothy McCreary, President, HF Controls

"This thoroughly researched and well-documented discourse explores the litany of issues plaguing the energy industry today. Lights Out will challenge your critical thinking skills and may cause you to question your position on the issues. More importantly, Lights Out proposes realistic solutions that even our elected representatives can comprehend and should seriously consider."—Dr. Robert V. Peltier, PE, Editor in Chief, Power magazine

"Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, The Global Economy, And What it Means to You points out a troubling reality in today's world—too many people take the electric power infrastructure for granted. Jason Makansi draws on his years of experience to illuminate numerous dimensions of today's US power sector—engineering, political, economic

and financial—to make it all too apparent that taking reliable, affordable and environmentally sound power for granted is a mistake. This book is an important catalyst for a long overdue discussion we all need to have regarding our electric power future."

Lawrence Makovich, Managing Director of Cambridge Energy Research Associates Global Power Group

"Jason Makansi’s 25 years experience in the electric power industry, combined with his ability to explain complex technologies in simple terms, makes him the ideal author for this book. It should be required reading for everyone in the trade, the financial community and others providing products and services to the industry, as well as for business schools that teach why technology leadership can be fleeting. And let’s not forget the peeved customer who wants an unbiased explanation."— Robert G. Schwieger, Editor and Publisher, COMBINED CYCLE Journal

"For anybody who believes that electricity will always be easily available with the flip of a wall switch, Jason Makansi's book Lights Out provides an important education"—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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