by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
Ready for summer and want to catch up on your energy reading? Want some good books to give you an in-depth view of the current energy industry and how rapidly it is changing? Here, in no particular order, are current books we recommend:
- The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, by Daniel Yergin
Yergin originally came to fame with his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Prize, which chronicled the history of the oil industry through the 1991 Gulf War. His follow-up book expands to consider the whole energy industry with coverage of oil and gas since 1991 plus electricity, climate, renewables, and the road to the future. If you want to get a big-picture history of the energy industry in 717 pages, there is no better source than The Quest.
- America’s Utilities, Past Present and Future, by Leonard S., Andrew S. and Robert C. Hyman
If you want a better understanding of electric utilities, then turn to the latest edition of America’s Utilities. Originally written by long-term utility industry expert Leonard Hyman, the latest edition has been updated to include the recent evolution of the electric industry. Here you can learn the principles behind how utilities run their business, the history of utilities, how they are regulated, and what the future may hold.
- The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, by Gretchen Bakke
This is one we haven’t read yet, but we have heard Bakke interviewed and as a cultural anthropologist she carries an interesting perspective on our grid. Not sure I’d agree with the “Fraying Wires” subtitle, but from what readers have told me, the book does a good job of discussing our electric grid from a holistic viewpoint including technology, legal, regulatory, and environmental perspectives in a language anyone can understand.
- Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era, by Amory B. Lovins and Rocky Mountain Institute
Way back when I was a young engineer at Pacific Gas and Electric, the story went that company executives would hide in their offices when Amory Lovins was known to be the in the building. Why? He was a vociferous advocate for what then was considered a radical concept — demand side management. Now demand side management has become mainstream, but Lovins is still pushing corporations and governments around the world to continue an energy transformation from fossil fuels to clean energy. Reinventing Fire lays out a clear and compelling roadmap for how the transition can be effectively implemented. There is perhaps no better view of the future of the energy industry.
- Powering Forward: What Everyone Should Know About America’s Energy Revolution, by Bill Ritter
The former governor of Colorado and current director of the Center for New Energy Economy at Colorado State University lays out his vision for our energy transition from a policy viewpoint. Perhaps most compelling is Ritters’ vision that the transformation will occur at the state and local levels regardless of what is occurring in Washington.
- Understanding Today’s Natural Gas Business and Understanding Today’s Electricity Business, by Bob Shively and John Ferrare
We can’t let a list of good energy books go out without including our companion industry primers! These books are written in straightforward, easy-to-understand language and are loaded with interesting charts and illustrations to help readers digest energy industry concepts and terms quickly and easily.