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Power after Carbon: Building a Clean, Resilient Grid

image credit: Power after Carbon

As the damaging and costly impacts of climate change increase, the rapid development of sustainable energy has taken on great urgency. The electricity industry has responded with necessary but wrenching shifts toward renewables, even as it faces unprecedented challenges and disruption brought on by new technologies, new competitors, and policy changes. The result is a collision course between a grid that must provide abundant, secure, flexible, and affordable power, and an industry facing enormous demands for power and rapid, systemic change.

The fashionable solution is to think small: smart buildings, small-scale renewables, and locally distributed green energy. But Peter Fox-Penner makes clear that these will not be enough to meet our increasing needs for electricity. He points instead to the indispensability of large power systems, battery storage, and scalable carbon-free power technologies, along with the grids and markets that will integrate them. The electric power industry and its regulators will have to provide all of these, even as they grapple with changing business models for local electric utilities, political instability, and technological change. Power after Carbon makes sense of all the moving parts, providing actionable recommendations for anyone involved with or relying on the electric power system.

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Jacquie  Ashmore's picture

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on May 23, 2020 2:14 pm GMT

Jacquie, what qualifications does Peter Fox-Penner have to be writing books about energy? I might even be interested in buying his glossy coffee-table "publication", Power After Carbon ($35), but it appears he has no peer-reviewed research on the subject to his credit. His bio lists a non-specific "Phd" from the University of Chicago, and BS and MS degrees from the University of Illinois in "Engineering".

That's a problem, because the University of Illinois offers no degree in "Engineering".  It offers degrees in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and 13 other specific disciplines in the field. But Bios with vague references like this are typically the domain of charlatans - fraudsters - and I would be amazed if Harvard University would hire Mr. Fox-Penner on the basis of suspect references like this.

His experience appears to be limited to marketing renewable energy - how to sell more wind turbines and solar panels. Though today that can be an extremely lucrative profession, it's clear solar and wind alone will never make a substantial contribution to fighting climate change. Thus statements like

"As the damaging and costly impacts of climate change increase, the rapid development of sustainable energy has taken on great urgency. The electricity industry has responded with necessary but wrenching shifts toward renewables..."

appear to be aimed more at benefitting clients of Mr. Fox-Penner's consulting firm, The Brattle Group, and less at preventing the damaging and costly impacts of climate change.

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