panorama best seller about renewable energy now free to download

Renewable energy author and consultant, Craig Shields, published Renewable Energy – Facts and Fantasies at the start of 2010. The book is based on interviews with 25 leading researchers, authors, analysis and industry heads. He has now decided to make it available as a free download in order to raise awareness of what he describes as “the renewable energy triumvirate”.

“To me, renewable energy is like anything else: The more one learns about it, the more clear it becomes how much more there is to learn,” says Craig Shields. Hence, the Los Angeles-based author set out to write a book that explores the technology, economics, and politics of renewable energy, or what refers to as “the renewable energy triumvirate”. Shields believes that renewables – in any form – will fail without all three of these factors moved into place. “Looked at another way, we owe it to ourselves to understand these three forces if we are to have an informed and responsible discussion on the subject,” he explains.

Renewable Energy – Facts and Fantasies has become a best seller on It reached top spot in the Energy and Engineering sections of this website and now its author has decided to reach a wider audience by offering an e-version of the publication for free. Shields cites “the failure of our civilization to understand and embrace clean energy” as the inspiration behind his decision to publish as a free download.

“All of us – well, almost all of us – want clean energy,” Shields points out. “Whether our concerns are healthcare issues caused by emissions, enriching terrorists, military conflicts, social chaos and injustice, global climate change, or other forms of long-term environmental damage, there is no doubt that we need to put an end to our reliance on fossil fuels. But it’s just not that easy. We would do well to understand the realities if we are to have informed, relevant discussions as to what we must do as a civilization.”

Peak oil, sinister forces and true externalisation of costs

The book focuses on a number of critical, and often controversial topics including: peak oil and the consequences thereof; our addiction to oil and its implications for US national security; the question of whether sinister forces surround the US borrowing a billion dollars every day to buy oil; what the imperative is to force the producers and consumers of all forms of energy to pay the true and complete costs (externalities); and global climate change: What - and whom - should we believe.

Shields also examines what we can and can't expect to happen at the federal, state, and local level in terms of energy policy. He then goes on to look at the latest developments in solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, biomass, etc.; the hydrogen economy; and what cutting edge ideas like cold fusion we are most likely to see in the future.

Interviewees include Bush’s energy advisor and former CIA director

Each topic is covered with the help of inputs from 25 eminent players in the clean energy space including Matthew Simmons who served as energy adviser to US President George W. Bush. His landmark book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy points to the idea of peak oil, i.e. the concept that we’ve passed the peak at which the world’s supply of oil can be extracted.

Former Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1990s, James Woolsey, also contributed to the chapter on Energy and National Security. He ranks among the most vocal and, Shields argues, most credible proponents of renewables, making arguments touching on national security, global climate change, and economics.

Another heavyweight among Shields’ interviewees is Professor V. Ramanathan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Ramanathan is the man generally credited with the discovery of the phenomenon of global warming, correctly predicting in the early 1970s that there would be a measurable increase in the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere by 1980.

A surprisingly large percentage of the experts Shields spoke to point to "tough realities" that exist in the technology migration, the economic implications, and the political issues that affect the world energy industry. "The truth is, the energy industry faces tough realities in several forms, not only technology readiness, but more importantly the pushback from powerful vested interests," concludes the author.

For additional information:

Renewable Energy – Facts and Fantasies


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