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Imagine fuel without fear. No climate change. No oil spills, no dead coalminers, no dirty air, no devastated lands, no lost wildlife. No energy poverty. No oil-fed wars, tyrannies, or terrorists. No leaking nuclear wastes or spreading nuclear weapons. Nothing to run out. Nothing to cut off. Nothing to worry about. Just energy abundance, benign and affordable, for all, fore Imagine fuel without fear. No climate change. No oil spills, no dead coalminers, no dirty air, no devastated lands, no lost wildlife. No energy poverty. No oil-fed wars, tyrannies, or terrorists. No leaking nuclear wastes or spreading nuclear weapons. Nothing to run out. Nothing to cut off. Nothing to worry about. Just energy abundance, benign and affordable, for all, forever. That richer, fairer, cooler, safer world is possible, practical, even profitable-because saving and replacing fossil fuels now works better and costs no more than buying and burning them. iReinventing Fire/i shows how business-motivated by profit, supported by civil society, sped by smart policy-can get the US completely off oil and coal by 2050, and later beyond natural gas as well. Authored by a world leader on energy and innovation, the book maps a robust path for integrating real, here-and-now, comprehensive energy solutions in four industries-transportation, buildings, electricity, and manufacturing-melding radically efficient energy use with reliable, secure, renewable energy supplies. Popular in tone and rooted in applied hope, "Reinventing Fire" shows how smart businesses are creating a potent, global, market-driven, and explosively growing movement to defossilize fuels. It points readers to trillions in savings over the next 40 years, and trillions more in new business opportunities. Whether you care most about national security, or jobs and competitive advantage, or climate and environment, this major contribution by world leaders in energy innovation offers startling innovations will support your values, inspire your support, and transform your sense of possibility. Pragmatic citizens today are more interested in outcomes than motives. "Reinventing Fire" answers this trans-ideological call. Whether you care most about national security, or jobs and competitive advantage, or climate and environment, its startling innovations will support your values, inspire your support, and transform your sense of possibility.


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Imagine fuel without fear. No climate change. No oil spills, no dead coalminers, no dirty air, no devastated lands, no lost wildlife. No energy poverty. No oil-fed wars, tyrannies, or terrorists. No leaking nuclear wastes or spreading nuclear weapons. Nothing to run out. Nothing to cut off. Nothing to worry about. Just energy abundance, benign and affordable, for all, fore Imagine fuel without fear. No climate change. No oil spills, no dead coalminers, no dirty air, no devastated lands, no lost wildlife. No energy poverty. No oil-fed wars, tyrannies, or terrorists. No leaking nuclear wastes or spreading nuclear weapons. Nothing to run out. Nothing to cut off. Nothing to worry about. Just energy abundance, benign and affordable, for all, forever. That richer, fairer, cooler, safer world is possible, practical, even profitable-because saving and replacing fossil fuels now works better and costs no more than buying and burning them. iReinventing Fire/i shows how business-motivated by profit, supported by civil society, sped by smart policy-can get the US completely off oil and coal by 2050, and later beyond natural gas as well. Authored by a world leader on energy and innovation, the book maps a robust path for integrating real, here-and-now, comprehensive energy solutions in four industries-transportation, buildings, electricity, and manufacturing-melding radically efficient energy use with reliable, secure, renewable energy supplies. Popular in tone and rooted in applied hope, "Reinventing Fire" shows how smart businesses are creating a potent, global, market-driven, and explosively growing movement to defossilize fuels. It points readers to trillions in savings over the next 40 years, and trillions more in new business opportunities. Whether you care most about national security, or jobs and competitive advantage, or climate and environment, this major contribution by world leaders in energy innovation offers startling innovations will support your values, inspire your support, and transform your sense of possibility. Pragmatic citizens today are more interested in outcomes than motives. "Reinventing Fire" answers this trans-ideological call. Whether you care most about national security, or jobs and competitive advantage, or climate and environment, its startling innovations will support your values, inspire your support, and transform your sense of possibility.

30 review for Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era

  1. 4 out of 5

    Guy

    Relentlessly positive doesn't even begin to describe this book. Lovins has made a career out of advising companies and governments how to be energy efficient, and while I suspect that in his off-message moments (if he has any) he would agree that his achievements have been small in comparison with the scale of the problem, nevertheless he has achieved much. He's a hero, and in his case I use the term advisedly. He's also a consultant and as such optimism is a professional necessity. Trouble is, Relentlessly positive doesn't even begin to describe this book. Lovins has made a career out of advising companies and governments how to be energy efficient, and while I suspect that in his off-message moments (if he has any) he would agree that his achievements have been small in comparison with the scale of the problem, nevertheless he has achieved much. He's a hero, and in his case I use the term advisedly. He's also a consultant and as such optimism is a professional necessity. Trouble is, I'm not sure that optimism is warranted when we are talking about transitioning from our spendthrift fossil-fuel powered present to a renewable and energy efficient future. But let's take a step back for a moment. What's this book trying to do? Seems to me that its goal is to describe how, using current technology and plausible incremental improvements thereof, the US (and by implication the world) can achieve the energy transition described above by 2050, and why it is in the financial interest of the country, businesses, and individuals to do so. Does it succeed? Yes, I think it does. And along the way it provides reams of practical and pragmatic reasons and advice as to why and how to do so. I'm sold: a transition by 2050 is possible, IF we are collectively sensible, think and plan medium to long rather than short term, do the right things, and aren't blind-sided by financial crises, energy shortages caused by steep post-peak fossil fuel declines and/or geopolitics, climate change disruptions, and the myriad other problems that ecological overshoot (in the broadest sense of the term) produces. So, anyone think that any of those conditions after IF above are likely to be met? Didn't think so. Now, it may come as a surprise after the preceding couple of paragraphs, but I'm not a doomer: I don't think Mad Max and The Road are our future. But I do think that we are going to go through a very extended period of tough times before we get to the beautiful future that Lovins envisions. We are like the United States in Churchill's famous quote: you can count on us to do the right thing after we have tried everything else. In this case that means that while a few individuals and companies and governments will take sensible steps to reduce their energy consumption, increase their energy efficiency, and generate more of the energy that they use BEFORE they have to, the overwhelming majority will not UNTIL they have to... and that will be too late*. And it also means that we are going to be spending way more resources and time on dealing with problems (those pesky overshoot things above) rather than seizing the opportunities that are the focus of this book. Lovins is anything but stupid. He knows that there are many problems that are likely to get in the way of "reinventing fire", and he spends a little less than 1% of the book discussing them. Should I fault him for that? Yes, and no. Yes, because, given those problems, the future he is describing is probably a far-future fantasy (and in that case, why not ponies too?**). No, because perhaps what we need is an inspirational vision and a plausible road map as to how to get there. Perhaps Lovins reckons that even if only a few people and companies and governments are thereby inspired to do the right thing then that is better than nothing. And that if he spent too much time on the negatives then those few people and companies and governments would get discouraged and not do anything. And he may well be right. So I'll just stop here with the criticism. Bottom line: this is a book for entrepreneurs and optimists. The opportunities described are real and achievable. If you are that way inclined, go for it! For the rest of us, however, a little more personal and community planning for the downside would be advisable. * See http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2... for an explanation of why. ** See http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnb...

  2. 5 out of 5

    JB

    This book is a landmark. Amory Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute have been writing about energy efficiency and the energy transition for decades now, and Reinventing Fire is not different in this respect. What makes this book unique is how eminently straightforward and clear it is: a data-heavy blueprint for both the private and public sectors to follow. The format of this book is both its greatest strength and weakness. It reads like a textbook, or a consultant report in book format--access This book is a landmark. Amory Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute have been writing about energy efficiency and the energy transition for decades now, and Reinventing Fire is not different in this respect. What makes this book unique is how eminently straightforward and clear it is: a data-heavy blueprint for both the private and public sectors to follow. The format of this book is both its greatest strength and weakness. It reads like a textbook, or a consultant report in book format--accessible, but full of graphs, model results, boxes, and bullet points. This works best for CEOs and policymakers (and me, in this case), but is perhaps a bit off-putting for readers looking for a more traditional non-fiction narrative. Then again, the format makes it easy to focus on areas of particular interest. As usual with Lovins, his chapter on energy efficiency for buildings is particularly strong. I couldn't help but feel inspired after reading this book: the energy transition is here, and it's highly profitable... for those willing to make the effort. It certainly makes me want to keep working in the clean energy industry. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Ever since its discovery, humans have been fascinated by and feared fire. In Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era, by Amory B. Lovins and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), fire is energy. Over thousands of years, the wood burning fires of our ancestors have become the fossil fuels we burn to generate the energy that powers our current civilization. Reinventing Fire presents a vision and road map for carrying out a new energy strategy by 2050. The Bottom Line Amory B. Lovi Ever since its discovery, humans have been fascinated by and feared fire. In Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era, by Amory B. Lovins and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), fire is energy. Over thousands of years, the wood burning fires of our ancestors have become the fossil fuels we burn to generate the energy that powers our current civilization. Reinventing Fire presents a vision and road map for carrying out a new energy strategy by 2050. The Bottom Line Amory B. Lovins is a physicist, leading expert on energy, and co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent, nonprofit, think-and-do tank. Reinventing Fire contains a plethora of information. Data and projections are illustrated through the use of comprehensive charts and figures. Readers need to be actively engaged in reading the book—one does not skim over the material. An open mind is helpful, a science degree is not needed. The authors convey information, concepts, and ideas, in a straightforward manner and show us a doable energy future that does not rely on burning fossil fuels. Anyone interesting in learning about realistic energy solutions and actions will benefit from reading Reinventing Fire. Read the whole review at: http://greengroundswell.com/reinventi...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Polly

    The subtitle should have been a clue to me about the focus of this book--Bold Business Solutions. The ideas are exciting, and I love seeing that a future without dependence on fossil fuels is possible. What I don't get from this book, though, is how I help to make that possible. I don't direct large business, and so I felt left out of the conversation. I also didn't like all the sidebars and such; it's formatted like a modern-day textbook, which makes me feel unable to focus on any idea for very The subtitle should have been a clue to me about the focus of this book--Bold Business Solutions. The ideas are exciting, and I love seeing that a future without dependence on fossil fuels is possible. What I don't get from this book, though, is how I help to make that possible. I don't direct large business, and so I felt left out of the conversation. I also didn't like all the sidebars and such; it's formatted like a modern-day textbook, which makes me feel unable to focus on any idea for very long. But I'm an old curmudgeon.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Godo Stoyke

    Probably the world's best summary of negawatts (with an "n") = energy efficiency replacing consumption, a solution that can eliminate over 50% of our energy-based greenhouse gas emissions. Negawatts trump Megawatts. Amory's 1976 soft energy use forecasts beat those of governments and corporations, megawatts are already a big part of our current climate solution arsenal. More info at rmi.org Probably the world's best summary of negawatts (with an "n") = energy efficiency replacing consumption, a solution that can eliminate over 50% of our energy-based greenhouse gas emissions. Negawatts trump Megawatts. Amory's 1976 soft energy use forecasts beat those of governments and corporations, megawatts are already a big part of our current climate solution arsenal. More info at rmi.org

  6. 5 out of 5

    stinaz

    At first I thought it was just an update to Natural Capitalism - and it was to some extent - but Reinventing Fire is actually a roadmap for how the US can reduce it’s CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 (as suggested by the IPCC to avoid catastrophic climate change). Lots of graphs and figures and, as I’ve found with other RMI writing, the information is sometimes conveyed in a more complex and convoluted manner than is necessary (which makes some ideas harder to wrap your head around than they should b At first I thought it was just an update to Natural Capitalism - and it was to some extent - but Reinventing Fire is actually a roadmap for how the US can reduce it’s CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 (as suggested by the IPCC to avoid catastrophic climate change). Lots of graphs and figures and, as I’ve found with other RMI writing, the information is sometimes conveyed in a more complex and convoluted manner than is necessary (which makes some ideas harder to wrap your head around than they should be). But ultimately it makes for a sound plan as the book is a summary of tons of research and analysis (by RMI and others) on how to get to that 80% de-fossilisation of fuels. There are four areas of focus, where fossil fuel and carbon emissions can be cut, and the plans and goals for each are straightforward: * Transportation: creating fitter vehicles (the Hypercar renamed the Revolutionary+) and smarter use of transportation resources * Buildings: better design, creating efficiency and integrating design for a compound effect on efficiency * Industry: integrating design once more, to again improve efficiency and reduce resource use * Electricity: transforming the system into a distributed and granular grid and producing more of that distributed and commercial power from renewable sources The best part about this plan and book is that the technology and resources to implement each plan are already available, and are not only economically viable but often economically beneficial compared to the status quo. It also addresses the major hurdles as being socio-cultural, corpocratic, political, regulatory and all in peoples minds. Now if only we could figure out how to do that...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    More classic Amory Lovins. The book is the usual, glorious blend of stat-backed nerdery (both financial and technological) with a surprising veneer of optimistic and illuminating prose. It is the road map for getting off fossil fuels entirely within the next four decades, all while saving several trillion dollars compared to "business as usual". It is a grand vision and, were it not for the 750 footnotes, one would assume it was too bold and upbeat to be possible. Much like Natural Capitalism, i More classic Amory Lovins. The book is the usual, glorious blend of stat-backed nerdery (both financial and technological) with a surprising veneer of optimistic and illuminating prose. It is the road map for getting off fossil fuels entirely within the next four decades, all while saving several trillion dollars compared to "business as usual". It is a grand vision and, were it not for the 750 footnotes, one would assume it was too bold and upbeat to be possible. Much like Natural Capitalism, it's a 400 page feat of "whole systems thinking" that eschews the search for a single "silver bullet" to fix fossil fuel dependence in favor "silver buckshot and birdshot" that can be used rebuild the US economy that makes the world "richer, fairer, cooler and safer". It is quite dense and the style might not be for everyone, but it is well worth the effort, even for the novices in engineering or economics. Please read it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Ross

    Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute colleagues lay out a compelling case for why the dubious "global warming" debate actually detracts from solving the real problem. Energy is a much broader problem of; national security, jobs, technology innovation and competitive advantage, as well as climate change and the environment. The path to renewable energy and energy independence by 2050 is laid out in layman's terms and is based on profits, growth and free market capitalism. This is the best summ Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute colleagues lay out a compelling case for why the dubious "global warming" debate actually detracts from solving the real problem. Energy is a much broader problem of; national security, jobs, technology innovation and competitive advantage, as well as climate change and the environment. The path to renewable energy and energy independence by 2050 is laid out in layman's terms and is based on profits, growth and free market capitalism. This is the best summary I've seen on the subject and a hopeful guide to a bright future.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    It is "Textbooky" and thus coffee table/lue sort of reading material...or perhaps a good text for an environmental studies class, political action group, or anyone researching what they can do to be part of the solution. It is a well detailed outline of realistic transition to a sustainable energy future. It is "Textbooky" and thus coffee table/lue sort of reading material...or perhaps a good text for an environmental studies class, political action group, or anyone researching what they can do to be part of the solution. It is a well detailed outline of realistic transition to a sustainable energy future.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike Niebrzydowski

    Very interesting read. The author makes the argument for energy efficiency and renewables from the business perspective, which (unfortunately) is probably the best way to get people on board. Money does rule after all... the best part about it is that the technology is there and it's feasible to achieve most of what is proposed. At the same time, it is very realistic - and quite comprehensive. Very interesting read. The author makes the argument for energy efficiency and renewables from the business perspective, which (unfortunately) is probably the best way to get people on board. Money does rule after all... the best part about it is that the technology is there and it's feasible to achieve most of what is proposed. At the same time, it is very realistic - and quite comprehensive.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hamza

    Eye opening book about HUGE hidden opportunities.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karl-Friedrich Lenz

    As in my review here of Mark Lynas' "The God Species" the other day, this is just a rather long copypaste of four reviews I wrote on my blog last November. Here we go. (1) All of the above, published on Lenz Blog November 17, 2011 A couple of days ago I bought the Kindle edition of Amory Lovins' latest book "Inventing Fire - Bold Solutions for the New Energy Era". I have enjoyed reading it and learned many interesting facts. This book is essential for anyone interested in the field of energy. First As in my review here of Mark Lynas' "The God Species" the other day, this is just a rather long copypaste of four reviews I wrote on my blog last November. Here we go. (1) All of the above, published on Lenz Blog November 17, 2011 A couple of days ago I bought the Kindle edition of Amory Lovins' latest book "Inventing Fire - Bold Solutions for the New Energy Era". I have enjoyed reading it and learned many interesting facts. This book is essential for anyone interested in the field of energy. First to the point where I disagree. Lovins argues against the "all of the above" position of having renewable energy and nuclear as well. Let's hear his reasons and discuss them. "First, central thermal plants are too inflexible to play well with variable renewables, and their market prices and profits drop as renewables gain market share." (Around location 6500) If you have priority for using renewable energy (as in Germany) it is true that nuclear and other thermal power plants get to deliver less energy to the grid. They will only be used when necessary because of weather conditions and therefore stay idle much more of the time, making the decision to build new capacity not so attractive for investors. However, if you let your nuclear power plants run at full capacity all the time and use excess capacity to make synthetic fuel, that picture changes. The nuclear power plant becomes an excellent provider of stability for the grid. They play very well with variable renewables, because they cover for one of their main weaknesses. Since there will be a need to make lots of synthetic fuel, a lack of demand meeting the constant supply should be no serious problem. "Second, if resources can compete fairly at all scales, some, and perhaps much, of the transmission built for a centralized vision of the future grid could quickly become superfluous." Common sense is that there is more need for transmission grids with more renewable energy, to balance out fluctuations. But even if that statement were true, there would be nothing to stop a nuclear plant from making fuel or quicklime all day long. There is no transmission grid necessary for that. "Third, big, slow, lumpy, costly investments can erode utilities' and other providers' financial stability, while small, fast, granular investments can enhance it." I don't understand that. There will be trillions of investments anyway. There is no reason why big projects should be less stable than a lot of small ones. Fourth, renewable, and especially distributed renewable, futures require very different regulatory structures and business models. It is obviously true that regulations or business plans might favor nuclear or favor renewable energy. That does not prove that there is not room for both options. "Finally, supply costs aren't independent of the scale of deployment, so PV systems installed in Germany in 2010 cost about 56-67% less than comparable U.S. systems, despite access to the same modules and other technologies at the same global prices." Again, it is obviously true that prices fall with more units deployed. That is the most important success of the German feed-in tariffs for solar, which financed the learning in the most difficult phases. But if your only reason to oppose nuclear power in the system is that prices of solar panels are not going down fast enough, then that is not enough to convince me. Update July 2012: I was supporting nuclear power at the time. I have retired from that in the meanwhile. My position on nuclear now is that it doesn't matter either way. (2) Writing Style, posted on Lenz Blog November 18, 2011 In this second part of my discussion, I will point out a couple of things I liked about the writing style of this book. One thing is that the author very much relies on fact, giving detailed references for every tiny detail. There is not much leeway left to disagree on these facts, even if one disagrees on some of the conclusions (I disagree on the idea that there is no place for nuclear energy besides renewable). And there are so many interesting facts in this book that everyone interested in the field of energy policy is just about guaranteed to learn something new. I for one sure did. Next, the author shows a lot of enthusiasm for his ideas. That is something very much needed with the scale of the crisis. Pessimists and defeatists like Ted Trainer won't help get anything done. Following the advice of this book will help make some progress. This book is very much concerned with solutions, instead of pointing out that nothing can possibly work. Lovins cites Henry Ford with this quote: "Whatever is worthy and right is never impossible. Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right." (Location 7150) Those who think that energy storage makes large scale renewable impossible because they can't solve that particular problem should just get out of the way and watch those who can actually solve it. Or, in the unlikely event that they are actually right, prove their point by failing to solve the problem for a couple of decades. Another thing to like about this book is that while it is strong and effective advocacy for solutions to climate change, it in no way requires accepting the science. Its case rests primarily on the fact that there is a lot of money to be made by those who understand the coming energy revolution, at the expense of those who are less alert. As Lovins writes: "For you to welcome this book's thesis and embrace its recommendations, you needn't accept the global scientific consensus on the reality and severity of the risks of climate change. Throughout this book, we have highlighted many economic, security, and environmental benefits of moving away from fossil fuel. But if you do agree it's good to make money, you should like protecting the climate by using energy in a way that saves money, because saving fuel is cheaper than buying it. That makes climate protection not costly but profitable - a very convenient truth." (Locations 7101-7) That is especially true in the political climate of the United States right now, where the Republican party has some difficulty accepting the science. Framing the issue in this way helps a lot to get bipartisan support. As Lovins explains, one of the leading renewable energy States is Texas, where there are firm Republican majorities. I also recall that France has built its world leading nuclear fleet for reasons completely unrelated to climate change. There are many good reasons for moving away from fossil fuel. (3) The anti-nuclear case, posted to Lenz Blog November 19, 2011 In this third part of my review I am going to discuss the case against nuclear energy Lovins makes in this book. As I disagree with the author on this point, I found it interesting to have my views tested by someone making a strong case based on facts. One part of his case is that nuclear power has not been able to attract private capital. He says that in the three years from 2005 to 2008, none of proposed 34 United States projects was able to raise any private project financing despite federal subsidies rivaling or exceeding construction costs (Location 5604). Nuclear energy has not showed any learning curve, according to Lovins. The United States 2012 budget has $34 billion for loan guarantees for new nuclear construction, but the program has only generated conditional commitments to guarantee $7.9 billion for two reactors in Georgia. I am not convinced by that. For one, while it is probably true that the American and European nuclear industry does not seem to have a good track record in delivering projects in time and with declining costs, now the Chinese have entered the field. As blogged the other day, they plan to deliver two small modular reactors for $787 million. This is exactly what the nuclear industry needs. Smaller units, and more of them. Economies of scale don't work any more. They might lead to slightly smaller costs per kilowatt, but at the cost of much higher investment sums, longer construction schedules, more delays in permits, more popular opposition and higher risks for investors from the sum of all that. But even if we were stuck with the model of giant plants costing billions and taking decades to build, their costs will always be a bargain compared to the damages from global warming they avoid. Just as with solar feed-in tariffs. The other part of the anti-nuclear case is that after the Fukushima accident many countries (like Germany) have scaled back or shut down nuclear. Lovins also notes that TEPCO had to take a $14 billion loss from losing the assets at Fukushima, even when not considering liability for damages. I am not convinced by that either. If anything, the Fukushima accident has shown that even under extreme circumstances, nuclear energy is the safest way of energy generation. No one got even a case of mild radiation disease from that accident. To assume otherwise one needs to follow outdated ideas on the harmful effects of low level radiation, as discussed elsewhere on this blog. That luxury might have been defensible when Greenpeace started out on their anti-nuclear campaigns a couple of decades ago. Now with everyone including Greenpeace informed about the amount of danger from global warming, there is no way a bit of radiation is a more serious concern. On the other hand, sadly it is quite true that many people disagree. The Fukushima accident certainly has not helped support for nuclear energy. That makes it all the more important to avoid mistakes in the pro nuclear message like insisting on a nuclear only future. Update July 2012: The reason for me to drop support for nuclear was the fact that most pro-nuclear people are opposing renewable energy, something not compatible with my point of view. They might have a point, since nuclear is much more difficult to finance with a lot of renewable in the mix, shaving off the past high prices at noon peaks. So they won't get their big new nuclear wave without getting rid of renewable first. That of course is not going to happen. (4) China facts, posted to Lenz Blog on November 21, 2011 In this part of the review, I would like to highlight some facts on China Lovins mentions at the locations 7270 and following. "China is executing a 0.77 trillion decarbonization effort it announced in 2010." That is exactly the scale of investment needed to make any progress with climate change. "China has capped coal mining capacity at 3.8 gigatons in 2015." That is another great idea. Rather than only look at the demand side (how much carbon emissions are allowed), look at supply. If supply is capped, as it is in the OPEC system, so is demand. No one can burn coal that has not been mined. A cap for coal mining should be instituted by every coal mining country in the world. That will help make more money for those countries, since coal prices will rise, and will also help them keep some of those resources for later generations. "During 2006 to 2010, China shut down 71 GW of inefficient coal-fired plants and halved net annual additions of coal-fired capacity." Building a coal plant is actually good for the climate if it displaces another coal plant that is less efficient. "Solar is planned to become cheaper than coal generation by 2015, and China plans about 33-39% of generating capacity and 15% of electricity to be renewable by 2020. This transition has already begun: China's 2010 net capacity additions were only 59% coal, 38% renewable, and 2% nuclear. "In 2006, China's renewables other than big hydro had seven times the capacity of its nuclear power and were growing seven times faster; since then, the gap has widened." It is remarkable that the massive nuclear program that China is running is dwarfed by the additions in renewable capacity. Even if you account for the fact that renewable has a much smaller capacity factor, this is still quite far from a nuclear only carbon free energy plan. "Overall, China invested S54 billion in clean energy in 2010. (...) China is now the world's leading manufacturer of five renewable technologies (wind, photovoltaic, small hydro, biogas, and solar water heaters)." The Chinese photovoltaic industry has grown to scale because of the German feed-in tariffs. That was their biggest success. While it was nice to get 12 TWh of carbon free solar electricity in Germany in 2010, this is not ever so large a percentage of world wide electricity generation, which was at 20,055 TWh in 2009. But getting solar cheaper than coal in China only four years from now will have a massive effect. Again, nuclear purists need to get over it. A nuclear only carbon free energy plan is not going to happen. There is no way to stop renewable energy at this point, and even if it were possible, that would be rather bad news for the climate. Whatever carbon free energy your nuclear plan can deliver will always be less than what it would deliver in addition to aggressive renewable deployment.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cliff

    A book written primarily for policymakers and influencers. Written in text book format, and definitely a bit of a slog, which led to a number of more interesting and engaging books intervening in the progress of reading this one. Interesting and mind opening, though I disagree with the author's lean towards big government solutions. Would love to have read the book with a side by side comparison of input from someone who either outright disagrees with, or at least sees a different perspective fr A book written primarily for policymakers and influencers. Written in text book format, and definitely a bit of a slog, which led to a number of more interesting and engaging books intervening in the progress of reading this one. Interesting and mind opening, though I disagree with the author's lean towards big government solutions. Would love to have read the book with a side by side comparison of input from someone who either outright disagrees with, or at least sees a different perspective from the author on various subjects, as the author has an obvious agenda, and my lack of technical knowledge made it difficult to feel as though I was getting an objective read without stopping and researching and analyzing every bit of the author's presentation and discussion (which I did not do). Still, though, it was a worthwhile read, and one that I recommend to anyone who has an inclination to think openly about energy and energy policy. I do agree heartily with one of the author's final points: regardless of how one feels about the climate debate, we should all be open to considering and developing methods to decrease energy cost and usage while improving security and maintaining or even improving quality of life. For me, however, that quality of life needs to be as the individual sees fit, not as the heavy hand of government dictates.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Connor Usry

    Cool examination of the different methods that the Rocky Mountain Institute and Amory Lovins are exploring to offset our carbon footprint. Various technological, financial and regulatory instruments to manipulate our climate trajectory. More of a textbook-style read than I was admittedly looking for, but it was great to study for RMI interviews with.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maarten Markus

    Visionary, broad thinking and expert insights in the road to a post fossil fuel business era. Inspiring albeit slightly patriotic for a non US reader, this book has offered me much inspiration and follow-ups in my own mission to make cities and urban development radically more sustainable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Mainly directed at economists and policy makers. In many ways a more optimistic view of the world than is possible in the states. Did learn about carbon fiber auto bodies and industrial processes some.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bob Gustafson

    Authoritative, thorough, and dull.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    It is a lot to grasp but the concept is great and well researched. I recommend anyone interested in the energy sector to read (and reread) this book. It is a plausible method for our future but will take cooperation from all sides, including individuals, to make it happen. I hope to see at least half of the suggested options in my lifetime so that I can, and my offspring can, enjoy the earth and its' bounties. - Abandoning fossil fuels - Transportation sector reinvented - Buildings & high efficienc It is a lot to grasp but the concept is great and well researched. I recommend anyone interested in the energy sector to read (and reread) this book. It is a plausible method for our future but will take cooperation from all sides, including individuals, to make it happen. I hope to see at least half of the suggested options in my lifetime so that I can, and my offspring can, enjoy the earth and its' bounties. - Abandoning fossil fuels - Transportation sector reinvented - Buildings & high efficiency - Industry transformation - Different futures: 1. Maintain: Business-as-usual 2. Migrate: Conventional carbon-free approach 3. Renew: Tapping into Nature 4. Transform: Seismic Shift in Scale 5. How do we get there? - Looking back from 2050 Depicted from the future, it sounds almost like the Jetson's but you can see this possible future in sight and it is exciting. A multitude of choices for transportation, working more from home, clean air, solar panels on every building, selling power back to the grid, etc..

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This phenomenal text book should be used at universities and community colleges across this country. Amory Lovins is the great genius of energy conservation. My problem with him over the year was that he presented too much information in such arcane language as to render is deliver indecipherable. Reinventing Fire is understandable and highly comprehensible by the casual reader and the professional alike. That said this book is a must read by those who are in government and businesses interested This phenomenal text book should be used at universities and community colleges across this country. Amory Lovins is the great genius of energy conservation. My problem with him over the year was that he presented too much information in such arcane language as to render is deliver indecipherable. Reinventing Fire is understandable and highly comprehensible by the casual reader and the professional alike. That said this book is a must read by those who are in government and businesses interested in profiting by increased innovation, increased efficiency and increased national strength based on sound business practices in the New Energy Economy. Cleaning up the environment, specifically fighting CO2 pollution causing global warming.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I read this entire book for my book group which I think is quite an accomplishment for me. I learned quite a bit about alternative sources of fuel. There are options presented here I had never dreamed about and not always in the status quo of "going green" the way we tend to think of the future. It's more like "going greener". One of the more interesting statistics (for me) is that cars got the best gas mileage in the mid-80's. Worst year for gas mileage - 2001. This is why my mid-80's Prelude g I read this entire book for my book group which I think is quite an accomplishment for me. I learned quite a bit about alternative sources of fuel. There are options presented here I had never dreamed about and not always in the status quo of "going green" the way we tend to think of the future. It's more like "going greener". One of the more interesting statistics (for me) is that cars got the best gas mileage in the mid-80's. Worst year for gas mileage - 2001. This is why my mid-80's Prelude got much, much better gas mileage than my 2001 Prelude. What's more relevant in the book is gas mileage now and in the future but that fact stayed with me. Lots of food for thought in this book about energy sources for future generations.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute are well ahead of the mainstream. I have a severe problem with the underlying suggestion that humans can engineer their ways out of the energy/resource problem that is coming... but Amory Lovins is world famous and I'm a nobody so maybe that says enough. The graphics and flow of the book though are so well done too... easy to appreciate the learning that was taking place as I read it. Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute are well ahead of the mainstream. I have a severe problem with the underlying suggestion that humans can engineer their ways out of the energy/resource problem that is coming... but Amory Lovins is world famous and I'm a nobody so maybe that says enough. The graphics and flow of the book though are so well done too... easy to appreciate the learning that was taking place as I read it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    Great as an overall plan for lowering U.S. emissions and energy consumption. Given the massive decline in oil prices since the book was published, some of the cost estimates and timelines are likely to be incorrect now. Some studies/estimates seemed dubious and I was unable to find further explanation for the numbers directly in the book. I imagine that's a result of surveying a bunch of different industries so I'll allow it. Great as an overall plan for lowering U.S. emissions and energy consumption. Given the massive decline in oil prices since the book was published, some of the cost estimates and timelines are likely to be incorrect now. Some studies/estimates seemed dubious and I was unable to find further explanation for the numbers directly in the book. I imagine that's a result of surveying a bunch of different industries so I'll allow it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Damon

    My friend suggested I read this to see the reality and value of investing in new energy. I have to admit the argument was pretty clear. Not only were numerous examples of the positive given, but it presented it from a pragmatic lens rather than a purely political one. This is bound to have more appeal and impact with the conservative crowd.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Davies

    Lovins has for a long time been at the forefront of showing us what we already do that will revolutionise the world, and save it. This is an excellent recent summary that cuts through all the nay-saying and shows that a healthy world is there for us to choose. The only thing stopping us is the bullshit and fear propagated in the mainstream conversation.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Savanah

    It took some time for me to make it through this book. It isn't an obviously inspiring page-turner, but when you really focus on the author's vision and what he is proposing, you will find a lot of solid ideas for a future of abundant, safe, affordable, clean energy... and that is something to get excited about! It took some time for me to make it through this book. It isn't an obviously inspiring page-turner, but when you really focus on the author's vision and what he is proposing, you will find a lot of solid ideas for a future of abundant, safe, affordable, clean energy... and that is something to get excited about!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andy Gagnon

    A dense book full of no no nonsense ideas on how the US can plan for a future without fossil fuels. The research, statistics, and ideas in this book are thorough and complete. I highly recommend reading this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Howard Mansfield

    A concise guide to the “new energy era” that is muscled with surprising, telling statistics. Reinventing Fire will leave you more informed about wind and solar, electric cars and all the rest, than a shelf full of other books on the subject.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Nothing really new here.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ken R.

    Not always engrossing reading, but everyone involved in making business and political decisions about energy should read it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex Rogers

    I didn't feel that I really learned a lot new here - some interesting chapters, but on the whole I've read a lot of more interesting books on the subject. I didn't feel that I really learned a lot new here - some interesting chapters, but on the whole I've read a lot of more interesting books on the subject.

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