Review: Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry

Article excerpt

Review: Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry By Travis Bradford Reviewed by Umar Karim Mirza Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Pakistan Travis Bradford. Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. 248 pp. ISBN: 978-0-262-02604-8, US $24.95, Hardcover, Alkaline paper.

Travis Bradford is the President of the Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development which he himself founded in 2003. Before that, he was working in the financial field. He has also served as a board member and manager of dozens of public and private companies. He has been a speaker at various universities including Columbia, Harvard, and Duke, on topics related to finance and alternative energy economics.

Energy is essential to our survival and technological advancement. We have now entered an era where fossil fuels are becoming increasingly extinct. Moreover, too much reliance on fossil fuels during the last one and a half centuries has already pushed us toward the brink of environmental crises. Attention has now been diverted to developing environment-friendly clean energy resources which are renewable as well. Solar energy, one such resource, is the subject of this book.

The book comprises ten chapters divided into four parts. Part I, "The Inevitability of Solar Energy," contains one chapter in which the author talks about the present fossil-fuel based energy system, introduces solar energy with its merits and demerits, and provides an introduction to the coming parts.

There are four chapters in Part II, "Past to the Present." A brief history of energy is presented first. The author then moves on to discuss the present energy system and rightly terms it as unsustainable both environmentally and with respect to the magnitude of remaining fossil fuel reserves. The alternatives are discussed next with the author concluding that hydroelectric dams; nuclear power; wind energy and other renewable resources like biomass, geothermal, ocean power; fusion and hydrogen economy are not worthy alternatives for various reasons. …