I'm happy to announce that my latest book, Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, the Global Economy and What It Means to You is now available. While my previous two books have been geared toward a professional audience, Lights Out is written in an approachable style that will enable anyone interested in our electricity infrastructure and energy policy to grapple with even the most complicated aspects of the industry.
It has always been a mystery to me why Big Oil is constantly covered by the mainstream press while the electricity industry seems to be an ignored stepsister. Perhaps the enigmatic figures of the past, such as Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse, pale in comparison to the romance of the rough and tumble world of Texas wildcatters or Middle Eastern sheiks in billowing white robes. Whatever the reason, it seems more than shortsighted when you stop to think that the ability to ensure the uninterrupted supply of electricity at a reasonable price is absolutely essential--even more essential than oil--to economic growth and to the survival and prosperity of modern society. After all, when our electricity service is disrupted, our water, telecommunications, transportation and banking systems grind to a halt and our homes, business and, indeed, all the modern conveniences of our daily lives, shut down.
Lights Out is our attempt to level the playing field and to give electricity its due while also proposing a comprehensive road map outlining technical solutions and regulatory reforms--for both the supply and demand side--that will put us on a more rational policy path and help us avoid the serious consequences of an unhealthy electricity infrastructure. The book is divided into three parats that provide a detailed look at:
1. How today's electricity system works--from the extraction of the raw energy source to the electricity-consuming appliances in your home--and what happens as the supply lines begin stretch or break down
2. Why the strongest, most vibrant economy in the world is increasingly dependent upon a production, transmission, and distribution system that continues to be built for the LAST fifty years, not the next half century
3. What can be done to rescue us from the current path we're on--from embracing new technologies ready for deployment to reformulating business models based on common sense, not market or political ideologies.
Needless to say, I think you should buy the book. After all, I've got a kid heading off to college this fall! But, more importantly than my daughter's college finances, it is imperative that this story get told, that people start to pay attention, that industry leaders stop reading from yesterday's playbook and begin to take the bold steps needed to correct systemic problems, and that politicans and policy makers stop wrapping themselves in ideological arguments and start addressing the serious challenges facing our electricity industry.