Keeping the Lights On: Towards Sustainable Electricity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Keeping the Lights On

Towards Sustainable Electricity, 1st Edition

By Walt Patterson


170 pages

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�This is such a timely book. Combining extraordinary historical insight with the sharpest analysis of where we are now, Walt Patterson carves out the most applied and practical of 'road maps' as to where we need to go if we are to deliver a genuinely sustainable electricity system for the future. As we go into a period of considerable turbulence, primarily because of the impacts of climate change, Keeping The Lights On will undoubtedly be seen as a very well informed Guidebook.� JONATHON PORRITT CBE, CHAIR, UK SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION �A very important and timely book. Walt Patterson persuasively challenges traditional assumptions about how we think of energy and electricity, and presents an exciting vision of an innovative and sustainable future.� NICK MABEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, E3G (THIRD GENERATION ENVIRONMENTALISM), FORMER SENIOR ADVISER IN THE UK PRIME MINISTER�S STRATEGY UNIT �Walt has got this exactly right. It should be compulsive reading, if not compulsory reading, for all politicians and other players that determine or have a role to play in energy policy and, more importantly, in tackling climate change. Knowing what we know now, you would not implement such a wasteful and polluting electricity system as centralized power generation. As Walt has indicated, we do have to overcome the grid mindset of those who should know better.� ALLAN JONES MBE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, LONDON CLIMATE CHANGE AGENCY �What can I say? Clearly thought out, simply written, and straight to the heart of the major issues in energy today. I can�t think of anyone else who could bring together the technology, the economics, and the basic human relationship with energy that Walt has here. This is really great stuff.� RONAN PALMER, CHIEF ECONOMIST, UK ENVIRONMENT AGENCY �Fashions come and fashions go in the energy world. Security of supply, climate change and market liberalization have all vied for our attention. It�s good to have one voice that�s stayed constant over thirty years of turbulence and change. Keeping The Lights On distils Walt Patterson�s thinking over the last three decades. As ever, he provokes us to re-examine our own thinking about energy policy. Essential reading as we face up to new challenges.� PROFESSOR JIM SKEA OBE, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, UK ENERGY RESEARCH CENTRE 'Even more important now than when first released.' Energy News In Keeping The Lights On, Walt Patterson starts from a simple premise: that we are making a mess of energy, and this is endangering the planet. Using accessible, everyday language Patterson describes how we could do much better, outlining a different way to think about energy, what we want from it and how we get it. Drawing on over 35 years of work from one of the leading voices in the field, Keeping The Lights On explains how we could go about improving energy security and services while reducing costs and vulnerability, globally and rapidly. The book discusses the timely and heated debates surrounding energy and power, and emphasizes that electricity is about infrastructure; we have to stop treating it as a commodity. The result is a comprehensive introduction to the most important issues, providing the reader with innovative and expert ideas and solutions. Published with Royal Institute of International Affairs.


"…challenging, thought-provoking and very readable" Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers

"I would absolutely applaud this book. […] [It] that challenges your perceptions and makes you reassess your ideas." Mark Barton in the International Journal of Environmental Studies

Table of Contents

Preface * Acknowledgements * Introduction Towards Sustainable Electricity * Part 1: Making Energy Sustainable * Making the World Work * The Energy Dilemma * Rethinking Energy * Part 2: Making Electricity Sustainable * Full Circle * The Electric Challenge * Generating Change * Networking Change * Decentralizing networks * Getting the Story Right * Getting Energy Right * Sustainable Electricity: Changing Minds * Annex 1: Running the Planet * Annex 2: Discussing Energy: A Style Guide * Annex 3: Glossary * Annex 4: Further Information * Index

About the Author

Walt Patterson trained as a nuclear physicist before spending his life teaching, writing and campaigning. He has published twelve books and several hundred papers, articles and reviews on nuclear power, coal technology, renewable energy, energy systems, energy policy and electricity. Since 1991 he has been a fellow of what is now the Energy, Environment and Development Programme at Chatham House in London.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Alternative & Renewable