THE CONTINUATION OF "THE PRIZE",
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This review is from: The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It is not as dramatic and thriller-like as The Prize, but it is an excellent big picture of the energy industry in the last twenty-two years. I highly recommend to read The Prize first and then read this book.
One of the many things I liked is the fact that fossil fuels are not the only options available, i.e. there are alternatives to fossil fuels and they are coming, not as quickly as we would like but they will evolve and become the norm in the future. That is one of the many conclusions that can be drawn from this wonderful book. The fact that a good part of the book is dedicated to these technologies is the best example of the aforementioned. The consequences are starting to be evident. Look in the World Bank web site [...] at the electricity consumption of the USA in the last three years versus the GDP. Although GDP has grown the electricity consumption has not. This is mainly due to energy efficiency, one of the topics mentioned in the book. Last year in the USA the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) set the standards for increasing the fuel efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5mpg by Model Year 2025, again energy efficiency. All in all we can get a pretty good picture of the energy industry now and the possible trends in the future.
This book does not tell you what the next main sources of energy will be, as the author is not an oracle, he left the door open to many possibilities and I agree with that as throughout history the business of predicting what the next "big thing" will be has been pretty awful. I particularly think there will be a mix of energy sources depending of the resources available in each region and electricity will significantly reduce the use fossil fuels for transport and mobility as it did many years ago with the lighting. There may be technologies that we do not even know now and that have not even been invented. I totally agree with what Mr. Ahmed Zaki Yamani said: "the Stone Age came to and end not for lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but no for a lack of oil." And as Mr. Bjorn Lomborg said in his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist": "We stopped using stones because bronze and iron were superior materials, and likewise we will stop using oil, when other energy technologies provide superior benefits." Just to finalise this point, the main use of oil when the first well gushed in Titusville in 1859, was for lighting purposes. I am 100% sure that few people think nowadays of using kerosene for lighting, unless they are camping in the wild and even so I have got my doubts.
The oil industry has done a magnificent job in innovating and creating technologies to make the upstream and downstream oil/gas possible in places that thirty years ago were impossible, and that is also mentioned in this book. Likewise all the usual geopolitics involved in the energy industry as well as the rise of China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies that are reshaping the demand for energy. Climate change is also mentioned in a way easy to understand and mainly in a way that shows how it affects us all. I was well impressed by how the author linked the scientific breakthroughs and inventions to the energy industry, as they were the foundations of many international companies such as General Electric, Siemens, Westinghouse, First Solar, Ford, Suntech, Vestas, etc. From Thomas Edison to General Electric and Siemens, from Albert Einstein to SolarTech/Q-Cells/Suntech and so on.
All in all a great book to read if you are seriously interested in the energy industry. I said seriously, because there are a lot of pages to be read... well, if you read The Prize you will read The Quest without any problem.