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Solar Revolution

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Solar Revolution

The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry

MIT Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

As the cost of fossil fuels grows, solar energy is becoming the energy source of the future.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Travis Bradford is the president and founder of a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of renewable energy. He is convinced of the necessity of solar energy and he wants to persuade you, too. He considers the various ways society currently produces power and the new technologies now underway, and makes the most generous assumptions in trends, advances and breakthroughs in favor of solar energy. Bradford’s arguments are lucid, if a bit rose-colored. You may find them plausible or you may find them to be more advocacy than science. However, the world clearly needs new power sources and solar will undoubtedly play a significant role. getAbstract recommends this book to everyone who is concerned about global resources. You may not agree with its conclusions, but it is still worth reading for its information about the issues involved.


Future and Past

Modern industrial economies rely on three separate energy infrastructures – the electricity grid, oil production and natural gas pipelines. Their maintenance requires huge investment, and it is no surprise that six of the world’s 12 largest companies are fossil fuel providers. As the planet’s population grows, the number of energy consumers expands, too, putting a severe strain on the existing infrastructure. Supplies of oil, coal and natural gas will not be able to keep up with the demand, and so have a finite role in supplying future energy.

Some experts also think that the reports of current oil reserves are vastly overstated since an oil field ceases being economically productive long before all its oil can be extracted. Advanced technologies may increase yield, but the amount of oil that suppliers can extract profitably from any given oil field is limited. In addition, most oil fields are either in politically unstable regions of the world or are controlled by a cartel that has the ability to stop the supply as it wishes – as happened in the 1970s, causing economic chaos in the West.

This issue of secure access to energy supplies has been...

About the Author

Travis Bradford is president and founder of the Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development, Cambridge, Massachusetts, a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting the deployment of sustainable technologies.

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