This book will help anyone to develop appropriate community-scale solutions to the global problem of sustainable energy supply.
It is engagingly written and designed to empower ordinary people to make a real difference. It gives a lot of the history and background information needed to understand both the problems and the solutions. If you don't actually know, for instance, exactly what fracking is and why it's so bad, then by the time you've read this book you will not only understand but also be in a position to offer, and implement, sensible alternatives to your local community, and run a successful business as you do so. This is a book of hope, designed to be read and put into effect. There is no pseuodosciece or woo here to cloud the issues. The book is fully referenced, and it is not afraid to shy away from discussing the politics that surround the subject.
The author, Howard Johns, states that
"One hundred percent renewable is already a reality in some areas, but are these just special cases with the ‘right’ conditions or is this something that can be achieved anywhere? It is my opinion that it is not just possible, but it is also a realistic option everywhere. I believe it is technically and financially achievable, and it has a whole raft of benefits, for individuals, businesses, local communities as well as the environment. It will look different in different places, depending on what is abundant locally, but essentially it will be possible where you live and where I live."
Howard believes that ecology and economy can be reconciled - they are not opposite things, and the book gives many examples from around the world of what a shift to distributed, decentralised energy systems might look like.
One such example is the German town of Feldheim.
"Feldheim is the only town in Germany with its own micro-grid set-up, and the whole process has not only secured lower and stable energy bills for the community, but it has also created local employment. It has helped to bring prosperity to a rural community when others around are struggling. This little town has become a popular destination – with no museums or attractions, people are coming from all over the world to see the energy revolution in action."
I also loved the example given from the Isle of Eigg, Scotland.
"The system they have built combines hydro, wind, solar and batteries to provide continuous power for all of the residents and businesses. They have one 100kW hydro turbine, two smaller hydro turbines at 10kW and 9kW, four 6kW wind turbines and 50kW of solar PV generation. They also have some diesel generators that provide backup power but the renewable generators actually provide over 95% of the electricity they need."
The chapter about technology is superb, perfectly complementing the vast range of example projects in the previous section. This, together with the rest of the chapters in section three provide a roadmap to not only selecting the most appropriate solution for your community, but also how to implement it, including the legal and financial side of things.
So really all that remains is to find people willing to implement the ideas in this book. Will you be one of them?
"So in these times of choice, what will your choice be? Sit by and let it unfold? Or get stuck in and join the movement globally that is building solutions in our neighbourhood?"
"Courage means taking risks and putting yourself forwards when you are not certain whether you will really succeed. Courage means stepping out on a path whose route we do not know, but stepping out anyway. "
I would strongly urge anyone with an interest in community scale sustainable energy solutions to read this book, find and inspire other people in your locality, and join in the sustainable energy revolution. Your planet needs you!
Part I - From Edison to Fracking
1 Global Pyromania
2 Flick the Switch
3 Funny Weather
4 Fracking Salvation
5 Nuclear Renaissance
6 Subsidy Junkies and Fool’s Gold
Part II - Stories from the Revolution
7 The Energy Revolution
10 United States
18 Costa Rica
19 Saudi Arabia
21 United Kingdom
22 100% Renewable
23 Battle Lines
Part III - Your Guide to Making It Happen
24 The Journey
26 Business Possibilities
27 Location, Location, Location
29 Business and Financial Planning
30 Legal Structures, Contracts, Permissions and Compliance
31 Promotion and Marketing
32 Project Management and Build
33 Building a Sustainable Future
Part IV Step Forward in Hope
35 Manifesto for the Energy Revolution
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