THE POWER SURGE by Michael Levi


Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle for America's Future
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How far-reaching transformations in United States energy sources and production techniques may be affecting the country and world.

Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow for energy and the environment Levi (On Nuclear Terrorism, 2009) discusses the significance of what happened between September and December 2008, when the government's energy forecasters began projecting a significant reduction in energy imports. In a broad-based approach, the author demonstrates how they were reflecting the surfacing of two technological tendencies that had been under way for several years. Since fuel reserves were laid down in geological time and the existence of shale-based reserves is well-known, extraction potentials involve both pricing and the technology needed for recovery, and horizontal drilling and the fracturing of the shale beds (fracking) have provided the means—all while international prices have increased. Levi addresses the arguments of environmentalist opponents while underlining the significance of what some consider to be “the energy equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down,” with very large gains expected in the years ahead. He traces on-the-ground effects in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where the lives of local citizens are being transformed, for both good and bad, and addresses international issues as well—e.g, Russia's gas supply policy to Europe. Levi also takes up the question of global warming, and he provides useful summaries of efforts to develop hybrid and electric cars, comparing their energy costs with their traditional counterpart. He reviews the power generation of different technologies, and his history of peak-oil scares, first noted in 1909, is particularly interesting.

Calm, reasoned and balanced, presenting arguments and evidence, not wish lists and beliefs.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-19-998616-3
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2013


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