Energy Economics Markets, History and Policy.

AuthorChermak, Janie M.
PositionBook review

Energy Economics Markets, History and Policy, by ROY L. NERSESIAN (Routledge, U.S. 2016), 628 pages, ISBN: 978-1-138-85837-4 Hardcover, eBook ISBN: 978-1-315-71806-4.

Energy has a long, complex history. The dynamics and interactions between energy resources, the resulting markets, and the overall impacts on nations makes for a fascinating study. This book endeavors to provide a history and overview of primary energy sources including energy consumption characteristics of individual nations, as well as market characteristics and energy policy. This is a large order for any book to achieve. The target audiences, as described by the author, are "those who are in a particular facet of energy and desire to broaden their knowledge, or for those just plainly interested in energy" (pg xxiv). In addition, the author includes problem and project sets at the end of each chapter, clearly targeting student audiences as well.

The book begins with an overall introduction to energy and policy that covers everything from the definition of energy, to measuring energy, to changes in energy consumption across time and across location, and also provides an overview of some policies. From there, the attention turns to electricity and the utility industry. This chapter provides a broad overview of a variety of topics including meeting peak demand, utility structures, and technological changes like smart meters. The chapter also provides a brief discussion of energy inputs, which serves as a springboard to the next several chapters, which deal with primary energy sources.

The primary energy sources included are biomass, coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, wind and solar, as well as geothermal and wave power. In addition, a separate chapter is devoted to the history of big oil, as is one devoted to the environment and sustainability. The structure of each chapter is determined by the energy source in question.

Chapter 3 focuses on biomass, providing a history of the importance of biomass as a fuel, with separate discussions of biomass and biogas for electricity generation, biofuel for ethanol, and finally biodiesel feedstocks. Chapter 4's focus on coal provides not only the history of coal, but also a discussion of the arguments against coal and clean coal technologies.

Chapters 5 and 6 focus on oil, with the history of big oil in the first chapter and then turning to a discussion of supply, demand and reserves in the second chapter, as well as a discussion of oil...

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