A Free-Market Energy Blog

“Energy and Society” Course (Part III: Electricity from Hydro, Nuclear, Renewables, Biomass)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 2, 2019

This continues a series on the syllabus of Pierre Desrochers’ course at the University of Toronto Mississauga, Energy and Society, which gets my vote as the single best course on its subject in North America if not the world.

Part I explored the course description as well as the videos and readings from the first two weeks of the class; Part II covered carbon-based energy.

Electrification.” Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century. National Academy of Engineering. 2000. 

Bradley, Robert L and Richard W. Fulmer. Energy: The Master Resource, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2004, Chapter 2: Using Energy, pp. 19-20, 25-29, 30-31, 45-48.

Environmental Literacy Council Website.
Electric Current and Power Transmission.”
Electric Power Grids and Blackouts.”

Lomborg, Bjørn. 2013. “Blinded by the Light.” Project Syndicate (March 13).

EIA. 2015. “EIA’s Mapping System Highlights Energy Infrastructure across the United States.” Today in Energy (June 16). 

Ritchie, Hannah and Max Roser. 2019. “Energy Production & Changing Energy Sources.” Our World in Data  (Read the following)
– Access to Electricity
– Per Capita Electricity Consumption

-Water power before electricity 
Bryce, Robert. 2016. “Fossilized Thinking [Review of Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, by Andreas Malm (Verso)].” City Journal (Winter).

Resolute Reader. 2015. “Review of Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, by Andreas Malm (Verso).” (December 16).  

-Hydroelectric Power
International Hydropower Association
– “A Brief History of Hydropower”  
– “Types of Hydropower”  

The Canadian Encyclopedia
– Hydroelectricity

The Canadian Encyclopedia
– “Nuclear Energy”  
– “Nuclear Power Plants”  
– “Nuclear Research Establishments”  

Portney, Paul R. “Nuclear Power: Clean, Costly, and Controversial.” Resources (Navigating Energy Choices in the 21st Century), Winter 2005, Issue 156, pp. 28-30.

Smil, Vaclav. 2016. “Nuclear Electricity: A Successful Failure.” IEEE Spectrum (October): 24. 

>Chernobhyl and Fukushima

Bailey, Ronald. 2011. “Nuclear Disaster in Japan Does it show a way forward for nuclear power?” Reason Magazine, March 15.

Fumento, Michael. 2005. “Exorcising the Demons of Chernobyl.” Scripps Howard News Service (September 15). 

Brown, Anthony. 2002. “‘Myth’ of Chernobyl suffering exposed.” The Observer, January 6.

Chernobyl Death Toll Grossly Underestimated.” Greenpeace, April 18, 2006.

Smil, Vaclav. 2011. “Japan’s Crisis: Context and Outlook” The American, April 16.

Shellenberger, Michael. 2019. “It Sounds Crazy, But Fukushima, Chernobyl, And Three Mile Island Show Why Nuclear Is Inherently Safe.” Forbes(March 11). 

Shellenberger, Michael. 2019, “MIT Historian Alleges United Nations Scientific Cover-Up Of Death And Disease Toll From Chernobyl.” Forbes(March 13).  

General Statements
Stephens, W. R. “Review of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology by Alexis Madrigal (De Capo Press, 2011).” 
New York Journal of Books

Oil vs Ethanol.” Wessels Living History Farm.

Dartnell, Lewis. Undated. “Out of the Ashes. It took a lot of fossil fuels to forge our industrial world. Now they’re almost gone. Could we do it again without them?” Aeon

– Overview
Renewable and Alternative Fuels Basics 101.” Energy Information Administration (read only the general definition).

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2017. “With the all the excitement for solar and wind, keep the perspective.” Cool It (November 12).  

Ritchie, Hannah and Max Roser. 2018. “Renewables.” OurWorldInData.org. 

Smil, Vaclav. 2015. “Energy Transitions, Renewables and Rational Energy Use: A Reality Check.” OECD Observer (304) (November) : 36-37. 

Smil, Vaclav. 2014. “How Green is Europe?” The American (September 30). 

BP. 2018. Statistical Review of World Energy – Renewable Energy.  

– Supporters
Mazzucato, Mariana. 2015. “Toward a Green New Deal.” Project Syndicate (December 15). 

Staedter, Tracey. 2017. “How 139 Countries Could Be Powered by 100% Renewable Energy by 2050.” Live Science (September 20). 

Roberts, David. 2019. “The Green New Deal, Explained. An insurgent movement is pushing Democrats to back an ambitious climate change solution.” Vox (January 7). 

Browne, John. 2018. “Oil and Gas Companies Will Lead the Energy Revolution. The ‘supermajors’ are already investing in a low-carbon future.” Bloomberg (July 11). 

– Critics
+ Overview
Bryce, Robert. 2010. “Five myths about green energy.” The Washington Post, April 25.

+ Output and Technical Issues
Hayward, Steven. 2017. “A Visual Lesson in Energy Density.” PowerLine Blog (November 27).  Ridley, Matt. 2017. “Wind Turbines are Neither Clean nor Green and they Provide Zero Global Energy.” The Spectator (May 13). Koningstein, Ross & David Fork. 2014. “What It Would Really Take to Reverse Climate Change? Today’s renewable energy technologies won’t save us. So what will?” IEEE Spectrum (November 18).Gosselin, P. 2018. “Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”.Technical Experts Say Wind Turbines Posing “Significant Danger” To Environment!” No Tricks Zone (June 22). Aris, Capell. 2018. A Cheaper, Cleaner Electricity System. Global Warming Policy Foundation (Read the Foreword and Summary).  

+ Environmental Impact
Forbes, Vic. 2015. “Green Energy Plunders the Biosphere.” Master Resource (July 20). Constable, John. 2018. “Renewables and Climate Policy are on a Collision Course.” GWPF Energy Comment (September 12). Bryce, Robert. 2018. “The Antithesis of Green.” National Review (January 9).  

+ Costs and Profitability
2014. “Analysis: Solar & Wind Power Costs are Huge Compared to Natural Gas Fired Generation.” Watts Up with That? (September 6).

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2016. “Are Wind and Solar Energy already Competitive with Fossil Fuels?” LinkedIn (January 27).

Corcoran, Terence. 2016. “Clean, Green and Catastrophic.” Financial Post (April 1). 

Shellenberger, Michael. 2018. “Yes, Solar And Wind Really Do Increase Electricity Prices – And For Inherently Physical Reasons.” Forbes (April 25).  

Van Doren, Peter. 2018. “Is Green Energy Competitive?” Cato at Liberty (July 24).  

– Wood
U.S. Wood Pellet Exports Double in 2013 in Response to Growing European Demand.” Today in Energy (USA EIA) (May 22, 2014). 

Where are the Wood Pellets Going? A Look at Global Biomass Exports.” Woodpellets.com (December 1, 2014). 

Warrick, Joby. 2015. “How Europe’s Climate Policies led to More U.S. Trees Being Cut Down.” Washington Post (June 2). 
Strain, Daniel. 2018. “Think Wood is a Greener Source of Energy than Coal? Think again.” Anthropocene (February 5). 

– Ethanol and Biodiesel
Lewis, Marlo. 2015. “Food vs. Fuel: Worse than We Thought?” Global Warming Policy Foundation (January 30). 

Bryce, Robert. 2015. “End the Ethanol Rip-Off.” New York Times (March 10).

Auld, Douglas and Ross McKitrick. 2014. “Money to Burn: Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Canada’s Strategy for Vehicle Biofuels.” McDonald-Laurier Institute (June) (Executive Summary).  Wynn, Gerard. 2010. “U.S. corn ethanol “was not a good policy”-Gore.”Energy & Oil | Reuters, November 22.Campbell, Hank. 2018. “Ethanol Is Bad Science And Bad Policy.” American Council on Science and Health (October 26).  

Bader, Hans. 2018. “Biofuels Mandates ‘Unleashed a Catastrophe’ for our Planet.” Liberty Unyielding (November 25). Suncor – Biofuels Wind
Bryce, Robert. 2011. “The Party’s Over for Big Wind.” The Huffington Post (August 12).

Driessen, Paul. 2013. “Cut Fingers, Cancer, Bats and Birds.” Townhall.com (April 6). 

Simmons, Randy. 2015. “What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?” Newsweek (April 15).

Schleede, Glenn (Guest Blogger). 2010. “Understanding the Limits of Wind Power: Key Industry Terms.” MasterResource – A free-market energy blog, March 14.

Nelsen, Arthur. 2015. “Wind Power Generates 140% of Denmark’s Electricity Demand.” The Guardian (July 10).  

Smil, Vaclav. 2016. “What I See when I see a Wind Turbine.” IEEE Spectrum (March): 27. 

 Germany’s Energiewende
Clean Energy Wire. Undated. Germany’s Energiewende – The Easy Guide (browse) (see especially The History of the Energiewende). 

Evans, Simon. 2016. “Timeline: The past, present and future of Germany’s Energiewende.” CarbonBrief (September 21).  

Merdan, Ersin. 2018. “Has Energiewende been Successful since its Inception?” AA Energy (October 9).  

Smil, Vaclav. 2014. “Germany’s Energy Goals Backfire.” The American (February 14).

Oroschakoff, Kalina. 2018. “Germany’s Green Energy Shift is more Fizzle than Sizzle. Despite spending billions, it is falling behind other European countries.” Politico (March 23). 

Lundseng, Oddvar, Hans Johnsen and Stein Bergsmark. 2018. “Germany’s Green Transition has Hit a Brick Wall.” CFACT (December 20). 

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